Night Market Cleveland

August 1, 2015

IMAG3927Night Market Cleveland is a summer event series that premiered in Asiatown June 26th and is held on the last Friday of every month through September. It was inspired by the Asian night markets, which originated in Asia as illegal “ghost markets” that bustled through the evening and vanished before daybreak. Night Market Cleveland is the brain child of Michael Fleming, Executive Director of St. Clair Superior Development Corporation. He got the idea when he was visiting Hong Kong. I wasn’t able to attend last month, but knew I wanted to check it out this month. I am so glad I did! I love Asian food and this embraced all different kinds of cuisines – from Nepalese to Japanese and everything IMAG3925in between! Organizers also invited outside fare not typically known for having an Asian influence, such as Pope’s Kitchen and Tremont’s Fahrenheit, with the caveat that they put an ethnic twist on their offerings.

They have found a great location for it – on Rockwell and E. 21st in front of Emperor’s Palace and the big parking lot across the street. Vendor booths line Rockwell as well as the parking lot and there are vendor booths and food trucks in the parking lot as well as a huge stage. Strings of lights, colorfully lit fake trees and glowing performerIMAG3914 lend ambiance after dark. It runs from 5 PM to 11 PM. They bill it as a family-friendly and pet-friendly event. I saw lots of strollers and a dog on a leash, so they weren’t lying.

I was lucky enough to find a spot on E. 24th just off Rockwell. When I left at around 7:30 someone was thrilled to quickly take my place. Secure parking is available for $5 in the Plain Dealer lot. Off site parking is available at the Tower Press parking lot and Hot Cards parking lot located right off of Superior Road as well as on-street parking throughout the area.

The star is undoubtedly the food. Lots and lots of street food IMAG3915ranging from huge combos featuring five or six different things for $7 to 3 pieces of dim sum for $2 or $3 or several pot stickers for $2. The longest line was for Han Chinese Kabob and Grill. It stretched down past two other vendors on Rockwell and that was at 6 o’clock before the crowds came. I started off with some shu mei and ginger sesame noodles from Li Wah for $10. The shu mei were my favorite savory bite of the night. They were moist and IMAG3917plump. I also enjoyed the noodles. Some people were adding protein like chicken to them. I saved my appetite for later.

The one vendor I knew I absolutely wanted to try was SnowBros Shavery. They debuted their traditional Asian snow cones featuring cream, milk and fruit in June. The newcomers hope to open a storefront in AsiaTown in the coming year. There were four “snows” to choose from: milk, taro, coffee and green tea. I chose the green tea and ordered the mochi at their urging as well as strawberries and then IMAG3918topped it with condensed milk and splurged for an extra topping of mango whipped cream. It was so worth it! Other toppings included boba (tapioca bubbles), red bean, sweet and salty cereal crunch, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi and blackberries. Dulce de Leche was the third choice for drizzle.

My friend ordered the taro snow (with a fun purple tinge), mochi, red bean and dulce de leche. She also enjoyed hers. She just lamented that the shaved ice she orders on the West Coast IMAG3920is much more plentiful, but maybe the food truck was limiting their volume. I first learned about shaved ice from her, so I defer to her judgment.

We then walked around, sampling various things like a virgin strawberry daiquiri and pomegranate soda from Pope Catering (both were delicious, but the pomegranate soda made with his homemade grenadine was divine!) and fresh coconut milk from a young coconut that was lopped open in front of me ($4) and checking out the vendors’ wares, ranging from ceramics, jewelry, stuffed animals, those cats that wave at you, essential oils and soaps. IMAG3921They even had a bar serving draft beer and Asian-inspired cocktails run by Watershed Distillery. My friend was particularly fascinated watching a vendor named Love Triangle make fresh takoyaki and onigiri, two Japanese delicacies. Unfortunately they were running low on rice and tapped out pretty early on. Other vendors included Szechuan Cafe, Flavors of India, Emperor’s Palace, Koko Bakery, Asian Food Co., Asian Grill, Siam Cafe, Mitchell’s Ice IMAG3926Cream, Fahrenheit and Wok and Roll – just to name a few. Their website has a full list of all the vendors.

