Categories: "Akron"

Dave's Cosmic Subs - Macedonia OH and Other Northeast Ohio Locations

Traveling through Macedonia, I spotted Dave's Cosmic Subs.  Started in Chagrin Falls, I hadn't known of Dave's nor realized that it was a chain.  I was drawn to go in because its sign says, "Cosmic".

It was a weekday and a little after 1 PM and I was the only patron.  As I walked in, a sign posted in the window told of it being voted the #1 sub by Scene Magazine.  I was promptly greeted by the only other person in the shop.  He asked if it was my first time to Dave's.  I told him that it was and I asked what made Dave's subs "Cosmic".  He firmly replied that it was the Italian sauce.  I then asked which sub was the one to get.  He asked whether I wanted a hot or cold sub.  Cold.  Regular or spicy?  Spicy.  He then told me about "The Crazy Dave".  That sounded like exactly what I wanted.

While the sub was being prepared, I further studied the menu board.  I saw "The Crazy Dave" was number 8 on this board and later learned that this was the sub that was voted number 1.  Why, then, don't they call it number 1?

The meal deal allowed me to select from a choice of chips and a large selection of plastic and glass bottled beverages.  I selected Dave's private labeled rootbeer and a bag of jalapeno chips.  Within a few minutes, my sub was ready.

It was no struggle to find a seat as I was still the only patron.  I found one that was somewhat centered in the dining area so I could gaze upon the 1960's rock n roll stuff that adorned the walls.  I then unwrapped the carefully crafted sub, opened the chips and took a swig of the rootbeer.

I always like to start with the right hand piece with the crown of the sub roll facing away from me and turned so I can bite into the cut side.  I opened up and bit into the most incredible sub roll I think I've ever had.  The crust was wafer thin, yet so crunchy that I thought the sound of it crunching would shatter glass.

Very powerful, lively flavors of the "Cosmic" sauce, peppers, meat and vegetables jumped across my tongue.  That bite was sufficient for me to validate its number 1 standing.  Now I really don't understand why it's not listed number 1 on the menu board.

For the purpose of this critique, with that bite alone I was done.  But, I had to eat the rest since I was hungry and the sub was fantastic.  I don't think I could tire of "The Crazy Dave".  And, it was so good that I don't think I can pry myself away from it to try any other sub on that menu.  If you have not had a sub from Dave's Cosmic Subs, get one and EAT UP!

The Rail - Fairlawn OH

On a recent trip to Summit Mall, I spotted “The Rail”.  I had time to peek at the menu and saw that it was a hamburger joint featuring Ohio Raised Beef.  I flagged this as a place to try on my next trip to the mall.

When I arrived on an early Saturday afternoon, I faced a 15 minute wait.  I had time to soak up details of the décor.  The Rail presents itself as a bit of a sports bar with two small televisions on the back bar and two larger ones opposite those above a wall of booths.  The bar was framed across the top by a metal rail hung from the ceiling and a number of meat hooks strategically placed along it for decoration.  Once seated, I really couldn’t see any of the televisions.  That’s ok.  I wasn’t concerned about Marquette and Villanova.

 

The day’s special was a Turkey Burger that I wanted not.  I asked of my server which hamburgers were most popular.  She replied with the Local Yokel and The Tourist.  The Local Yokel is topped with a fried organic egg.  Since I wasn’t into that today, I opted to try The Tourist.   It’s about a half-pounder topped with avocado, spinach, red pepper mayonnaise and red onion.  I also ordered a side of onion rings and a chocolate milkshake.

 

The meal was served in a paper lined basket.  The burger arrived ready to be eaten; fully dressed and wearing its crown.  The onion rings were piled in and a dill pickle spear rounded out the presentation.  The shake was served in a cold glass tumbler with a straw as big as a sewer pipe.  It was finished with about ½ inch of whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate syrup and topped with a cherry.

 

The bun was fresh and soft.  It crushed a bit under my hand when I pulled the burger up from the basket.  Ordered medium rare, the thick, hand shaped burger had a sufficient amount of pink that was juicy.  The first bite captured everything that the burger had to offer.  The beef was mild as was the avocado, red pepper mayo, spinach and red onion.  The little bit of red onion casually added flavor.  To kick it up, I added a smear of the red onion jam.  This woke the burger with a pleasing bit of tang.  With or without the jam, you won’t get indigestion with this one.

