Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Greenhouse Tavern, Jonathan Sawyer’s certified green gastropub, to sprout on East Fourth this fall

Posted By on Wed, Apr 16, 2008 at 12:57 PM

After months of speculation, the details of chef Jonathan Sawyer’s long-awaited gastropub – the first in the region to be certified “green” by the Green Restaurant Association -- are becoming clear. The Greenhouse Tavern should sprout sometime this fall at 2038 E. 4th St., in the Cort’s Building – putting it between Wonder Bar and HOB, and just a few doors down from Lola, where Sawyer’s pal and colleague, Michael Symon, hangs his toque. ... Sawyer, a Cleveland native whose resume includes stints at Charlie Palmer’s Kitchen 22 in NYC, Lolita in Tremont, and Parea, Symon’s well-received but short-lived spot in the Big Apple, is currently chef-partner in Bar Cento, a rustic, Italian-style wine bar and gathering place in Ohio City. He was also one of this year’s early nominees for the prestigious Rising Star Chef Award from the James Beard Foundation; and was recently tapped by trade mag, Restaurant Hospitality, as a Rising Star. We caught up with him yesterday for the lowdown on his new, high-visibility space, in the heart of downtown’s entertainment district. While the interior of the Cort’s Building will need lots of work, Sawyer’s vision is a fait accompli. If all goes according to plans, look for the Greenhouse to feature two floors and 140 seats for dining, a rooftop patio and greenhouse, and hours that encompass daily breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. As for the “farm-to-fork” menu, Sawyer says it will focus on “classic recipes made with local and indigenous ingredients,” including artisanal cheeses, seasonal fruits and veggies, and lamb, pork, and chicken sourced from area farms. Among representative dishes, the chef points to dry-aged saddle of lamb, an entree he calls “fun and full of fabulous flavor.” Also on his preliminary menus, you’ll find items like a goat cheese and potato tart, steamed clams with foie gras, a charcuterie sandwich with mortadella, coppa, salami, and olives, a PLT (pork, lettuce, and tomato) sandwich with sprouts and avocado, skate wing with raisins “on the vine,” roasted chicken, and summer fruit with lavender and fresh ricotta. Then there are the Quec Fries, Sawyer’s version of poutine, the ubiquitous Quebecian street food. In this case, that means Sawyer’s breathtaking duck-fat-fried frites, now topped with cheese curds and gravy. (Oh, mama!) At this point, sandwich prices are set from $9 to $13, and entrees check in at $14 to $29. To take a peek at the preliminary menus, click here. Helping Sawyer in the kitchen, expect to see sous chef Brian Goodman, who worked with him at both Kitchen 22 and Parea. A third chef is on his way, too, although Sawyer wasn’t yet at liberty to release his name. “He’s someone I’ve worked with before, and someone you’ll know,” he teased. While Sawyer can’t yet commit to a launch date, he’s certain of one thing: Fellow chef, sustainability advocate, and part-time drummer Steve Schimoler (Crop Bistro) will be part of the celebration. “Steve’s band will be playing at the opening,” Sawyer laughs. “Maybe we can start forging some connections between the Warehouse District and E. 4th.” --- Elaine T. Cicora Read Elaine Cicora's restaurant reviews, food news, and comprehensive dining guide on the restaurant page at clevescene.com.


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