I grabbed a bahn mi ($5) from Pho Thang Cafe and a fried rice and egg roll combo ($4) from an unnamed street vendor to go for later. One organizer-related vendor also offered to-go food kits for $20 so you can make monthly traditional Asian recipe at home. This month it was pork lo mein. I ran into a couple more friends on the way out and stood a while chatting while they all nibbled on kabobs and pot stickers. I was glad I got there early because I got my pick of food, but I am tempted to come after dark next time to experience the magic of the true night market. It must have also gotten crazy tonight, because the Critical Mass Bike Ride was scheduled to end there. I remember being stuck in traffic in Lakewood and Gordon Square because of the ride last year. The next Night Market is on August 28th, and the last one for the season will be September 25th. Be sure to check it out!


Marta’s European-American Food in Euclid

July 31, 2015

entranceMarta’s is a tiny hole in the wall serving up good, homemade Czech food as well as Czech beer on tap since 1995. When I say tiny I mean tiny. There are maybe eight or ten tables in here and one wall is taken up by the bar. This is a local tavern in addition to serving up some great food.

The menu features some American sandwiches as well as most Czech standards with your choice of the traditionalbar bread dumplings or (more typically Austrian or Hungarian) Spaetzle. Other Eastern European favorites such as Wiener Schnitzel, pierogis, beef goulash, and chicken paprikash are standouts as well. All of the Czech dinners come with dinner rolls and your choice of tossed salad or soup. If you like tripe soup you can order it here. Marta’s also serves hamburgers, salads and sandwiches, and I’m sure they are very good as well. I just can’t bring myself to ordesvickovar anything but Czech food when I come here.

If you are very lucky Svíčková will be offered as a special that day. Svíčková, or svíčková na smetaně (beef sirloin in cream sauce), is a typical and and popular Czech dish. It is marinated sirloin prepared with vegetables (carrots, parsley root, celeriac and onion), spiced with black pepper, allspice, bay leaf and thyme, and boiled with double cream. It is generally served with houskové knedlíky (bread dumplings) and cranberry sauce. I LOVE Svíčková. If you like creamy dishes, ochick_papnce you try it I guarantee you will be hooked.

Marta’s chicken paprikash is also equally delicious. The chicken is tender and falls apart with your fork. The paprikash sauce is delicious. My date loved it. He ordered the spaetzle instead of the bread dumplings. The spaetzle were obviously homemade based on their irregular, inconsistent shape. They were perfectly schnitzcooked and light.

The Wiener Schnitzel was a very popular choice with several of my dining companions. The Schnitzel was pounded thin and lightly fried. A squeeze of the accompanying lemon slice is all you need to enjoy this authentic Wiener Schnitzel.

stuffcab_kartoffelpuffer_specialAnother friend ordered the stuffed cabbage and potato pancakes, which were also a special that night. You can barely see the stuffed cabbage peaking out from behind the potato pancakes. The stuffed cabbage was a hit and the potato pancakes were not overly greasy. They soaked up the stuffed cabbage sauce nicely.

Marta’s Fish Fry on Fridays is also quite popular. Marta’s is open for business Monday to Thursday from 4 pm to 9 pm, Friday 4 pm to 10 pm and palacinkaSaturday 4 pm to 10 pm.

For dessert I highly recommend ordering the Palacinka, which is a crepe with fresh fruit filling and whipped cream. It is a light and perfect ending to a heavy meal. It is also a nice dessert to share, so save your forks. Marta’s also serves apple, cherry or cheese strudel and vanilla ice cream. One of these days I am going to see if they would be willing to combine the offerings and make my all-time favorite dessert – Eispalatschinken, which is palacinka filled with vanilla ice cream instead of fruit filling. I ate this for the first time 25 years ago and went back to the restaurant 10 years later and enjoyed it again.