 

The milkshake was smooth and creamy.  It sported a good chocolate flavor.  The sewer pipe straw insured that I got a good mouthful with every draw.  I thought the onion rings were average.  They were plentiful and arrived hot and crispy.  Next time, I think I’ll try the house made chips.

 

I usually order burgers that jump with flavor.  But in this instance, I wanted to see what so many have found attractive to make The Tourist one of the top picks.  I enjoyed it for the quality it represents and the pleasing, albeit mild taste.  When I’m in again, I’ll have to go back to my love of bold flavors and order the “Bon Fire”.  If The Tourist is representative of the taste and quality of the other burgers, I know I won't be disappointed.  Eat up!

The Rail on Urbanspoon

Kitchen Nightmares is Coming To Cleveland - Casting Call

Kitchen Nightmares 

FOX's hit show Kitchen Nightmares staring Chef Gordon Ramsay is coming to Cleveland.  Casting calls are currently being held for a restaurant to take part in the taping of the show.  To be eligible, a restaurant must have been open for one year, offer dinner service, not be a franchise chain, and have at least 35 seats.  

If you are a restaurant owner, download the application and email it to KitchenNightmares@theconlincompany.com or fill out the application online at www.theconlincompany.com.  If you would like to nominate a restaurant, you can call (310) 313-9100 or email KitchenNightmares@theconlincompany.com.

KN Casting Notice FINAL 1.10.pdf

KN5 Flier Nominator Final 1.10.pdf

The Lemon Grove Café, Youngstown OH

On a snowy January night, there were about 7 patrons in The Lemon Grove Cafe; a place that looks like it could seat about 40.  It describes itself as "a cafe, coffee shop, bar, art gallery, musical venue and all-around good time."  True to its self-description, I could smell coffee in the air, saw a nice bar and artwork displayed upon its walls.  While there was no live music that night, I can see how it could be a musical venue and all-around good time, especially on a Friday or Saturday night.  This eclectic establishment is positioned to serve breakfast, the downtown lunch crowd, locals in the evenings and college crowd on the live music nights.

While deciding on what to order, I asked the waitress what the two most popular burgers were.  She started by naming and describing the first and second, then added, “But if you like…” and ran through the entire burger list.  This told me that she was either a good company sales person or that all the burgers are good.

I started with an order of the Hummus appetizer.  Within minutes, a generous bowlful of hummus arrived with a plentiful supply of precut pita wedges.  The hummus was homemade and tasted really, really good.  Its texture was very smooth and very flavorful with a hint of something like caraway seed in the background.  There was enough hummus that every pita wedge, down to the last one, carried a good dollop to my mouth.  It would have been fantastic if the pita had been homemade.

Being a pushover for bleu cheese, I decided upon “The Blue Angel” burger that I ordered cooked to medium.  About “The Blue Angel”, the menu states, “The contrast ‘tween the burger & blue cheese will have ya singing like Marlene.”  This is immediately followed by a QR code that, when scanned with a smartphone, opens YouTube to a video of Marlene Dietrich singing.

The Lemon Grove Cafe advertises that, for only 75 cents, you can add their “amazing all natural bacon” to “anything”.  Because bacon rocks, I had to add it to my burger.  I can only imagine what wondrous heaven awaits those who order the Bacon Cheeseburger and then, for the premium, adds more!  Included with any burger is a choice of sides.  I opted to try the soup.  I forgot what that nights selection was called, but it was described as having a spicy sausage flavor – something that sounded good on one of northeast Ohio’s first real winter nights.

About 15 minutes later, my dinner plate arrived.  On it was a nice sized, hand shaped burger covered with a thick layer of melted bleu cheese.  Some lettuce, onion and a tomato slice were included.  Also on the plate was about 3 ounces of the soup in a proportionately sized bowl.

As I got ready to dig in, I immediately realized that my burger did not have the “amazing all natural bacon” that I had ordered on it.  When I pointed this out to the server, she apologized and immediately made a bee-line to the kitchen.  As she vanished from sight, I started with the soup.  It was more like chowder and had a sausage like spice to it.  I enjoyed trying it, but it wasn’t the highlight of the meal.

The burger was a different story.  Before I finished the soup, the server returned with a plate full of bacon.  There was more than 75 cents worth on this plate.  This was probably the capstone to the server’s apology for it not coming out with the order.  I proceeded to put the pile of bacon on the burger.  As I did, the melted bleu cheese gently squished out from underneath.  I then placed the vegies on top. 

