Favorite

Pacific East, the popular Cleveland Heights restaurant and sushi bar, has launched its second location, at Woodmere's Eton-Chagrin shopping center (28601 Chagrin Boulevard, 216-765-1305). It features tempura, teriyaki, noodle dishes, and a tempting assortment of artfully prepared sushi.

We dropped by soon after the restaurant opened and left with some new joneses of our own. Among them: ample slabs of buttery toro (the seasonal "fatty tuna belly"), which at six bucks a pop promise to become a pricey — but delicious — addiction. Also irresistible was the perfectly plump Iso Maki ($11.95), a hearty roll-up of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, cucumber, and mayo, wrapped in "special" seaweed with a dainty, lacy pattern.

The restaurant is a joint project of brothers Freeman and Jack Ngo, and partner Ben Wu. Snug and colorful, the room is done up in shades of pumpkin and tomato, with seating for 42 in the dining room and 10 at the sushi bar. Beer, wine, and sake are available; reservations are accepted.

Up in their grill: Maybe it harks back to our species' days as communal cave dwellers, but there's something about winter that demands group activities. Forget the potluck. For a true gourmet get-down, consider reserving the Chef's Table at Table 45, the stunning contemporary restaurant inside the InterContinental Hotel (9801 Carnegie Avenue, www.tbl45.com), where executive chef Zack Bruell offers a unique menu of vibrant world cuisine.

For $80 each (plus a $100 booking fee), you and up to seven friends can claim the semicircular table inside the sparkling kitchen and enjoy a multicourse "chef's whim" tasting, sampling from cuisines as varied as Indian, Moroccan, Thai, and Spanish. You'll also get a chance to quiz chef du cuisine Robert Ledzianowski, via his headset, on what culinary magic he's performing. Also on the menu: plenty of personal attention from the polished staff, including GM and sommelier Todd Thompson, who, for an additional $40 per person, will pour just the right wine to accompany each course.

For more info, contact food and beverage coordinator Michelle Hoes at 216-707-4160.

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