Contact info:

Marta’s European-American Food
800 East 222nd Street
Euclid, Ohio 44123

Gigi’s on Fairmount

July 22, 2015

IMAG3524Gigi’s on Fairmount opened in December 2013 and has been such a hit that it has already expanded and opened Gigi’s After Dark. That said, it is still tiny, although the patio in the summer helps somewhat. It only seats about 45 people. It is located in the same little shopping strip as On The Rise Bakery. It used to be a flower shop, and the owners put a lot of time and money into installing a kitchen and making the dining area appealing. IMG_0438The decor is cozy and intimate with crystal chandeliers and small tables, and it reminds me of a little French bistro. The food is fresh and unique, and the waitstaff is friendly and welcoming. They also have one of the best bartenders in Cleveland, although I have only come here during the day for lunch because it tends to get crowded at night. I’m thrilled that they are so successful.

On my first visit I ordered a soup and a panini. The soup of the day was a potato chowder IMAG0680that was out of this world delicious. It was creamy with nice chunks of potato and perfectly seasoned. It warmed me up and made me hungry for more. I seem to be drawn to the same thing, because the second time I went I almost ordered the exact same sandwich. I ordered the turkey panini with brie, apples, and fig chutney. The turkey is house brined and roasted and was really succulent. It paired really well with the brie, apples, and fig chutney and was a taste explosion. The panini was not under or overcooked, and the bIMAG0681rie was sufficiently melted to mix with everything else. I loved it.

During my second visit I decided to order their signature bruschetta board. After going back and forth I finally decided on the brie and apple compote, smoked salmon and boursin with capers, trout pate with radish and crumbled egg, and the mushroom and caramelized onions. I loved all four,IMG_0444 but my absolute favorites were the smoked salmon and the mushroom bruschetta. I also love the idea of the trout pate, but it was more chunks of trout than smooth, creamy pate. You don’t see many places serving trout. The bread was not toasted, but it stood up well to the toppings. The salad was IMG_0440lightly dressed with a light oil and vinegar dressing, and was well-executed if a little bland. It wasn’t anything special (just lettuce and dressing), but it was a nice palate cleanser.

I also ordered a soup to warm up with, choosing the roasted red pepper soup. Despite not being a big fan of roasted red peppers I liked it. IMG_0441It was drizzled with a balsamic vinegar that lent the soup a really nice flavor. The only thing I didn’t like was that I dripped all over myself and left with huge red splotches on my shirt. I had to do laundry before it set. But that’s just me :-)

My friend, who is a vegetarian, was thrilled to see so many vegetarian choices. All three soups that day were vegetarian. She ordered the Charline panini, which features avocado and sharp cheddar, and enjoyed it. My friend lived on the edge and ordered a light and fruity wine to go with her lunch at 11 a.m. Day drinking is where it is at. She let me have a sip and it was really nice. I would definitely order it a little later in the day to pair with the delicious offerings.

If you haven’t been to Gigi’s yet, what are you waiting for?

Contact info:

Gigi’s on Fairmount
3477 Fairmount Boulevard
Cleveland Heights, OH
(216) 291-7237

Anatolia Cafe

July 14, 2015

IMAG3528I used to come to Anatolia Cafe for dinner even before I moved to Cleveland Heights. The food is fresh and can’t be beat. I have arranged some Meetups here in the past, and the staff is always accommodating with a large group. Now that I live in the neighborhoodIMAG2159 I just pop over here on a whim. The patio is great in the spring, summer, and fall.

I tend to order the apple tea when I am here. It isn’t as “appley” as the Turkish apple tea I am used to from Europe, but it is still quite refreshing. IMAG2163Their cocktails are also quite nice and very affordable during Happy Hour (Monday-Friday from 5-7 PM). The happy hour features half off select “small bites,” select $2.50-5.00 beers, $4 house wines, $5 select mixed drinks. Happy hour pricing is only good in the bar. I had the Sour Cherry Delight cocktail the last time I was here, and it was really good. It features tequila, sour cherry juice, and lime juice.

