Within hours of the Aloft Hotel ribbon-cutting, Ken Stewart's East Bank (1121 W. 10th St., 216-696-8400, kenstewartscleveland.com) officially opened it doors. The eponymously named eatery joins Ken Stewart's other eponymously restaurants Ken Stewart's Grille, Ken Stewart's Tre Belle, and Ken Stewart's Lodge — all part of the eponymously named Ken Stewart Restaurant Group.
"We are open for business and excited for everyone to have a Ken Stewart-quality experience," announced general manager Lindsey Stewart, daughter to Ken.
The design is a bold and contemporary departure from Stewart's traditional dark and clubby eateries. Diners can look forward to an open-air feel that melds industrial and chic in a way that aptly fits its setting. "We wanted to have a nautical influence with the river, but also keep true to the industrial history," explains Stewart.
That nautical theme includes a porthole that links the lounge and dining room. The dining room, complete with glass-enclosed fireplace, seats nearly 200, including at four impressive half-moon booths. Suspended above each booth is a metal smokestack-style chandelier.
The lounge area is no joke. A 14-seat bar is anchored by a back bar that comprised of more than 500 color-coordinated liquor bottles. Bartenders must utilize the sliding ladder to access the good stuff. Six tap handles feature local craft brews. A compact 12-item cocktail menu will change with the seasons.
"We are constantly rotating our selections seasonally," says bartender Molly McSweeney. Currently in play is the "Now and Then" menu, with the Cleveland Minute (now) made with Cleveland Whiskey, bitters, brandied cherry juice and maple syrup, or an Old Fashioned (then), made with good-old Wild Turkey. Fruit juices are fresh-squeezed to order, adds McSweeney. "If you order a vodka and orange juice, we are literally squeezing the orange juice." Also, all soda comes from a can instead of the gun.
A sea of stainless steel set against brilliant red panels calls attention to the open kitchen, where an eight-seat chef's counter gives diners a front-row seat to the action. While the menu is a balance of surf and turf, it's the turf that will turn heads, says executive chef Anthony Seminatore.
"Those that appreciate steak realize that USDA Prime is a high-value cut — and our lowest grade is USDA Prime," he says. Steaks are then aged for at least 28 days. For the high-rolling carnivore, East Bank serves up 100-percent Japanese Wagyu beef from Kagoshima. "We are one of only a small handful of restaurants that serve this in the country," adds the chef. At $140 for a six-ounce sirloin, we can understand why.
Deep-pocketed burger fans might want to consider the $35 Executive Burger, which is Wagyu ground beef gilded with foie gras, duck bacon, scotch onions, arugula and truffle aioli.
For the turf lubbers, KSEB offers edamame hummus, artisan cheese plates, charcuterie boards, truffle fries, hamachi sashimi and other fish-centric entrees.
Ken Stewart's East Bank "is a place where a group can share some small plates and drinks or spoil themselves with some of the highest quality beef in the world," promises Lindsey Stewart.
KSEB is now open for dinner seven days a week. Lunch and weekend brunch will start June 24. An outdoor patio is coming soon, too.