Dish of the Day: Bento-Style Express Lunch @ Table 45


You’ve reached the halfway point in your work day and it’s time to grab some lunch. What’s on the menu? Maybe you unpack an ordinary sandwich from home or head to the building cafeteria for some uninspired fare. It's fast and reliable, though not exactly a treat.

Might we offer another suggestion?

Table 45 (9801 Carnegie Avenue, 216-707-4045, is shaking things up with the introduction of a new Bento-style express lunch. The $16 special features a half sandwich, soup or salad, and dessert. The meal is delivered all at once, to diners hungry for something delicious and quick in the middle of another hectic work day.

Recent specials have included a fried green tomato naan wrap with whole grain mustard fingerling potato salad, served with vanilla tapioca; a chicken salad spinach wrap with tortilla soup, served with pistachio crème brulee; and a smoked ham and cheese panini with pasta salad, served with lemon ricotta cannoli. These are far from your typical brown bag lunch.

Table 45 is connected to the InterContinental Hotel, adjacent to the Cleveland Clinic’s main campus. Chef de cuisine Eddie Tancredi says this Express Lunch concept is the product of a team brainstorm, born out of the desire to feed a busy Cleveland Clinic staff a prompt, yet quality meal.

“Usually, when you go out for lunch, you get a sandwich, maybe some fries,” says Tancredi. “We wanted to deliver a healthy, 3-course meal, all in one shot.” If everyone at a table orders the Express Lunch, the restaurant is able to guarantee swift delivery. Orders also are available for take-away, though the majority of clientele stop in to enjoy a sit-down meal.

Although there’s just one special each day, diners with dietary restrictions won’t be left out. “We cater to everyone,” says Tancredi. “We can always turn a vegetarian option into a sandwich, we can exclude the dairy. We can always accommodate our diners.”

Tancredi says the restaurant’s next goal is to attract the lunch crowd beyond the Cleveland Clinic, drawing in locals from the surrounding community. With specials as scrumptious as this, diners should come running.

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