If the paucity of restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day is any measure, Clevelanders still prefer to spend their holiday eating off card tables in Aunt Gertie's rec room.
Too bad for them. For the rest of us, who are just as happy to let someone else cook, clean, and empty Gertie's ashtrays, there are options. Here are some spots around town inviting you to feast at their place this Thanksgiving:
At Lakewood's recently renovated Pier W (12700 Lake Avenue), the traditional roast turkey is an organic, free-range bird that comes with a choice of dressings and a long list of à la carte add-ons, such as roasted cinnamon-sugared yams and pumpkin cheesecake. Roasted pork loin with caraway cream sauce is an alternative to turkey; price for either dinner is $32. T'Day hours are 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; call 216-228-2250 for reservations.
The four-course, Italian-accented ciao-down at Maggiano's (26300 Cedar Road in Beachwood, on the north side of Beachwood Place) will star traditional turkey, as well as ham, salmon, pasta, and an antipasto platter; bounteous dessert options range from pumpkin-praline cheesecake to profiteroles. Cost is an all-inclusive $29.95; seatings are at noon, 3, and 6:30 p.m. Call 216-755-3000 to snag a table.
Downtown, the big-name hotels are a good bet. At Sans Souci (in the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel), the menu includes a warm-and-cold appetizer buffet stocked with goodies like seared sea scallops and lobster bisque, and a choice of seven entrées, including roast turkey, lamb, and filet mignon. Price is $50; hours are 1-8 p.m.; call 216-696-5600 for reservations. And at Century in the Ritz-Carlton, a four-course holiday dinner, served from 4-9 p.m., will set you back $60; call 216-902-5255.
Other possibilities include Westlake's M Bistro (23800 Detroit Road), where a four-course dinner is priced at $28.95; besides the usual turkey, entrée alternatives will include duck, lamb, quail, tilapia, or a vegetarian platter. Hours are noon to 5 p.m.; call 440-250-5550. And in Strongsville, Don's Pomeroy House (13664 Pearl Road) is offering a traditional, family-style turkey dinner with all the trimmings at $32; hours are noon to 5 p.m. Call 440-572-1111 for reservations.
Ode to fat . . . Michael Ruhlman, the Cleveland author, chef, and confidant of the nation's top food celebs, scores again with his latest book, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing (W.W. Norton publishers; $35 hardcover). The 320-page cookbook and homage to all things fat, salty, and delicious (sausages, confits, and home-cured bacon included) is scheduled for release on Monday, November 21, and Publishers Weekly is already serving up its praises. Ruhlman (whose other works include Soul of a Chef, French Laundry Cookbook, and A Return to Cooking) mostly relied on Michigan chef and charcuterie expert Brian Polcyn to create the recipes, although Ruhlman takes credit for the Chicago-style all-beef hot-dog recipe on page 164 and the duck confit with star anise and ginger on page 261. The recipes aren't 20-minute wonders, Ruhlman admits, but he promises that the techniques are simple and the concepts old as time. And he notes: "There just wasn't anything else on [charcuterie] out there."
Wingdings . . . Twenty-two-year-old University School alum Kurt Zitzner graduated from Cornell's hospitality management program in May and opened his first food joint in October. Mugzee's (626 North Water Street, 330-678-9999), located inside Kent's Club Khameleon, serves a big menu of county-fair-style comfort foods -- including freshly prepared jumbo wings, hand-cut fries, funnel cakes, and an excellent rendition of deep-fried Oreos -- for carryout, delivery, or noshing at the bar. Plans call for additional Mugzee's locales in Akron and Cleveland.
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