Flying Cranes Cafe is a quaint little cafe that blends American and Japanese cuisine, such as soups, sandwiches, udon, yakisoba, donburi rice bowls, and quiche. It also happens to serve up a fine bowl of ramen. Owner/chef Kayoko Irie-Frye and her husband Bill Frye opened the restaurant in November 2008.
The cafe seats 15 and is comfortably nestled among the bookshops and antique shops on Larchmere Boulevard. It is a place to come and relax with a book while you wait for your food. Things are slow here, so don’t come here if you are in a hurry. But if you want to relax for a while you will be in good hands.
Everything is made from scratch using fresh ingredients, from the soups and broths to the sandwiches and quiches.
I have been there several times since I first discovered it through a Meetup group tea. We were served a lovely tea with delicious soup, a Madeleine, a tiny quiche, small tea sandwiches, a fresh fruit cup, cookies, and a tier of delectable sweets. The quiche was divine, and I gladly had a second one. The desserts and the cookies were a huge hit with everyone. The tiramisu and the chocolate chip cookie were my particular favorites. If you are looking for something different try their lime bar. The cafe requires advanced notice for the tea, and the price was very reasonable considering all the effort that must have gone into preparing the food for us. If you are looking for something special be sure to order the blooming tea, which are tea leaves handsewn around flowers into bundles that that literally bloom as they steep. I highly recommend the green tea matcha latte (see right).
The miso soup seems to be one of their most popular dishes. The last time I was here it seemed like everyone was ordering the miso soup to eat in the cafe and to go, so I had to try it. I’m glad I did. It comes in three different sizes. The miso broth is accompanied by fresh scallions, tofu cubes and shiitake mushrooms. It was delicious. They also have a soup of the day, so be sure to check the board to see what is on offer that day.
I initially went back to try the ramen. I have been on the search for a good ramen, and the Flying Cranes serves an authentic ramen that is warm and filling. I ordered the champon ramen, which features shrimp, vegetables like shiitake mushrooms and bok choy and ramen noodles. They asked if I wanted an egg, and it was then topped with two halves of a perfectly cooked hard-boiled egg. It’s not brimming with shrimp, but when the vegetables, noodles and broth are so well done you won’t miss the shrimp. At the moment this is my favorite meal in Cleveland, surpassing pho in my heart.
There are a variety of good Japanese noodle and rice dishes. The chicken teriyaki features a house-made teriyaki sauce served over rice, sprinkled with black sesame seeds and served with a side salad with ginger dressing. It was very flavorful and filling.
I also tried the curry udon, which was the perfect choice on a blustery cold November day. The curry sauce was a thick brown sauce containing some kind of meat and vegetables. It was extremely flavorful, but the curry was not overpowering. It was served piping hot, so it was easier to slurp up the noodles once it cooled down a bit.
I am glad to have discovered this little gem so close to my home. I have since become a regular, and the owners appear to recognize me now. The prices are affordable. Soups and sandwiches run between $2-$7.50, entrees range from $7-$11. They offer Saturday and Sunday brunch for $10.00, and all of the brunches come with coffee or tea, soup and dessert. So if you are looking for a fine bowl of warmth this winter be sure to check Flying Cranes out. In the spring and summer be sure to check out their lovely garden filled with wisteria and flowers in the back. Order in the cafe and then exit and walk around the building to the left to enter. They will bring your food and beverages to you.
Flying Cranes Cafe
13006 Larchmere Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44120