Zoss the Swiss Baker

September 28, 2015

IMAG4073Zoss the Swiss Baker is a high quality European bakery in Cleveland Heights. It does not serve beverages. It does not have seating. Instead, it has the most delicious European breads and pastries. Real, honest to goodness European pastries. It’s enough to make me cry.

They use quality ingredients here – real butter, IMAG4074chocolate, flours, etc. You can taste the quality in the first bite. The pastries are light and flaky, while the bread is as dense and crusty as it should be.

The Krustenkrone alone has assured my patronage for as long as they are in business. I have never seen it offered here, despite being a staple at parties in Germany. The Krustenkrone IMAG4075consists of small bread rolls that are shaped in a ring. You pull apart the Krustenkrone and get a crusty crust with a tender inside. The ones I am familiar with from Germany have a variety of different toppings, like sesame seed, poppy seed, parmesan, etc. I’m sure if asked they could make it that way as a special order for a party.

Zoss is located in an unassuming brick building on Cedar Road, tuckedIMAG4076 away just past Nighttown. Even though it faces out to Cedar Road, it is in an easy to miss location. They have their own parking lot with free parking, which is a plus in Cleveland Heights. I go here when I know On The Rise will be crazy busy with nary a parking space in sight.

Kurt and Barbara Zoss have been in Cleveland for nearly two decades, now managing four employees and making ten bread assortments and various pastries, baked goods and tarts every day.

I first learned about Zoss at the North Union Farmer’s Market on Shaker Square. They were selling a pastry called Apfel im Schlafrock (apple in a nightgown), which caught my eye. The marzipan flavor when I bit into it won my heart. This pastry is amazing. The pastry dough is buttery, tender and flaky and the apple filling is creamy and delicious.

I love their ham and Swiss croissants and German Bretzel (pretzel) as well. Since the tastes skew more European IMAG4077than American, the baked goods are not as sweet as you might expect, and that is a good thing! Everyone raves about their Chocolate Papillon, with good reason. It is a light, delicate and airy pastry brimming with quality chocolate goodness. It is absolute perfection.

They sell a wide variety of breads. I always have a hard time deciding. I narrowed it down to the Country Sourdough or the Rustic Italian this time and asked the woman behind the counter which she recommended. She recommended the Rustic Italian and then IMG_20150917_122454asked if I wanted it sliced. I prefer slicing my own bread, but I appreciated having the choice all the same. Their Semmli also make me smile. These little balls of goodness are smaller than the Semmel or Brötchen I am used to from Austria and Germany, respectively, but they are a nice choice for a small variety of open-faced sandwiches that European breakfasts are known for.

Their IMAG4504_1savory tarts are quite lovely as well. I bought a spinach and onion tart and was not able to eat it until the following day. I didn’t even heat it up. I simply ate it at room temperature. It was just as delicious if it had been fresh. The tart was packed with lots of spinach and it had a nice oniony/garlicky flavor to it. It was almost quiche-like. I would definitely recommend giving their tarts a try.

They run out of baked goods fairly quickly, so get there early if you want to get their best stuff. They are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Also, they have a $10 minimum for credit cards, so bring cash if you can.

Contact info:

Zoss the Swiss Baker
12397 Cedar Rd
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 368-4055

Pop-ups at the Katz Club Diner

September 18, 2015

IMAG0024When the Katz Club Diner Bar Car burned down many of us thought that would be it for the lovely old-fashioned diner cars on Lee Road. After the arsonist was incarcerated, Doug Katz focused his energy on rebuilding. They tore down the bar car, which was a total loss, and landscaped the area. He had originally bought the cars for the spacious kitchen, so I wasn’t surprised to hear he was going to use the space for his catering gigs as well as hosting pop-up dinners. IMAG4396His pop-up dinners have been quite popular so far, so it seems like a great decision on his part.

He has hosted a Vegetarian pop-up, Indian Street Food pop-up and Fried Chicken and Corn on the Cob pop-up, to name a few. I have attended the Lobster Rolls & Blueberry Pie pop-up and the Clambake pop-up so far. I am also looking forward to several upcoming pop-ups including an Oktoberfest, Spaghetti & Meatballs, a French Bistro, and Dim Sum. The food is amazing from start to finish. There hasn’t been a bad choice yet. He elevates even simple smashed potatoes into something delicious.

