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Food & Drink

Best Hidden Restaurant 

The Cleveland Grill

You could drive past the Cleveland Grill a hundred times and never notice it. The restaurant sits in a small brick building on a fast-moving, four-lane stretch of West 117th Street, in a neighborhood better known for used car lots than fine dining. Its white plastic sign is hung above the door with string, and it looks like just another hole-in-the-wall bar. But inside, the lighting is subdued, the walls are exposed brick, and the music is Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. There are great Greek standbys, like gyros and souvlaki sandwiches for $5. The pasta dishes are enormous, but done with a light touch - the marinara sauce is such a delicate mix of salt and sweet that you'll barely realize you're getting stuffed. And the kitchen takes bold risks. Cold corn soup doesn't sound like a culinary delight, but the Cleveland Grill makes it sing. The sea bass is so subtle, you could chew right through it and think it's bland, but slow down and notice how the grilled, glazed apricots and the salty fish play a little duet in your mouth. Throw in the bread, soup du jour, and large side salad, and you've got a romantic meal for $10.

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October 20, 2021

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