When I took that first bite, I was quite pleased to find that the burger had been flame broiled.  It had a slight char on it that worked magic with the flavor of bleu cheese.  The tomato slice gave away it’s out of season character by being a bit dull in appearance and flavor.  Otherwise, this was a very satisfying burger.

Did I sing like Marlene?  No.  Because I can't.  But I can tell you that The Lemon Grove Café is a comfortable restaurant with tasty food and reasonable prices.  While I’ll probably not trek back to it on another such a blustery, snowy night, I’ll certainly stop again should I be in Youngstown at lunch or dinner time.  Eat up!

Lemon Grove Cafe on Urbanspoon

Flip Side - Hudson OH

Flip Side is an eatery located in the “First and Main” shopping district in Hudson. This establishment boasts the use of Ohio raised, premium grass fed beef. The menu is heavily burger weighted. And there’s nothing wrong with that. During my visit, the atmosphere was comfortable and conducive to visiting with my companion diners, even as ‘80’s music filled the background.

It was straight up 3:00 PM on an early December Sunday afternoon. We were pleasantly greeted and quickly seated. Our drink orders were taken shortly thereafter. The variety of “specialty” milkshakes on the menu included concoctions with names such as “Apple Pie Shake” (with chunks of apple pie), “Brownie Shake” (with chunks of brownie) and “Chef’s Shake” (no, not with chunks of chef, but with peanut butter, pretzels and dark rum). Since these sounded more like sundaes than milkshakes, I opted for the basic chocolate. After ordering, the service slowed as the eatery was getting slammed with hungry holiday shoppers.

With an apology for the delay, our beverages were delivered. My milkshake was served in a cold, tall traditional soda fountain styled glass with a straw planted in it. It was filled with what looked like thick, rich custard that was strong enough to keep its peaks and ridges intact and the straw standing firmly in place. I used the long handled teaspoon that accompanied it to get my initial taste. Its appearance was deceiving as, unfortunately, I thought the chocolate flavor to be weak.

I ordered the “Chili Pepper” burger. This is about a 6 or 7 oz. burger that features pickled jalapenos, pepper jack cheese and crispy chili onion rings accompanied by smoked chili ketchup. I ordered it medium as that is what the server guided the rest of the table to for their burgers. I also ordered the house made potato chips served with hot sauce and yogurt blue cheese dressing.

Everything about this burger was fresh. This beauty was presented open faced. Its toasted crown was set off to the side to expose ketchup that was drizzled over one big, crisp onion ring. Below that sat a pepper jack cheese covered burger. The pickled jalapenos were hidden between the ring and burger.  All of this sat upon the toasted heel.  Also on the plate was a fresh leaf of lettuce topped with thinly sliced red onion, pickle and tomato. The chili ketchup was served on the side.

I assembled the burger with the vegetable accompaniments and smeared a portion of the chili ketchup on the crown. The burger was cooked perfectly to medium that was moist. The burger had a good texture that was enhanced by the crunch of the onion ring. A pleasant medley of pepper flavors came forth. The pickled jalapenos were readily identifiable. The chili ketchup tasted very much like chipotle pepper; possessing that somewhat spicy, woody taste that smoked jalapenos are known for. The peppers on this burger will warm the sides and back of your tongue but won't blister you. Being a hot pepper fanatic, my disclaimer about the heat is that you'll ultimately have to gauge the flavor and heat yourself.

The house chips were fresh cut and fried. Presented on a diner plate, the yogurt blue cheese sauce was drizzled upon them. It was accompanied by a side of hot sauce. The chips were crisp. The yogurt blue cheese drizzle was a hit and miss upon the chips. When I think of blue cheese sauces and dressings, I think of flavor that stands up and shouts out for recognition. Surprisingly, the blue cheese flavor was almost imperceptible. The hot sauce, on the other hand, had a bright and somewhat tangy flavor with nice heat. Other sides on the table included the “Triple Cooked “ fries and Sweet Potato fries with horseradish mustard sauce.

Was Flip Side worth the trip? The short answer is yes. For just under $16.00, you’ll get a good burger, a plate of crisp chips and a basic shake in a clean, comfortable and unrushed atmosphere. Instead of the chips, however, I recommend you try the sweet potato fries. The accompanying horseradish mustard sauce is a terrific compliment to the sweet potato’s sweetness. And next time, instead of a shake, I’ll opt for a beer.  Eat up!

Thank you, Rich, for allowing me to blog with you.

Flip Side on Urbanspoon