The dinners include tax and gratuity. Beverages are a la carte, and there are several PhotoGrid_1442026828003wines and beers as well as a featured cocktail and some sodas to order separately.

The first pop-up I attended, entitled Lobster Shack, featured popcorn spiced with housemade old bay seasoning, Maine lobster roll on a housemade buttered bun, smashed red potatoes, sweet and sour pickled slaw and local blueberry pie with housemade vanilla ice cream. I loved the Blueberry Thyme Collins, which was the cocktail selection for the evening. The blueberry thyme syrup was refreshing paired with gin, lemon and soda water – and I’m not normally a fan of gin. The lobster roll made me swoon. The bun had the perfect amount of butter and was an ideal carrier for the lightly tossed lobster filling. The smashed red potatoes and pickled slaw were great PhotoGrid_1442026730839accompaniments. The pie – although not actually pie but more of a buckle – was delicious, as was the homemade ice cream.

The most recent pop-up featured spiced peanuts, lobster bisque made with huge chunks of fresh Maine lobster, corn bread, steamed clams, local sweet corn on the cob, pan seared potatoes, housemade chicken garlic sausage and a bittersweet chocolate whoopie pie. Although I loved every course, my favorites were the bisque and that amazing whoopie pie, but even minor sides like the cornbread and simple pan-searedIMAG4402 potatoes were sublime. I enjoyed the sparkling clementine soda to start and a Sauvignon Blanc with my meal. We also got to enjoy an amazing sunset.

You can buy tickets for the upcoming pop-ups here and keep an eye on their Facebook page for announcements when the next pop-up is available to book. Tickets go on sale about one month beforehand and have sold out quickly, so act fast.

Contact info:

Katz Club Diner
1975 Lee Road
Cleveland Heights, OH
(216) 932-3333

The Coney Company

September 10, 2015

IMAG2012The Coney Company opened on Broadview Road in Old Brooklyn in May 2013. I’ve been meaning to get out there for a few months now, because I love a good hot dog. It is technically a chain, but they are locally owned and just loosely affiliated with The Coney Company, based in Detroit.

For my first visit I stuck to the basics: a Coney and a Polish Boy. I made my way there on a snowy January day and found it easily – just one driveway from the corner of Broadview and Pearl Roads. IMAG2006It is in a refurbished Arby’s and offers drive-thru service as well as an eat-in dining room. The counter is made with reclaimed wood from Coney Island’s old boardwalk. The music is from the 1950s. I jammed out to “Walk Like a Man” by the Four Seasons while eating my Coney. It’s a real shame this place wasn’t open when my uncle was alive, because he would have been here all the time, with the music, the prices and the location.

The Coney Dog ($1.79) features a natural casing dog in a soft, steamed white bun topped with bean-free chili, yellow mustard and diced onion. I liked it. The dog had a nice snap to it, and the chili was mild, savory and pleasant. The onions kept falling off, but I just tucked them back into the chili and mustard.

IMAG2008While I liked the Coney Dog I loved the Polish Boy. The Polish Boy ($3.99) features a spicy Polish sausage and is topped with creamy coleslaw, hand-cut shoestring fries, and a zesty BBQ sauce. This was a mess to eat, but it was an enjoyable mess. IMAG2009The fries were delicious on their own, and I really liked the BBQ sauce on them. The four ingredients melded together to make a really satisfying dog.

The Reuben at the table next to mine looked really good. I like to fly under the radar so I didn’t ask the guy if I could take of a picture of it, but I was tempted. Their Reuben is made from Vienna Distributing corned beef, which is an excellent corned beef. The Reuben appeared nicely grilled, and he seemed to really enjoy it. I made a note to try it another time.

Photo from the Coney Company website

Photo from the Coney Company website

On other visits I had the Bacon Wrapped Fryer ($2.79) and the Chicken Tenders Meal ($6.49). I wasn’t as impressed with them. That may be in part my fault, because I told them to hold the jalapenos on the fryer dog. If you like processed cheese sauce you will enjoy this. I scraped a bunch of the cheese sauce off and it still overwhelmed the dog. The best part of the chicken tenders meal were the shoestring fries and IMAG2257the Texas Toast. That Texas Toast was delicious with lots and lots of buttery goodness in it. The chicken tenders were okay; they just didn’t wow me. A kid would love these. I had my choice of sauce and went with honey mustard and BBQ. I preferred the honey mustard.

