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Aug 12, 2010 05:57 AM

New Yawker going to Cleveland

19th through the 24th => where's the good eats?

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  1. Ok. I'll make sure nothing happens to New York while you're gone. I'll be there from the 18th through the 23rd.

    For contemporary American food, I would recommend fire food and drink at Shaker Square. The hanger steak and lamb dishes are both worth trying. I haven't had the pork chop since they switched the sides for their Summer menu, but the chop itself is great and the sides sound wonderful. Besides those, fish and salads are pretty reliable here. I don't normally order the duck, chicken, strip, burger or pizza.

    Is there any particular type of food you're looking for?

    1 Reply
    1. re: stuart

      i like everything....the funkier the better

    2. It's hard to make recs without knowing your likes and dislikes, but here goes...Lately I can't get enough of the Greenhouse Tavern (it's on the pedestrianized East 4th Street strip downtown that also house Michael Symon's Lola). For a more lowbrow experience, albeit one with real character, get a couple of chili dogs at Steve's Lunch (5004 Lorain Avenue). It's where I take folks when they insist on a gritty Cleveland experience. Many people recommend Sokolowski's for a true taste of Cleveland, but I'm not a big fan. To me, it's Eastern European food at it's greasiest and blandest. If you want to do the Old Country thing, then I'd recommend Sterle's Slovenian Country House on East 55th instead. Another Cleveland standby: the West Side Market. It's not a greenmarket or an upscale showplace a la Pike Place or similar, but rather a functioning market with working-class roots and a lot of meat. Excellent bratwurst sandwiches are available and, oddly enough, great falafel.

      Sterle's Slovenian Country House
      1401 E 55th St, Cleveland, OH 44103

      West Side Market
      1979 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH

      Steve's Lunch
      5004 Lorain Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102

      The Greenhouse Tavern
      2038 E 4th Street, Cleveland, OH 44115

      1. There are so many great eats in Cleveland!

        Second both fire and Greenhouse Tavern as great eats. West Side Market's Maha makes awesome falafel to order, there is also a Scottish food stand that is supposed to be very good, and Cambodian (Kim Se). The Creperie also has fabulous, fresh food; the brisket, egg and cheese crepe I had a few weeks ago was awesome. I'd skip the gyro place featured on Man vs. Food - they don't make their own cone.

        If you are looking for a mad food scientist at work - run, don't walk, to Crop. Chef Steve Schimoler grew up down the road from me on Long Island, and came to Cleveland as a food scientist. He now practices the art of creative, fresh, local and tasty food creation in the Warehouse District; he'll be moving to Ohio City in October, but you should be fine for your visit. The Sunday Supper is the best culinary value in town.

        Koko Bakery in Asiatown ( has a fabulous selection of freshly baked treats with unusual combinations and ingredients and some that are just plain fun. Think slightly sweet dough with bechemel sauce and bacon, in addition to the usual BBQ Pork and Egg Custard Buns (though they do the best Custard Bun or Dan Tak I've ever tasted). Last I was in NYC Chinatown, there were no bakeries like this (I still mourn that great bakery that sold banana soft cake - long gone from Mott Street).

        We also have excellent Cambodian food, right next to the West Side Market and a sister place on Lorain Rd. called Phnom Penh. Though I know a couple of Cambodian restaurants have opened in NYC in recent years, I was not impressed by Kampuchea.

        Try to catch up with the Dim and Den Sum food truck; you can find them on Facebook or Twitter to learn where they'll be. Eclectic, freshly made food at cheap prices.

        Momocho features made-to-order guacamole and fresh creative nuevo latino flavors. Momocho is located in Ohio City (near the West Side Market). Also in Ohio City are The Flying Fig (across from Great Lakes Brewing Company - stop there for a great beer, but go across the street to the Fig for a great meal), and Light Bistro, where Chef Matt Matthlage is creating some beautiful food and small plates and tastings are available.

        I am a big fan of all of Iron Chef Michael Symon's restaurants. Lola is a bigger ticket and the flagship downtown, and the food and experience are, well, bigger. Lolita is Lola's little sister in Tremont, "smaller" food, authentic Neapolitan style pizza, bone marrow and pork fat (Tuesday is a weekly pig roast that rocks). Bar Symon is about 45 minutes west of Cleveland, and "Chaty" Matty Harlan runs the kitchen there in a much more casual atmosphere than the other two restaurants. Still great food, though I don't get there much because I live on the east side. Finally, B Spot in Woodmere has outstanding burgers, and onion rings, chips and fries fried in pork fat, and fried bologna sandwiches, and a killer vanilla bean, apple pie & bacon milkshake - its just all good!

        Can't mention Tremont without recommending Dante. Dante Boccuzzi worked in NY under Nobu and for Charlie Palmer at Aureole - his food is fabulous! Multiple portion sizes at modest prices allow you to taste a lot of different things (or do a tasting menu if you like them). Freshly made pasta, meats, fish/seafood - it's all good. House made charcuterie (Lolita also has this).

        Other great places to stop in Tremont include Fahrenheit (bacon as a bar snack - really!), Parallax, and Ty Fun.

        A little further away from the city, Chef Ellis Cooley is making (and growing on the Marriot's premises) some fun food at AMP 150.

        No matter where you eat, if you enjoy cocktails, you MUST visit the Velvet Tango Room in Ohio City! There is no place like it - every ingredient in every drink (except the top shelf liquors) is crafted from scratch with love and the atmosphere has just the right amount of sophistication. Have a great trip and report back!

        2058 East 4th Street, Cleveland, OH 44115

        Light Bistro
        2801 Bridge Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113

        900 Literary Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113

        West Side Market
        1979 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH

        The Velvet Tango Rom
        Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland, Ohio

        Phnom Penh
        1929 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113

        1835 Fulton Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113

        The Greenhouse Tavern
        2038 E 4th Street, Cleveland, OH 44115

        Crop Bistro & Bar
        1400 W. 6th Street, Cleveland, OH 44113

        Koko Bakery
        3710 Payne Ave, Cleveland, OH

        AMP 150
        4277 West 150th Street, Cleveland, OH 44135

        1 Reply
        1. re: NancyH

          I pretty much echo all of NancyH's suggestions and add to that Chinato on E 4th downtown and L'Albatross in University Circle (a little E of downtown). Both are Zach Bruell restaurants with very different cuisine and really, really good food, the former Italian and the latter French.

        2. Crop
          Greenhouse Tavern

          The Greenhouse Tavern
          2038 E 4th Street, Cleveland, OH 44115

          1. How about arabic/middle eastern?

            4 Replies
            1. re: byrd

              Nate's Deli on W.25th and Anatolia Cafe on Lee Road (Turkish).

              1. re: gort

                Also - two new Turkish places recently opened; I've not been to either and don't know their names - one is in Tremont and one is in Avon.

                1. re: NancyH

                  Istanbul Grill is in Tremont and Dervish is in Avon


                  I also noticed at least one new falafel place (Frank's - Detroit Shoreway are) a Lebanese restaurant (Middle East Grille in Shaker) and a "Middle Eastern" restaurant (Zdara on W9th).


                  That's a lot of activity. Hopefully Cleveland will end up with something to show for it. In the mean time, I miss Tiki's 2 Go and Abba's. I didn't appreciate them while they were around, but there was some pretty decent food to be had at those places.

                  1. re: stuart

                    Istanbul in Tremont is wonderful, I've had two very fine meals there. I'm told that it sports the chef from the original Anatolia, before the plaza it lived in got torn down. I have many friends who've tried Frank's on W65, and they all report the exact same thing - good falafel, punitively long wait for it.