The wait staff greets every table with fresh, warm pita bread. It is delicious and pairs really well with several appetizers, such as the hummus, IMAG2162baba ganoush, lebni, and tabouli. I love the hummus here. It is really smooth and creamy. The Turkish feta cheese with olives is especially tantalizing and beautifully arranged. The red lentil soup is quite nice as well. If you can’t decide and are with several people, the appetizer platter offers a wideIMAG2166 selection of choices and comes in two sizes.

I love several entrees here, but my heart belongs to the Chicken and Lamb Adanas. The meat is ground and mixed with red bell peppers, lightly seasoned with paprika, skewered and grilled as kebabs.

You can also order the kebabs with yogurt. They are then served over oregano-seasoned pita croutons sautéed in garlic butter, topped with a light tomato-butter sauce and a healthy dollop of fresh yogurt. This is comfort food at its best.IMAG1438

The döner is also quite good. It is a marinated mixture of lamb (95%) & beef (05%), cooked on a rotating spit, then thinly sliced. It is known as Döner in Turkey (and Germany – served on a thick pita as a sandwich),IMAG2164 Shavarma in the Middle East, and Gyro in Greece. It is served here with rice.

The shish kebabs always make me feel like I am eating healthy – just meat and rice. The meat is always well-seasoned, and I’ve never had it overcooked. This place is very gluten-friendly.

If you can’t decide on an entree you can never go wrong ordering a combination platter. You choose two or more entrees (döner, lamb adana, chicken kebab, chicken adana, lambIMAG2167 shish kebab or filet mignon shish kebab), and it comes with white rice and red cabbage. The Mixed Grill features four of Anatolia’s most popular char-grilled meats (döner, filet mignon shish kebab, lamb adana, and chicken shish kebab) for $25.

I was in the mood for eggplant last time and ordered the Stuffed Eggplant. It features oven-roasted eggplant stuffed with ground lamb, chopped tomatoes, herbs and garlic.IMAG2170 It was really delicious. It paired really well with the white rice and red cabbage.

Be sure to save room for dessert here. All of their desserts are delicious. If you want crispy, order the Baklava, Kunefe, or Kadayif. They are all made with phyllo dough. The Kadayif is shredded, mixed with walnuts, drizzled with honey syrup, and garnished with pistachios. The Kunefe is also shredded, but it is mixed with sweet white cheese and butter-honey syrup. It depends on what you are in the mood for. I am partial to the Kadayif myself. If you want soft, the Kazandibi is unique and delicious. It is not a soft. liquidy pudding as we are used to when we think of a milk pudding. Instead, it is slightly caramelized, rolled upside-down, and topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon. The Fırında Sütlaç is a rice-based dessert that features cinnamon as well.


Contact info:

Anatolia Cafe
2270 Lee Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
(216) 321-4400

Eat at Joe’s

July 7, 2015

IMAG3464I’ve been hearing about Eat at Joe’s for a few years now. Everyone said they serve amazing hash browns. I’m happy to report that the hype is true. Eat at Joe’s is a tiny little place on the side of the CVS at the corner of Mayfield and Green Roads. It is just a solid spot with no frills, good food, and a nice staff. The prices are low, and the hash browns are amazing. The menu is small but covers all the basics. Breakfast is served all day: 3-egg omelets, pancakes, French toast, and your basic variations on eggs/hash browns/breakfast meat/toast. Lunch features some sandwiches, burgers, soup and a couple salads. NIMAG3465othing is over $5.50. As I said, the place is really tiny and from what I hear it is always packed, especially on the weekends. But tables turn over quickly; this is not a place that people tend to linger. Two tips: it is only open until 2 pm, and it is cash only.