They also serve a variety of burgers, although I would probably order the Polish Boy and Coney again. They have a drive thru, but I don’t know how effective it is since they prepare every order fresh as it comes in.

They also serve breakfast all day, for those of you who work third shift or enjoy breakfast for dinner. The McDowell’s, featuring two sausage patties with a fried egg in between topped with two slices of American cheese and served on a bakery bun sounds intriguing, as does the French Toast Dip (a French toast bun filled with sausage patties, powdered sugar and maple syrup for dipping) and the Chicken and Waffle sandwich.

In short: it’s clean, easy to find, and very affordable. They are also open seven days a week. I don’t know if it’s worth a special trip, but if you are at the zoo or in the Brooklyn area you might want to check it out. This would be a great, affordable place to take kids after an outing to the zoo. I just really wish they didn’t use styrofoam!

Contact info:

The Coney Company
3330 Broadview Road
Cleveland, OH 44109
(216) 563-1894

Merwin’s Wharf

September 2, 2015

IMAG3616What Merwin’s Wharf lacks in food quality, it makes up for in atmosphere. I met a friend there for dinner on a recent Tuesday. There was a one and a half hour wait for a table (on a Tuesday), but my friend quickly found two people leaving at the bar and snagged their seats. The location is the big draw. Located on the banks of the Cuyahoga River, Merwin’s Wharf has a large patio with a fire pit, a gas fireplace, and a giant Jenga, lots of windows and a great view of the boats and river traffic. I saw a rowing crew IMAG3608counting out their strokes and the Goodtime III drove by at one point. My friend commented that they should have the bar facing the river, but the design allows the servers and food runners access to the kitchen (note I didn’t say quick access, because several orders sat there for a pretty long time). Things got better onceIMAG3601 the manager came out to expedite things.

I was underwhelmed by the food, but I loved the drinks. I started off with a Hemingway’s Day Off, which was delicious. It features rum with a little lime and is finished with basil syrup. I saw no sign of the “seasonal fruit” mentionedIMAG3610 in the description, but it really didn’t need it. I drank it down quickly and enjoyed every sip. I then ordered a Rum Runner, which features light and dark rum, banana and blackberry liqueur, orange juice, pineapple, Grenadine and 151 Rum. It was also delicious, and I had to ask the bartender for water IMAG3612because I was afraid I would drink it down too quickly without any food. I didn’t get my water until I finally was able to ask the runner who brought the food for one. The bar was slammed, but the bartender had obviously forgotten my water.

As far as the food is concerned, it isn’t the best food, but it is okay. I ordered the Beef and Mushroom Melt. I don’t know if it had sat under the heat lamp for too long, but the thick-cut beef was tough and the “melt” was pretty dry. There wasn’t much horseradish cream that I noticed IMAG3613and as you can tell the cheese was also pretty meager. The fresh cut potato chips were decent. I think a shaved beef would make this a much more successful sandwich.

My friend ordered the fish tacos. The fish was walleye and it had a nice amount of veggies accompanying it. She said the tacos wereIMAG3611 okay but a bit bland. She said they could really use the addition of some kind of crema or creamy topping.

A fellow patron at the bar also offered us a bite of their giant pretzel with mustard and beer cheese. The biggest thing it has going for it is the size. It was gargantuan. It was doughy but didn’t have the nice crispness I am used to. The mustard andIMAG3600 beer cheese dips were tasty and were needed to give it some flavor. It was nothing like the pretzel at the Hofbrauhaus or any pretzel in any backyard beer garden in Germany. The pretzel was more like a bit dough bowtie than a pretzel. In any case the two of them were having trouble finishing it, which is why they offered us a taste. I guess it would do a good job soaking up the alcohol, so it is a good bar choice.

This is definitely a place to go for drinks. Just don’t expect too much from the food. Or the service. I have heard complaints about rude hosts/hostesses, and I was not impressed with the time it took to run food out once it hit the kitchen window. Go for the drinks and the view. You can wave at the Goodtime III when it goes by.

