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Kosta's chef takes on a Brandt new role; Last call for veggie subs; Small bites

Big, boisterous Executive Chef Brandt Evans -- culinary mastermind and originator of the slyly named Ozark-Asian-Funk cuisine at Kosta's (2179 West 11th Street, 216-622-0011) -- has added the title of general manager to his résumé. The youthful Hudson High School grad and Culinary Institute of America alumnus took over front-of-the-house duties earlier this year, but those additional demands haven't dimmed his enthusiasm for whipping up show-stopping dishes for the restaurant's contemporary menu. Current creations include horseradish-encrusted beef tenderloin with wild-mushroom bread pudding and a red-wine and veal reduction; caramel-glazed oven-roasted pork loin with baby bok choy and a white-bean and parsnip puree; and the perennial crowd-pleaser, luscious Newcastle Nut Brown Ale-braised short ribs, now served with creamy, smoked-Gouda-flavored polenta. For adventurous souls, Evans recently developed a fantastic-sounding Oxtail-Stuffed Squid. The chef braises the beef for more than four hours, then shreds the succulent meat and stuffs it into four petite squid bodies. The rich pairing is then seared in olive oil and arranged on a pillow of buttery herbed spaghetti squash, whipped potatoes, and savory pan juices. Evans says the hearty fare is the type of food that he personally loves to eat, and he's been thrilled by how many of his guests have told him they dig it, too. Now, who says Cleveland is still a steak-and-potatoes kinda town?

Last call for veggie subs . . . Chinese bistros, beefy roadhouses, and trendy fern bars may come and go, but we always thought we would have Vincenza's -- home of the perfect veggie sub -- patiently awaiting us in lovely downtown Bedford. Oh, how wrong we were. Owner Nick Turchi is closing his modest pasta-and-pizza house at 720 Broadway Avenue after losing his lease, leaving us to trek into downtown Cleveland whenever we crave one of Vincenza's fat, chewy pizzas, dripping with savory goodies, or his juicy, melt-in-your-mouth veggie subs, smothered in melted cheese and served on a crusty grilled roll. We'll be heading into Bedford for a final pig-out before the end arrives on December 23. After that, we'll have to toddle over to the Colonial Marketplace location (603 Prospect Avenue, 216-241-8382) when we need our fix.

Small bites . . . A trip to the Fulton Bar and Grill (1835 Fulton Road, 216-694-2122) is always a treat, what with Exec Chef Steve Parris's flavorful cooking and his kitchen's enduring love affair with the humble chili pepper. Now you can whet your appetite on the restaurant's new website,

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