On my first visit I knew I wanted the hash browns. I wasn’t sure what else I wanted. I walked in shortly before 10 a.m. on a Friday, stood behind a gentleman, and IMAG3466waited for a seat to open up. He took a small two-top that was vacated, and then I saw there were several seats available at the counter. I grabbed the seat on the end and was immediately greeted by a server who asked what I wanted to drink. I ordered a large orange juice (for $1.50). I then looked at the menu in a little table stand and ordered a standard diner breakfast of two eggs over easy, bacon, hash browns, and rye toast. At some point a young guy came in and sat next to me and was immediately greeted by name and asked if he wanted coffee.IMAG3470 You’ve got to love a place that recognizes its regulars. Some other guy seated at a table by the kitchen, who was also obviously a regular, yelled out for a server who was too far to hear them calling for her to pick up an order. That’s camaraderie. The guy next to me got his cinnamon chip pancakes (a special) and sausage before I got my breakfast. I immediately regretted not ordering the pancakes. They smelled wonderful. Soon after my breakfast was brought out.

The eggs were perfectly cooked (so much so that I ended up wearing a few drops of egg yolk), one strip of bacon was crisp (see the almost burnt piece in the photo) while the others IMAG3514were well cooked without being too crisp, and the rye toast was small but well-buttered. The hash browns were as good as everyone says. They were crisp on one side and soft but not undercooked on the other. I was in heaven. I didn’t even ask for ketchup, which I usually do for breakfast potatoes. My bill came to $6.49. I rounded up to an even $9, because I follow Robert Fulghum’s advice and always overtip my breakfast servers. It was still a bargain.

I went back a few days later for the cinnamon chip pancakes IMAG3518and a side of sausage because it sounded so good. Once again I sat at the counter. The counter seems to be the place to be, because I got to witness an epic obnoxious customer along with my breakfast. She was arguing with the waitress over a $1 brownie because she wanted a middle piece and not an end piece. The waitress told her she couldn’t stipulate what she got, while she demanded that she could because she was the customer. They ended up giving in to her because she wouldn’t let it go. Epic. I almost wished they served popcorn. Meanwhile, the older guy on my left (greeted as a regular) was home from wintering in Florida and on his way to Cape Cod for the summer. Eat at Joe’s attracts all kinds of customers apparently.

IMAG3544In any event, the cinnamon chip pancakes were delicious and went very well with the side of sausage. They were actual cinnamon chips and not chocolate chips with cinnamon mixed in. They were lovely. You can’t see them in the photo because they were on the bottom. I ordered a coffee and a large cranberry juice. The coffee was decent, and they both hit the spot. My bill was $8.65.

I stopped in a third time to grab a quick lunch at 12:30 because I was going to be in the area on an errand. There was ample seating at the counter and a couple tables available. The turnover continued as I sat there and people-watched. I ordered an iced tea, a cup of soup, a tuna melt and a side of hash browns. I even got to choose what kind of bread (rye again). The soup that day was yellow split pea. It didn’t wow me, but it was a nice choice for a dreary day. My tuna melt and hash browns were finished super quick before I could finish my soup, and they were amazing. The cheese on the tuna melt was nice and melted, the tuna overflowed onto the plate (and paired well with a dill pickle slice), and the hash browns were as crisp as before. My bill was $12.20.

This place is definitely going on my regular rotation, and I’m going to need another tuna melt soon.

Contact info:

1473 South Green Road
South Euclid, OH 44121

Koko Bakery

June 29, 2015

IMAG3133I’ve been frequenting Koko Bakery for a while now and have written about it during my dim sum crawls, but thought it might be nice to write a separate post about it. Koko Bakery is located in a small strip on Payne Avenue with Han Kabob Chinese Grill and Map of Thailand (and across the street from Seoul Hot Pot). The storefront is quite unassuming. One wouldn’t know by looking at it that it produces some amazing food and beverages. During a recent dinner at Map of Thailand I watched the people stream by heading for Koko. IMAG3021The Case Western Reserve University students on Yelp talk about how authentic it is and how it is exactly like bakeries you would find in Taiwan. Koko offers a wide variety of choices, ranging from savory to sweet. The case to your left as you walk in features hot dogs wrapped in pastry dough and the larger case next to it contains all kinds of buns, from green onion buns, pork buns, ham and egg buns, pineapple buns, buns with cut up hot dogs to egg tartlets and custard buns. There is a cooler and a freezer filled with buns to take home and finish baking yourself. My friend from Akron always stocks up with a ton of buns when he is up here. He then takes a bun or two out of the freezer and steams them for a quick and delicious meal. They sell all kinds of breads, cookies, buns, etc. to take home with you. The green tea cookies in aIMAG0592 bookshelf on the right-hand wall near where you wait for your order caught my eye, and I am tempted to get them next time.