Contact info:

Merwin’s Wharf
1785 Merwin Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 664-5696

Kenko sushi + teriyaki

August 25, 2015

IMAG3898I have mixed feelings about this place. I was really excited when I heard they were going to open a casual hibachi place in the new Uptown district in University Circle. I love hibachi and, even though it wouldn’t have any of the showmanship, I was excited about the possibility of hibachi-like results at a cheaper price. Especially one so close to my home. The folks from Shinto in Strongsville are the force behind Kenko. I anxiously awaited IMAG3899the opening, which seemed to take forever. It opened on July 7th and is located just past University Hospital next to Rascal House Pizza. There is also a rear entrance off the valet area of the Courtyard Hotel.

I waited a couple days after they opened to let the crowds die down. I paid for parking in the little lot off Mayfield and headed in the Euclid Avenue entrance. The lines are a little confusing. The line on the left is for those ordering sushi. If you want a teriyaki bowl or bubble tea you order that at the cash registers to the right.

I have to say the most exciting thing about this place is the Kung Fu tea. It is really good. A lot IMAG3951of the reviewers on Yelp are raving about how excited they are to have Kung Fu tea being served in Cleveland. Their bubble teas are tea and milk-based tea drinks originally from Taiwan, with added tapioca pearls (boba). Kung Fu Tea is a bubble tea chain that is popular all along the east coast, and Kenko is the only place in Cleveland that serves it. It is a neat little set-up. They have a ton of different flavors, and you can order it with milk and/or boba. You can also choose how sweet you want the tea to be (30%, 50%, etc.). The personIMAG3900 behind the counter prepares it, puts it in some kind of shaker and then into another machine to seal it with plastic. On my first visit they were out of green milk tea, so I went with the plain milk tea. It was really flavorful. On my second visit I ordered the green milk tea with bubbles. I liked that one even more. The boba are somewhat sweeter than other bubble teas I have tried. You can also order all kinds of flavored black and green teas. I think I’ll order the orange green tea next time. They have a sign featuring their top 10 selling flavors if you are overwhelmed by the choices.

IMAG3952Anyway, on to the food… On my first visit they were out of the gyoza in addition to the green milk tea, so I ordered a miso soup. It was palatable, but it didn’t wow me. It didn’t have a lot of tofu or seaweed like at some other restaurants here in Cleveland. I’ll spare you the picture because it is boring.

I ordered the gyoza on a subsequent trip and have to say they were pretty bad. The dough was really thin and seemed almost undercooked. I was afraid it was just going to fall apart. There is no pan frying here. The shrimp filling was decent, but the wrappings were so limp and tasteless that it negated it. I definitely prefer a more toothsome gyoza that has been pan-fried a bit more.

I also ordered a chicken and shrimp teriyaki bowl with fried IMAG3812rice. I enjoyed the flavor of the bowl, but was disappointed with the minuscule portion of yum yum sauce (pictured to the right). If you order a bowl, be sure to order extra yum yum sauce. The chicken and shrimp were cooked well and the veggies were not overcooked. The fried rice was definitely worth the upgrade. It wasn’t as good as a meal at a hibachi restaurant, but that is probably because they don’t use as much butter as they do at a hibachi. I ordered the same thing on another trip with an upgrade of fried rice for $1.50 and fried mushrooms for $1.00. The second bowl was so tasteless. This time the fried rice had no soy IMAG3815sauce or flavor to it at all. It was a waste of $1.50. Maybe they don’t use soy sauce to ensure the teriyaki bowls are gluten-friendly, but that is kind of the point of ordering fried rice. I noticed they serve packets of gluten-free soy sauce, but I would think you could specify gluten-free soy sauce for the teriyaki since they create each one individually in a wok. I had also ordered extra yum yum sauce, and it didn’t help much. I could have saved the extra $1.00 (yes, they charge 50 cents for each small portion of sauce). Also, some of the “fried mushrooms” also were barely cooked. If I had to choose something I would order the teriyaki bowl again and hope that the cook was competent.

