Category: "Restaurants"

Bar Louie - Rock The Tot

Rock The Tot 

 Bar Louie will be holding their 6th annual Tater Tot eating contest on Thursday, September 19th at 8pm.

The event will be taking place at all of the Bar Louie locations, including those in the Cleveland area (Legacy Village, Cleveland, and Westlake).

For more information, visit visit www.rockthetot.com.

Momocho - 1835 Fulton Road, Cleveland (Ohio City)

Link: http://momocho.com/

Off of the main paths of Ohio City is Momocho.  Owned by Chef Eric Williams, this two story no frills, no glitz exterior masks the Mod Mex flavor experience that awaits inside.  Momocho, roughly translates to "helion little boy".  And, that's what Chef Williams and his staff must be as they daringly break many rules with their creative twist on Mexican fare.

Momocho is appointed with a bar and dining room on the first floor and an open kitchen and another dining room on the second.  Integrated into the open kitchen is the chef's table; a cozy, two seat space where my wife and I dined.  As we were seated, we were introduced to Chef Damon Ginnard who did double duty, not only by personally waiting and serving us, but also preparing the rest of the diners meals along with Chef Tom Burke.  Having direct access to the chefs, we deferred to them for our food and beverage suggestions.  Their suggestions were terrific!

For starters came the recommended the honey crisp apple, mango, thai basil and serrano chile guac.  If you don't like that, don't worry.  There is a traditional guac followed by six tempting varieties - each made to order.  A seventh option is for a sampler consisting of three of your choices.  The guacamole comes piled higher than most double scoop custard cones.  It, along with fresh fried chips and a side of salsa verde was almost enough by itself to dine on.  The guac and salsa were fantastic!  After the first bites, I knew right away that we weren't going to be disappointed with anything else.

While munching on the chips, guac and salsa, I watched as Chefs Damon and Tom performed a well rehearsed dance around each other as they prepared food in the small open kitchen.  After working together for over five years, I suspect that they read each others minds.  I also watched as they prepared almost everything the menu offered for the rest of the diners in the restaurant.  Everything that traveled out of that little kitchen looked very appealing.  The most exciting part of this was watching as my and my wife's meals were being prepared and ultimately served.  How cool to know exactly when your entree will arrive!

About the entree, I decided to go on my own and selected the Bistec; a hanger steak, prepared to order, and served with a honey-chile chipotle mojo and salsa verde.  I ordered it medium and perfectly medium it was.  Everything on this dish was fresh.  The beef had a flavor that could stand on its own.  When I wrapped it in the accompanying tortilla and drizzled the honey-chile chipotle mojo on top, the flavor popped with a terrific combination of a little sweet and a little heat! With a side of the ala carte sofrito green beans, this became a meal with a culinary artist's pallet of flavors to be reckoned with.  I've had variants of modern Mexican before, but this one topped them all!

With everything being so good, I couldn't say no to trying some desert.  Chef Damon's recommendation was the Capirotada; a bread pudding concoction made with gingersnap and jalapeno and topped with flame caramelized sugar and a dollop of whipped crema.  This sweet and heat treat was a fascinating and delicious way to end a fantastic dinner.  There is a selection of innovative margaritas that, like fine wine, can be paired with each meal course.

If you are tired of the standard fajitas or tacos, beans and rice that you get at most Mexican restaurants, you MUST try Momocho. And, when you do, EAT UP!  Then.. . EAT UP some more! 

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

Link: http://www.davescosmicsubs.com

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 Lemon Grove Café, Youngstown OH

Link: http://www.lemongrovecafe.com

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

Farewell To Goodman's Sandwich Inn

 I, for one, am going to miss Goodman's.  If you never made it there, you missed out on a hell of a good corned beef sandwich.  

Goodman's Sandwich Inn

The owner used to stand in the front window and hand-carve the corned beef and stack it on rye bread.  According to this article from Scene Magazine, the restaurant was around for 62 years.  It wasn't the nicest atmosphere...but I was there for the giant briskets that I would see boiling in the kitchen when I walked through to the restroom.  I don't have much else to write- I had a few pictures that I'd never posted, and I thought I'd just lament the passing of a Cleveland corned beef landmark.  

Goodmans Sandwich Inn