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Thursday, October 20, 2016

First Look: Marble Room Steak and Raw Bar

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 4:09 PM

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Sorry, Crop Bistro. When Marble Room Steak and Raw Bar opens downtown, it will immediately jump to the front of the line in terms of Cleveland’s most impressive dining rooms. The dramatic restaurant is just now taking shape inside the historic bank lobby of the Garfield Building at E. Sixth and Euclid.
Most recently National City Bank, the immaculately preserved interior was going to become the home of Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse. When that deal fell through, there was little doubt who would step in to fill its shoes.

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“There’s too much at stake – you can’t screw it up,” explains Malisse Sinito, who along with husband Frank will be the ones building out and operating the Marble Room (623 Euclid Ave.). The pair also own Lockkeepers restaurant in Valley View, and Frank is CEO of Cleveland-based Millennia Companies, the owner of the building. The commercial office space above the restaurant is being converted into apartments.

Guests who step off Euclid Avenue and spin their way through the revolving door first will be floored by the immense volume of the room, a high-ceilinged space that exceeds 10,000 square feet, discounting private spaces. Twin lounges with elegant soft seating will flank the central host stand. To the right will be a bar devoted to sushi and raw bar. To the left, a bowed 20-seat marble bar is positioned between columns, above which will rise a two-story wine cellar accessed via sliding ladder. The old deposit slip tables in front of the bar are being repurposed into cocktail-friendly high tops. Booth seating will be tucked in between columns on both sides of the room.

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“You’ll feel like you have some privacy,” Sinito says.

In between will be more tables, chairs and booths. All said and done, the main dining room should accommodate about 175 guests. Drapes, carpeting and large fabric-covered panels will be installed to combat excessive noise. Downstairs, bank vaults and safe deposit box rooms will be able to handle multiple private events.

When news broke on the arrival of Jeff Ruby’s, the response was almost unanimous. Another downtown steakhouse! So I posed the question to Sinito.

“I agree,” she says. “If you asked me before I would have said the same thing. But you saw the space. What would you do with it?”

“With a space like this you can only go one way and that’s high end,” she continues. “But you can still be playful with it. You still want to keep it fresh and modern and cool and sexy and fun. Not stodgy.”

For those who don’t want a big, juicy USDA Prime porterhouse, there will be fresh-shucked oysters on the half shell, fresh-cut sushi, small plates and plenty of seafood, Sinito assures us.

“For people who don’t want to come in for a steak, you can come in and sit in the lounge and have oysters or sushi or small plates and a cocktail. It’s not just beef.”

The menu and kitchen will be overseen by Alberto Leandri, the Venice born chef who for the past four years has been executive chef at Lockkeepers. The contemporary steakhouse menu will be almost 50-50 in terms of beef and seafood. Classic steakhouse starters and sides will be given a modern twist.

As we descend the sweeping brass-railed marble staircases of the turn-of-the-century building we pass by ornate light fixtures, under polished stone arches, through gilded gated doors, and toward the hefty bank vault door, now permanently ajar.

“Can you imagine recreating all this now?” Sinito asks. “You couldn’t do it.”

The team is shooting for a spring opening. When it does open, Marble Room will serve lunch and dinner and maybe weekend brunch.

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