I for sure won’t be ordering their sushi again. Many reviewers on Yelp talked about how bland the sushi is, and they were right on point. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why that is, but I think the sushi rice is made without rice vinegar. The sushi appears to be spread on the seaweed or soy paper using a conveyor belt machine of some sortIMAG3902 (see first picture). The ingredients are fresh and stretch out along the counter so you can see what you are ordering. I ordered two rolls: the Kenko roll and a make-your-own roll. The Kenko Roll features shrimp tempura, crab, cucumber, avocado and cream cheese in soy paper with a miso glaze. My shrimp tempura was sent from the kitchen when I ordered it and then assembled in the roll. I don’t think it was freshly fried because it was cold, but it had a very nice crunch to it so it couldn’t have sat out too long. That said, the roll itself was really bland. I liked the crunch of the tempura and the flavor of the cream cheese, but the other ingredients just kind of got lost. The make-your-own roll allows you to choose your wrap (seaweed or upgrade to soy paper), a protein, two “veggies” (although “filling” would probably be a better descriptor), two sauces and a topping. I went with a raw white tuna with cucumber and asparagus, tempura crumbles and sweet chili and yum yum sauce (with an added sauce of teriyaki). Despite the three sauces this sushi roll also didn’t wow me. It was better than IMAG3903the Kenko Roll, but I left just kind of disappointed. There are several other places that serve sushi nearby like Dynomite and Crop Kitchen.

The employees behind the counter were pleasant and kept their cool with a couple customers who were just clueless (including me on the first visit). They patiently explained what Kaiware (sprouted daikon radish seeds) and Masago (fish roe) were to a rather loud first-time customer. The dining area definitely appears to be a hang out for university students and Kenko employees on break. There were tables of young college students enjoying themselves both times, not to mention a couple of people on laptops. Most of the seats are equipped with outlets.

The thing I am most disappointed in are the lack of recycling options. They had advertised that they would be using biodegradable containers, but have since switched to black plastic containers. Since everything here is served in to go containers it’s great if you take it home and can recycle, but if you eat there they don’t offer recycling bins along with the trash containers.

If I want a Kung Fu tea I will be stopping here, but honestly the food isn’t worth the price tag or the calories. When I want hibachi flavor I am going to stick with a hibachi restaurant. I’m disappointed because I had been so excited. I’m also not the only one, because I overheard one fellow diner saying he was going to give it one more shot and then he was done too. The place does seem to attract a lot of young Asian college students, so maybe it will make a go of it. I encourage you to try it out for yourself and hope you have better luck than I did, but three tries and I’m out.

Contact info:

Kenko sushi + teriyaki
11312 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 862-7690


Santorini Greek Taverna

August 15, 2015

IMAG3868I have been missing a good, authentic Greek restaurant in Cleveland. I learned to love Greek food at the Greek restaurant around the corner from my house in Germany. I spent many a lovely evening in their grapevine-covered backyard, enjoying saganaki, gyros and IMAG3857souflaki. There is nothing better than grilled meats.

Located on W. 9th next to Mallorca, Santorini doesn’t have a grapevine-covered backyard, but it does have some awesome food to make up for it. I met some girlfriends there for dinner the other night. I had made a reservation for 5 people, and the restaurant had our table set and waiting for us. There was someIMAG3849 question whether a couple others would be joining us, but the waiter assured us it would not be a problem. They were very busy that night with a dating group/happy hour event of some sort and another large table twice our size, so I appreciated the willingness to be accommodating if needed.

We started off ordering a bunch of appetizers to share among the table. There were two vegetarians in the group, so our choices tended to be vegetarian-friendly or pescatarian-friendly. With Greek food that was not a problem at all! The waiter took our drink orders and had a basketIMAG3850 of bread with yogurt butter in olive oil, hummus and labneh, and olives sent to the table.

I had the blueberry mojito, and it was tasty and refreshing. It featured fresh blueberries and was not overly sweet. The photo here is of a Santorini special cocktail featuring a Greek liquor and with mint and orange flavors. I received this free when the bartenders messed up one of my friend’s drink orders and we IMAG3854got two of the same thing. I sacrificed for the table. It was delicious.

