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Ohio Vist, One Dinner, One Breakfast, Cleveland or Columbus?

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Just sort of passing through on my way to rural Michigan. don't have a lot of money to spend, me and my girlfriend, we like to eat high and funky but good and wild. like The Admiral in Asheville, Poole's Diner, Leon's Full Service, places like that. and some good cocktails too. which way to go for our splurge?

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  1. What day of the week is it? Are you looking for food to eat at breakfast time or are you specifically interested in American-style breakfast food?

    For your dinner you should go to either Bar Cento or Spice in Cleveland. I think I've posted about each of them enough so that I don't really need to add much.

    Each time I have the charcuterie board at Bar Cento, I think they've perfected it. But, they manage to impress me again the next time. They make sausages, dried salamis, rillettes, pates, mouses and more. All in house from animals that were humanely raised. I recommend the sunnyside (egg) pizza to first timers, but they have a pretty strong menu. Salads are very simple. They highlight the quality of the ingredients.

    They added a new sweet potato pizza that I liked. I hardly ever customize my pizzas at Bar Cento, but I'm looking forward to trying something with this one. I think it's a good pizza, but would make an even better foundation.

    The chicken is good, but they take the thighs, do something magical to them and serve them wrapped in prosciutto. Those are the best bites of chicken you'll find in Cleveland, by far. They do well with beef. They have a good (mostly traditional) hamburger. The duck lasagne is very good, but it's not super filling. It's almost like a big appetizer. The fries are very good, too. And the fingerling potato side.

    Most of the stuff I can remember from recent visits to Spice has been a nightly special, so I can't be much help in choosing from their menu. Desserts are reliable. Some of the best desserts in the city, actually. The dessert menu is small. Three items, and one features some chocolates that they don't make. I stick to the stuff they make, mostly because I can't get that anywhere else.

    4 Replies
    1. re: stuart

      thank you for such a detailed post, stuart. we're looking for American-style breakfast food, more Midwest-centric. not someone trying to do grits and biscuits, necessarily. Bluegrass Grill in Charlottesville is my standard for breakfast potatoes, btw. those chicken thighs wrapped in prosciutto sound great. anyone who serves dark meat chicken is okay in my book.

      1. re: mrwaterslide

        SLYMAN'S for breakfast. Or if it's a weekend, Lucky's.

        www.slymans.com/
        www.luckyscafe.com/

        1. re: mrwaterslide

          If you are looking for a great Sunday brunch at a small price, check out Luxe in the Gordon Square neighborhood of Cleveland. Chef Brian Okin has a talent for getting the most bang for the buck while turning out some beautiful food; I blogged about it here: http://www.funplayingwithfood.blogspo..., They also have drink specials during Sunday brunch.

          For other days of the week, Slyman's is a great breakfast choice (best corned beef in town), but no liquor license there. Another option is Bonbon Cafe, located in Ohio City right next door to Crop on Lorain and 25th. Bonbon has liquor.

          Another amazing choice for breakfast any day of the week is The Blue Door Cafe in Cuyahoga Falls (about 30 minutes south of Cleveland). No liquor, but amazing, creative, locally/sustainably sourced food at modest prices.

        2. re: stuart

          I had that sweet potato pizza again recently, except I didn't really describe it very well. Like, for instance, that it wasn't a sweet potato pizza at all. It was a squash pizza. Er.... oops.

          It's very sweet as pizzas go, which is why I was thinking about taking something else from the Cento menu and piling it on top. I ended up just eating it as they normally prepare it and it was delicious, but as I said, it is fairly sweet. Also, it has delicious house made merguez sausage on it.

        3. I think you would like the Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland for dinner. Funky cocktails, LED building, sultry hipster waitstaff, and very good food.

          1. Bar Cento was very nice. sat at the bar, ate apps and had some nice drinks. the charcuterie board was as nice as any i've had. have to admit that we had as much fun, or more, @ Delmonico's Steakhouse in Independence. it was just down the hill from our hotel, and we didn't feel like driving that night. it's a slick, manicured expense account kind of place, more Wall Street Journal than Village Voice. but we had two great, old-school waitresses who worked as sort of a tag team. one took our drink orders and then made us nice stiff libations and then the other took our orders from the dinner menu. i had a steak and Fiona may have had the crab cakes. nothing fancy, but very well done, cleanly plated, well-timed, just all around professional.

            while you're @ Delmonico's don't miss the Jorge Amado prints that line the walls in the main dining room. taken in the right spirit (say, maybe after your second drink), they're very amusing.

            the only other place we ate was Provenance Cafe, an informal outlet with well-done higher end food @ The Cleveland Museum of Art. I guess Provenance itself is a sit-down operation. they have both just been open since the end of October. @ Provenance Cafe, we had a claybread sandwich with grilled lamb, harissa, etc. fries, very nice. fruit smoothie hand made, very nice. the traffic flow seemed awkward to me, but what do i know. i was encouraged enough that i would eat @ the presumably higher-dollar white-tablecloth sitdown place. and, uh, yeah, the art is nice, though you have to walk around to see it.

            if you're in Cleveland Heights, watch out for the cop sitting down the alley in the school zone.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mrwaterslide

              The cafe and the restaurant are both projects of Chef Doug Katz. He is the owner and chef of fire, which is one of Cleveland's best restaurants. I haven't been to the Art Museum since Provenance opened, but I'm not surprised that Chef Katz did a great job.