Saturday, March 19, 2011

Restaurant Roundup

I'm hungry...but can't even begin to figure out what I'm actually hungry for. It's been a while since I blogged about food so...

Actually, when I started writing I was going to note the location of each, but then I realized they're all within walking distance of my house in Cleveland Heights so that would get a little redundant...

Clyde's Bistro and Bar Room (on Lee Road, about a 5 minute walk): Still my go-to restaurant for dinner when I can't decide what else to do. I love the food, the service is great (bonus points for being a place where I need no introduction), and they catered my little party with the cellist in my living room and were quite helpful even with non-catering advice in that regard.

Though typically a dinner-only establishment, and kicking them out of the running for my current state of hunger (aside from the fact that I've eaten there twice in the past week) Clyde's recently started offering brunch Sunday mornings and while I'm not a breakfast person I've enjoyed both waffles (with a few friends, a little crispy for my tastes) and pancakes (alone, fantastic).

On my last visit (also known as "Thursday") I got a little creative with the menu, ordering the cheeseburger without onions (I think I'm allergic, and in any event really don't care for them) but with the spicy mayo from another dish. OMG. It was one of the best things I've eaten in recent memory. Next time I might press my luck and try adding bacon. I'm sure that move would do everything to endear me to the waitstaff (one member in particular, I'd love to invite for post-shift food/drinks...but haven't figured out a professional/not completely awkward way to do so)

Fracas (on Euclid Heights at Coventry, about a 10 minute walk): A relatively new addition to Cleveland Heights' dining scene, two visits later, I 'm not sure how I feel about it: On my first visit with a friend for a casual dinner a couple months ago, we were alone in the dining room. The pretzel-stick-with-cheese appetizer was fantastic, my burger was good, but I wasn't that impressed by the value proposition (price vs. quality). Recently returned for a post-date glass of wine with a frist date. The wine was good, but the pretzel sticks were merely OK (a little on the cold side, actually). Not sure about the date yet.

Service is a little weird -- verging on overly attentive at the beginning of the meal (glass), but when it's time to ask for the check it seems like everyone disappears. Truly an odd phenomena. Hopefully the energy will build to the namesake fracas level, right now the name is unintentionally ironic.

Bodega (on Coventry, also about a 10 minute walk): Two relatively recent visits; one at the bar for drinks and tapas with a friend to commiserate on our lackluster dating lives. Impressive drink list; the martini list alone is a bit frightening. Great tapas -- I think I might have called them the best fries in Cleveland. Service at the bar was good; there when you needed something, not there until you did.

The next visit was a first date dinner. As much as I liked the tapas, I wasn't impressed by the dinner menu, either substance or pricing. As a matter of fact, for my tastes and the quantity of food, the menu lands on the wrong side of the borderline for being overpriced. Service at a table was distractingly overattentive-- annoying generally, and particularly annoying whne you're trying to learn about your date and you can't sucessfully ask an entire question and have that question answered between "Everything allright?" and "Can I get you anything elses?" visits.

Lopez on Lee (do I really need to tell you where this is? On Lee Road, about a 15 minute walk)... I've been here a few times over the years, actually. Though Mexican food is not at the top of my list (and I'm not entirely sure Lopez can be called Mexican, more Mexican-influenced) I love their margaritas and their cheese (I think) filled croutons on the Caesar salad are phenomenal. Not the kind of place I'm likely to find myself alone, but good for friends. Dinner menu, is diverse but has no strong winners for my both picky and gringo tastes -- but I've also never left hungry.

Lopez was another first date choice, and, ugh. While I haven't been on any real promising dates lately I think this may have been the most disappointing. She may have been the most physically attractive, but despite initial indications that we had things in common when we actually met it couldn't have been more clear that we're at two completely different places in life. Based on that distraction, my impression of the service is a little fuzzy, but I'm going to say it wasn't particularly memorable -- pretty average.

Ok, as I'm typing I'm realizing that there are more local restaurants within my definition of walking distance (about 45 minute walk, or University Circle) that I haven't commented on--- but I could go on for pages... but those are the ones I've tried so far in 2011.



  1. I like hearing about your dating life, lol.

  2. Some dating life -- more like "eating with a bunch of random strangers until something clicks" :)

  3. are you on an online dating service?

  4. Yeah, Match -- I think I was born without the "pick up a complete stranger in real life" gene -- but I haven't been terribly impressed by results.

    That said...tonight was promising.