The hit of the table were the spanakopita that I ordered and the saganaki one of my friends ordered. The spanakopita was without a doubt the best spanakopita I have ever eaten, and several of my friends shared that opinion. The crust was light, the filling was a fluffy mix of feta and spinach, and it had a bright flavor that I believe was lemon. A mix of feta cheese and Greek yogurt was served on the side. It was spectacular. I don’t know if it is worth $13, but I would still order it again. The waiter brought out the saganaki and lit it on fire with dramatics befitting the dish. After a minute or so he then extinguished the flames with lemon juice. It was served with pita bread.

IMAG3851  IMAG3853

IMAG3855I was surprised to enjoy the fried eggplant and zucchini chips (Kolokythakia) as much as I did. Shaved thin and lightly coated with what might be breadcrumbs and cheese, these chips were addictive, and I could not stop eating them. The presentation was also whimsical, as they were served in a big metal ice scoop with a side of tzatziki.

I was less impressed with the feta dip one of friends ordered. The presentation was cute (in a little jar on the wooden slab – see photo below), but it didn’t hold up against the other dips IMAG3859on the table, such as the tzatziki with the chips. I was expecting it to be creamier than it was, but it was kind of dry. She ended up taking most of it home with her.

Another friend (who is Greek) ordered a couple of sides. She chose the Horta (blanched greens drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice) and I believe the Spanakorizo, which was Greek rice with spinach and chopped tomato. Both were quite good. I unfortunately failed to photograph them.

Another friend had a mix-up with her order, and she ended up with both the Chtenia (pan-searedIMAG3860 diver scallops in a butter sauce over spinach, feta cheese, and bacon) and the Garides Saganaki (shrimp sauteed with olive oil, tomatoes, scallions, garlic and feta). Both were exceptional, but I preferred the scallops over the shrimp. Again, I failed to photograph them in all the confusion and the clearing of the plates to make room for more.

The original plan had been to order some appetizers and then entrees, but with all of the appetizers we ordered I was starting to feel full. I decided to order the grilled octopus (or IMAG3864Octapodi as I was corrected several times) instead of the seafood orzo I had been anticipating. The octopus tentacles were firm and meaty and had a nice char from the grill. They were served on a bed of split yellow peas, shaved red onion, and some cherry tomatoes. The puree itself was delicious. It was a little pricier than I expected given the portion size, but it isn’t like octopus is a local delicacy.

One friend was brave enough to order an entree, the moussaka, which was recommended by the waiter. She enjoyed it and offered a taste. It was good, but I was so full I couldn’t appreciate it.

Unfortunately there were a few hiccups that night. The IMAG3867air conditioning was not working, and it was easily over 100 degrees in the restaurant. It made us feel like we were definitely in the tropics of Greece. Also, the happy hour event monopolized the bartenders to such an extent that we waited forever for our drinks (see above). There were also some miscommunications. In fact, there were so many mishaps that the owner offered us dessert on the house. Two of my friends took advantage of the offer. I declined because I was stuffed, but I was able to enjoy a bite or two of their pastry with a delicious almond ice cream and some kind of chocolate mousse with pistachios. They apparently just hired a pastry chef a few months ago.

I will definitely be back to give it another shot, because I have every intention of trying the calamari, seafood orzo, and of course the souflaki. And you can be sure I will be ordering the spanakopita!

Contact info:

Santorini Greek Taverna
1382 West Ninth Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 205-4675

Map of Thailand

August 8, 2015

IMAG3058I’ve been meaning to dine at Map of Thailand for over a year now. A lot of my friends really love it and feel it is the best Thai restaurant in Cleveland. I had a craving for Thai food one Friday night, so I decided to set off on the spur of the moment to Payne Avenue. I got there at around 7 PM. Several tables were occupied, but it wasn’t full and they were able to seat me quickly. It seems they do a fair amount of take-out business. The restaurant has 10-15 tables, but IMAG3539turnover is quick even during the lunch rush. They don’t serve alcohol, but allow you to bring your own with no corking fee. They have several nice non-alcoholic beverages that you can enjoy as well. I loved the White IMAG3143Sangria, and their various ice teas are also unique and thirst-quenching.

The service was extremely accommodating, making sure my water was always topped up and bringing the food out fairly quickly. When I made an absolute mess trying to put my leftovers in the to-go container the waiter quickly grabbed a towel to clean up the sauce that had poured all over the table. I also love the attention paid to small details like the straw wrapper being folded up like a flower.

