Sunday, June 01, 2008

Three Reviews

I've decided to start writing restaurant reviews since I love to eat out. But, I'm only going to put good reviews here because, while I have no problem recommending a restaurant, I don't want to discourage anyone from trying a new restaurant just because I didn't like it. I'm going back a bit for the first round.

Don's Lighthouse
8905 Lake Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102
Dinner; April 22, 2008
Party of Two

Diner 1
Bay of Fundy Salmon

Diner 2
P.E.I. Mussels
Great Lakes Walleye
Bread Pudding

My dinner companion and I both chose to order from the $29 three course offer menu, which is still available. There were so many tasty looking choices that it was hard to choose. The snails were topped with a puff pastry that melted in your mouth (although the seasoning was mild compared to the garlicky mussels). My salmon came on a cute wooden plank and was accompanied by sweet potato hash and sauteed spinach. Although the salmon was a bit on the well-done side, the flavor made up for the texture issues. The sugariness of the sweet potatoes married well with the natural sweetness of the fish and the slight bitterness of the spinach was a great counterpoint. The cheesecake was standard but good. I sampled the other dinner and would recommend those choices as well. We paired our meals with a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio. Overall a great meal.

Jefferson 150
150 Jefferson Street
Amherst, OH 44001
Dinner, May 18, 2008
Party of Three

Diner 1
Shared Appetizer of Sweet Potato Fries
Low-Country Red Rice with White Fish and Shrimp

Diner 2
Beef Goulash over Homemade Spaetzles

Diner 3
Southern-Fried (boneless) Chicken with Smashed Potatoes

A beautifully converted house with cozy seating and a fun, eclectic vibe. The sweet potato fries were chunky and not overly crispy. They were almost too large to be called fries. The dinners are best described as comfort food; large, soul-warming and delicious. The rice dish had fresh herbs and crisp vegetables mixed in with the shrimp and fish with a rich red broth that was tomato-y without being saucy. The bread was fresh and crusty and perfect when dipped in the accompanying olive oil. We were too full for dessert, but the choices sounded yummy.

The Town Fryer
3859 E. Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114
Lunch; May 22, 2008
Party of Two

Lunch-er 1
Shared Appetizer of Fried Dill Pickle Spears with a Homemade Remoulade
Grilled Cheese with Crawfish, Collard Green and Rice soup
Shared Desserts -- Deep-Fried Twinkie and Deep-Fried Oreos

Lunch-er 2
Chicago Hot Dog (with all the trimmings)
Fried Mac 'n Cheese

I had been dying to go to The Town Fryer for years, and my friend's birthday provided a suitable excuse. The fried pickles were sprinkled with what looked like kosher salt, which would seem unnecessary but actually added a nice punch on first bite. The breading was slightly sweet and worked great with the pickles and desserts. I didn't love it with the mac 'n cheese, though. The grilled cheese was just like mom's (or sister's as the case may be) and the soup was nearly too incredible to describe. The broth was so flavorful that it must have been simmering for hours (no doubt due to it being leftover from the lunch special from the day before), the greens had a tang that was neither sour nor bitter and the rice, well, was rice. The crawfish (and a few shrimp) were better than the bar-like setting would suggest.

The desserts deserve their own paragraph. It was hard to tell where the breading ended and the sponge cake began in the Twinkie, but the cream filling was barely warm. Dipping the Twinkie in the strawberry sauce was pure bliss. The Oreos may not have cooked enough since they retained their integrity and didn't blend into the coating. However, since I'm not a huge non-fried Oreo fan it didn't really bother me. I enjoyed the half I ate enough to eat another one if the chance presents.

Rereading my dining choices makes me think I'm in a rut. I don't cook seafood at home so maybe that's why I order it when I'm out. Or maybe it's just a coincidence that I ordered seafood at these three outings, I don't know.

I'll have a new brunch and lunch review next week! unless they aren't good. However since both are repeat experiences, I have faith they will be excellent! I'll try to have pictures for those.

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