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Jul 21, 2008 07:58 AM

Ohio Tasting Menu Recs


Our friends are celebrating their 25th anniversary soon and we want to surprise them with a romantic dinner for two at a Greater Cleveland or Akron area restaurant that features a great tasting menu (paired with appropriate wines if possible).

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

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  1. Light Bistro has a tasting menu every night; I have enjoyed all of my meals there.

    However, my first choice would be Lola - they will set up a tasting menu if you ask in advance. I just enjoyed my birthday dinner there at the Chef's Table and it was fabulous!

    1. I'm not sure you'll find what you're looking for here. I assume by tasting menu you mean
      1) a large number of small dishes
      2) chosen by the kitchen to show off what they can do
      3) organized by the kitchen into a meal rather than just a collection of different items

      I can only think of one. I haven't been there so I can't really recommend it. (Also, their chef's table is only available for larger parties.) There are some local restaurants that have small plates oriented menus and might be able to accommodate your friends with a little advance notice. Again, none that I can personally recommend.

      A couple years ago I could have named (though not necessarily recommended) a couple restaurants but the general trend is away from this type of dining. One closed and another revamped their concept. There are some restaurants that offer special chef's tasting menus that change daily or restaurants with set menus that change frequently. I think that's as close as your going to come.

      I think your friends would have a good time at Sapore. The main drawback is that it's only open on Fridays and Saturdays. There an amuse bouche, an intermezzo, mignardise and then four courses where you choose from two options. It changes monthly, if not weekly. Maybe, with a little loosening of my criteria, I could even call it a tasting menu style dinner. Anyway, the food is excellent. I've eaten at all the area's most highly regarded restaurants and even at restaurants where I concur with everyone's high opinion, I'm still afraid to order chicken. Until Sapore. Everywhere else, it's flavorless and overcooked and I end up feeling like an idiot for ordering it in the first place. Sapore's was well seasoned, moist and chicken-y.

      You might also consider Dante. They have a nightly five course dinner. It seems like they've become slightly less ambitious with it. The first several times I ordered it the chef came out and asked me what I felt like eating. We ended up with a meal composed of dishes that no one else in the restaurant was eating that night. The last time I was there, the waiter told me ahead to time what would be served with that dinner. It was smaller portions of items on the menu and that night's special. In addition to the five courses, there's an amuse bouche and an intermezzo prior to dessert. The first few times, I enjoyed imaginative cheese course but more recently these have only appeared by request. Of course, Chef Boccuzzi is indisputably a talented chef and I'm sure your friends could have a memorable meal if you make arrangements for a truly personalized chef's dinner.

      8111 Rockside Rd, Cleveland, OH

      cleveland, OH, cleveland, OH

      3 Replies
      1. re: stuart

        Thank you both! I did e-mail Lola and asked if we could arrange that and no one bothered to ever respond. Disappointing.

        Sapore sounds very interesting. I'll check out both of your recs. Thanks again!

        1. re: ButterflyWest

          That's very disappointing to hear about Lola. We've always enjoyed eating there when traveling through Cleveland, but have not been there since Chef Symon became the new Iron Chef. Perhaps attention to detail was better when they were not so famous?

          1. re: ButterflyWest

            Lola only takes on-line reservations through Open Table, as their website indicates. Please call them - they are terrific and will be happy to assist you, I'm sure. 216-621-5652. Not affiliated with them; just a fan!