I started off with the Golden Bags, which are billed as “Crisp tofu purses filled with shrimp, chicken, IMAG3062water chestnut, mushroom, and scallion, fried to golden perfection.” I have to say these were really nice. The filling was pretty light and not as dense as I expected. They were indeed fried to perfection; they just left a light sheen of oil on the doilie. They were so light and crispy! They came with a nice sweet chili dipping sauce. I was intending to eat half and bring half home, but they were just too good aIMAG3063nd I ate them all.

The photo of the Seafood Coconut Soup (Assorted seafood in coconut cream base soup, seasoned with spices, mushroom, lemon grass, galanga, cilantro and kaffir lime leaf) was the first thing to catch my eye and my interest on the Yelp page for Map of Thailand. It was my favorite thing about the meal. Creamy with just a light kick, I loved every single drop and tipped the bowl to fill my spoon with the remains. It came out piping hotIMAG3144 and I actually burned part of my tongue on it, so be prepared to stir it until it cools enough to eat. The soup had two shrimp and two calamari rings as well as thinly sliced mushrooms. It was divine. I could see myself getting addicted to it really easily. It is the most expensive soup on the menu but worth every penny. I have also had the Tom Kha Kai soup, but I really recommend the seafood coconut soup. The Tom Kha Kai is good, but it isn’t as flavorful in my opinion.

I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for, and the Lard Nar Noodles sounded appealing. It is packed with vegetables, which really appealed to me. It features widIMAG3064e rice noodles with chicken, shrimp, Chinese broccoli, carrot, broccoli, and cabbage in a special house gravy sauce. I just wish it had been a tiny bit spicier. The soup was billed as two-star spicy and was perfect, so I am going to stick with spicy here instead of my usual mild.

IMAG3065They do not serve alcohol but allow you to bring whatever with no corking fee, which is nice if you want to share a bottle of wine. It didn’t matter to me, because I ordered my usual Thai iced tea to cut some heat. The Thai lemon ice tea (see photo above) is one of the house specialties. It is indeed quite lemony, and I found it to be quite refreshing. That said, I highly recommend the Thai lime ice tea. It is fantastic. If you like lime you will love it. I found it paired really well with the pad thai.

My bill for the three courses came to $25.25, which I found to be extremely reasonable for a Friday night dinner. As I was waiting for my food, a gentleman at a table near me said it was “the best meal [he had] had in a really long time.” He was also pleased to hear that his friend’s meat-centric dish could be made vegetarian for him, which is good to know.

I came during lunch on my second visit. Lunch portions are a little less, so my bill was even more reasonable at lunch ($18 including tip). I arrived shortlyIMAG3145 after 1:00 and only a couple tables were free. I ordered the Tom Kha Kai soup and Drunken Noodles. The Drunken Noodles were billed on the menu as two stars (meaning very spicy), but they were able to drop it down to one IMG_20150617_134312star for me. It had a nice little kick to it and my mouth was burning nicely by the time I left. I really like their method of flash frying the cabbage, green beans, carrots, red pepper, because the vegetables were crisp and fresh. The noodles were a reasonable size to eat and were nicely coated with the sauce.

On yet another visit, the pad thai was a little sweeter than I expected, but it was a nice pad thai. If you like it IMAG3540sweet you’ll love this. The portion size was fair, and it had a nice balance to it. Order the country pad thai for a little heat.

The Khao Soi Noodle is a Thai coconut curry noodle soup with chicken. The red curry sauce is well-executed and addictingly spicy. I didn’t like it as much as the seafood coconut soup, but it had a good flavor and nice depth. The crispy egg noodles on top were a good palate cleanser to balance the spice.

If you like Thai food I suggest you give this place aIMAG3532 try. I’m addicted to the seafood coconut soup, so I will be back again very soon. They are open Monday through Saturday for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and for dinner from 3-9:00 p.m. (9:30 on Saturday) and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday (although their website says they are closed on Sundays – call first). I suggest checking out their website if you are curious about what the dishes look like. The site has a photo of every single item they serve (except the beverages), which is very impressive.

Contact info:

Map of Thailand
3710 Payne Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 361-2220


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