The cooler cases flanking the cash register feature the most beautifully decorated cakes, tarts, mousses, and tiramisu. Every single one of them that I have tried – ranging from a chocolate mousse topped with a chocolate covered strawberry to the mango and passion fruit mousses and the mango cheesecake – has been delicious. Sufficiently creamy without being cloyingly sweet, the flavors hit all the right notes. The boardIMAG3028 behind the register lists a number of rice bowls, entrees like pork katsu or steam buns, and sandwiches as well as coffee, tea, milk pudding tea, smoothies, and their most popular item, the bubble tea. Several reviewers on Yelp have claimed that Koko has the best bubble tea in Cleveland.

My first foray into the wonders of Koko started with the mango mousse. I got it to go and still have the neat container in my cupboard to use if I feel like fancying up a pudding. The mousse was light, airy and flavorful. IMAG3027This mousse was delicious and I didn’t even miss the chocolate, which desserts usually have to contain in my world. I love the artful decoration of the fresh fruit atop the mousse. It looks whimsical but adds a nice artistic touch to an already amazing dessert.

During part one of the dim sum crawl I was full and was considering just ordering a chocolate covered strawberry until the chocolate mousse topped with a koko2chocolate covered strawberry caught my eye. The chocolate mousse was fluffy and delicious, the strawberry was perfectly ripe, and the chocolate coating was the perfect thickness to balance out the acidity of the strawberry. I also really liked the little chocolate curls adorning the sides. I ended up eating half and taking the other half home for later.

One of myIMAG3032 friends was less impressed with the passion fruit mousse. It was layered with a thick layer of white chocolate, which she doesn’t like, so it wasn’t as appreciated as it could have been. That said, the passion fruit mousse itself was absolutely delicious and she loved every bite of that part of it. Another friend ordered the triple chocolate mousse, while another ordered a green tea bun and another ordered an almond bun. Everyone walked away from Koko thoroughly impressed.

Several friends who had only eaten at the first stop of the first dim sum crawl and were IMAG3130sad that they missed such beautiful desserts wanted to try it when they saw photos, so we stopped at Koko Bakery after part two of the crawl. The couple split the mango cheesecake, which again was absolutely delicious and beautifully adorned with fresh fruit. However, it took forever to get the coffees they ordered because the people behind the counter seemed more concerned with making smoothies andIMAG3132 bubble teas for the young Asian girls who came in after us.

Meanwhile, I wanted something light after eating so many dumplings. I had noted during the previous stop that they served two different kinds of shaved ice – Taiwanese and Korean shaved ice. Since the Korean shaved ice mentioned ice cream I decided to try the Taiwanese shaved ice because I figured it would be lighter. The price includes 3 toppings of your choice, and you can add additional toppings for an additional $0.90. I stuck with 3 toppings and chose lychee, kiwi and mango. The ice is shaved, topped with fruit and then condensed milk is poured over it. It was actually really good. The fruit tasted fresh. The mango and kiwi were diced fairly small. As the ice melted down it mixed with the condensed milk. This dessert was extremely refreshing, and I can foresee myself coming here in this summer quite often to cool down.

Contact info:

Koko Bakery
3710 Payne Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 881-7600

Graffiti: A Social Kitchen

June 23, 2015

IMAG2963Graffiti: A Social Kitchen is the latest creation from chefs and brothers-in-law Brian Okin and Adam Bostwick. I recognized a few of the items on the menu from the pop-up they did at Toast last year, which I consider to be the best meal I ate last year. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Graffiti from everyone who has been there, so I organized a dinner there recently. The restaurant is located in the building where IMAG2966Reddstone used to be, so I can’t wait it is patio season.

