At Aureole in New York, chef Dante Boccuzzi snagged Michelin stars two years running. Back home in Cleveland, he has taken over the former Lockkeepers and injected it with a more casual sensibility. Working as he has in Italy, France and Asia, Boccuzzi incorporates elements of these cuisines into boldly flavored dishes like Thai-style mussels, house-made cavatelli and pomegranate-glazed duck. Full bar and wine list.
Elegant, intimate, and friendly, this staple of the Hudson dining scene is a winner. Tapas-like small plates and not-so-small plates make up the menu; but despite the wine-bar motif and an occasional Asian accent, the fare owes much to the classic French bistro, with the depth of flavor that only made-from-scratch cooking can impart.
Chef-owner Rocco Whalen's well-appointed bistro is one of the best in town, with a seasonal menu of smart, contemporary fare, spiced up with Asian and Mediterranean accents.
Chef-owner Karen Small stocks her larder with simple, homegrown ingredients, then coaxes them into precise assemblages of soaring flavor at this hip, youthful, and energetic bistro in the heart of Ohio City. And as any trendinista will tell you, the Fig's happy hours are among the best in the city for unwinding on a budget.
Artful, ambitious, and urbane, this Ohio City bistro disproves the notion that Clevelanders are strictly a steak-and-taters crowd. At dinner, a tightly composed "progressive American" menu treads fearlessly from braised pork belly to eggplant flan and beyond, always focused on seasonal, sustainable, locally grown foods and always playing to an enthusiastic audience.
Clever cuisine, playful decor, and intimate surroundings make this "modern Mexican" eatery like nothing else in town. Don't come around looking for refried beans and rice; luscious lamb "adobo" and avocado-leaf-crusted tuna are more Momocho's style. Factor in the fruit-infused margaritas, chilada-style beers, and the smart array of tequilas, and even the fiercest bandito would happily pull up a chair.
Zdenko Zovkic has given the usual staid steakhouse scene a smart, contemporary twist, turning this high-profile restaurant into a svelte, sexy destination. While the steaks, all USDA prime, are the real stars, the lengthy menu goes well beyond to include luxurious fish and seafood alternatives. Meantime, seats in XO's uncluttered lounge are prime space for sampling the neighborhood's urbane vibe.
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