The bar has been redone and is covered in nickles. It is a nice place to sit and enjoy some drinks and a nosh. Our group was seated in the dining room upstairs. If you have trouble with stairs be forewarned. If you really have trouble with stairs grab a table in the bar. The upstairs is really beautiful, featuring stained glass in the windows and whimsical light fixtures and artwork. I also really have to say I love the music they play. They have several channels they use, but the theme is eighties music. My kind of music. I jammed to the Cure, DepecheIMAG2967 Mode, and David Bowie to name a few while enjoying my drinks and the food.

Instead of bread they serve paper bags of flavored popcorn. The flavor varies every day. The day we were there it was a tomatillo popcorn. Another day I was there it was jalapeno cheddar. It is a fun and unique item, and makes you really thirsty. Hats off to that idea.

I have been IMAG2964on a blood orange kick recently, so I didn’t order my usual C&C drink, Stellar, and chose She’s A Woman. This was just a really delicious, refreshing drink. In fact, I’ve ordered it every time I’ve been back since.

I couldn’t decide on an appetizer, so I was very pleased to see the Graffiti Artist, which allows you to order three appetizers to share. They weren’t samples either – they were the full appetizer servings. One of my friends wanted to try the Ribs so I then decided to order the Toad in the Hole Bologna Fried Rice (because that was one of the items at Toast) and the French onion egg rolls. Luckily IMAG2968another friend ordered the Potato Skins, because that was my favorite out of the four appetizers we had.

The Ribs are corned baby backs similar to the Reuben Ribs that everyone loves at Cork and Cleaver. However, this one is a more Cleveland take on ribs, featuring shredded Napa cabbage, IMAG2970pickle slices, horseradish, and Stadium mustard. The meat fell off the bone, and the Napa cabbage and dressing the ribs sit on is really delicious.

The Bologna Fried Rice is made with Saucisson bologna Toad in the Hole, Himalayan red rice, mire poix, and soy sauce. The rice was a little dry, but I really loved the combination of egg and bologna. And no one does meat and charcuterie in Cleveland better than Saucisson.

IMAG3289The French Onion Egg Rolls taste exactly how you think they would, like French onion soup and delicious. The crispy wonton wrappers are packed with caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese and it is served with a French onion jus to dip the egg rolls in. Again, this unique twist really worked for me.

The potato skins feature crispy Russet potatoes, chorizo, goat cheese and guacamole. I really, really liked the flavor of this! The ingredients paired really well together, and the goat cheese and guac lent a nice creaminess that balanced out the chIMAG2971orizo. I will definitely be ordering this again.

For my entree I decided on the Monte Cristo. I read several Yelp reviews recommending it, and I’m glad I took their advice. This dish is a deconstructed Monte Cristo, featuring maple brined pork tenderloin, French toast, IMAG3045Mornay crema, and a raspberry mostarda. The French toast alone makes it worth ordering. It was custardy, soft and delicious. It made me want to come back to eat brunch here. I made sure to get a little bit of every ingredient with every bite, and OMG was this good. The pork was perfectly tender, and I loved the crema and raspberry flavors together with it.

My friends ordered the Graffiti Burger, the Cod and pierogi, the Burrito. They said that the IMAG3047burger and the cod were both a little dry, but they still enjoyed them. My friend N. ended up bringing half of her burrito home and looked forward to the leftovers.

The next time I went I was in the mood for something light, so I ordered the BLT Salad (left). It features iceberg lettuce wedges served with crispy pork belly, balsamic roasted tomatoes, bleu cheese crema, and a delicious buttermilk vinaigrette. The bleu cheese and buttermilk melded together to make a delicious dressing. I enjoyed this salad a lot. My friend ordered the Egg Salad (right) and was just as impressed with it.

In short, this playful and rebellious restaurant is a great addition to the Cleveland dining scene. I plan to add this into my regular rotation. It also has one of the best patios in Cleveland.


Photo from Graffiti Facebook page

Contact info:

Graffiti: A Social Kitchen
1261 W 76th St
Cleveland, OH 44102
(216) 651-6969


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