Nighttown

Nighttown celebrated its 50th birthday on February 3, 2015. It is truly a Cleveland institution. Its owner, Brendan Ring, has been the bartender, general manager, and proprietor for 22 years. The food is really good, but you should definitely go when there is live music to really enjoy it.

Photo by Yelp user Steve F.

The restaurant/nightclub at the top of Cedar Hill in Cleveland Heights has been voted the #1 Jazz and Blues club in Cleveland for many years now. I’ve seen several top names here, including Manhattan Transfer, Basia, Diane Schuur, and Jane Monheit. I’ve also heard that some famous jazz folks like Wynton Marsalis and musicians like Stevie Wonder have stopped here after nearby performances for an impromptu jam session. I can’t even imagine how awesome that was. If you come here for a performance be sure to come early, because seating is first come, first served. The room is small and there really aren’t any bad seats in the place, but it allows you to relax and enjoy your meal beforehand so you can focus on the performance. If you are claustrophobic, the sound carries into the dining rooms.

Pro tip: You can take advantage of the valet parking, but there is also a parking lot behind the building with parking meters. You can access the lot from Euclid Heights Boulevard. The kitchen is open until 2 a.m. if you are looking for late night eats in the area.

The first time I went here I ordered the Private Eye Reuben, which is named after Milan Jacovich, the fictional investigator from the Les Roberts mystery series. The Reuben is only available on the lunch or brunch menus. Nighttown is mentioned in several of the books (Milan lives at what I assume is Cedar and Fairmount and often walks to Nighttown for dinner), so I was excited to check it out. I ordered it with turkey, and it came with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing and was served with French fries. If you do get it with corned beef, you should know that they make the corned beef in-house, and it is not too fatty.

Photo from Yelp user Jodi L.

I usually start my meal here with soup. Both Neal’s Famous Clam Chowder and the French Onion Soup are great choices, although I had to add salt to the clam chowder the last time I ordered it. They always come out piping hot. The Italian wedding soup was also quite lovely during my most recent visit. And I also don’t know too many restaurants that serve steamed whole artichokes. It’s served with drawn butter and lemon.

IMAG5783My absolute favorite thing on their menu is the Dublin Lawyer, which consists of lobster meat over a wild rice pilaf in a heavy cayenne butter cream sauce with mushrooms, scallions, and Irish whiskey. When I treated my parents to see Diane Schuur I suggested my father order it, and he loved it as well. Since this is my ‘happy meal’ I rarely order anything else. In fact, I have even ordered it through Delivermefood when I was in the wheelchair for a month a few years back. The lobster is always perfectly poached, and the whiskey cream sauce is a delight. Paired with a salad you have a great meal.

The Veal Meatloaf is fantastic and a great value. It comes with crème fraiche mashed potatoes, fresh vegetables and Madeira mushroom gravy. The last time I had it the veggies were green beans. The meatloaf was very rich from the addition of veal, and I saved half of it for a sandwich the next day. I loved the mashed potatoes and gravy together too.

Their Grilled Delmonico is topped with foie gras butter, served with cider braised kale and roasted fingerling potatoes and is a great choice for those of you who are gluten-free. My mother enjoyed hers without the foie gras butter since she also can’t eat dairy.

My best friend is a vegetarian. She loves the Grilled Halloumi Kebobs, which feature skewered Cyprian sheep & goat’s milk cheese, served with citrus couscous, steamed asparagus and chive oil. They also have a stuffed squash on their winter menu that she adores as well.

I’ve also been here for a private brunch for a celebration for a friend who graduated from grad school. I’ve always heard good things about their brunch, and was not disappointed. On a recent visit I got to enjoy it on the patio/”three season room.” I ordered the Brioche French Toast, which is dipped in Grand Marnier batter and served with Canadian bacon. I enjoyed it a lot. The coffee mugs crack me up. They also have a Lobster Benedict that looks good. Several of my friends IMAG5784ordered it. I only wish I had taken a picture of it. You can order the Dublin Lawyer and several other entrees at brunch as well.

The Banoffee pie is a popular dessert. I was not sure what to expect, but I had recently learned about it online and wanted to try it. It features a graham cracker crust with bananas and toffee sauce. It is drizzled with dolce de leche and has a generous dollop of banana whipped cream on top. It was so sweet and filling that I was only able to eat a few bites of it and took the other half home for later.

Contact info:

Nighttown
12387 Cedar Road
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 795-0550

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V’s Gourmet Fried Chicken and Ribs

V’s Gourmet Chicken is a tiny little take-out place in a tiny strip mall on Lakeshore Boulevard in Collinwood. It serves without a doubt the best fried chicken in Cleveland. It is take-out only, and every order is prepared fresh, so either call ahead or be prepared to wait. Luckily I live 8 miles from it so it doesn’t get cold, but even if it did the chicken would still be amazing because I’ve had it for leftovers and it stood up.

On a whim I ordered the fried zucchini and was very glad I did. The zucchini is sliced up into circles, breaded and fried. The outside is lightly breaded and crisp, while the inside has a delicious creaminess to it. I can highly recommend them.

The 3 piece fried chicken (wing, thigh and breast) is the most popular item on their menu. I can’t finish the whole 3-pc dinner at once, but it easily makes a couple of meals. The chicken breast alone was almost too big to fit into a Ziplock sandwich bag. I’ve had both the honey crisp and the seasoned breading. There are 8 breadings to choose from: Western, Mild, Honey Crisp, Seasoned, Coconut Crisp, Chipotle and Cajun. I personally like the Honey Crisp and Seasoned chicken. The chicken is crispy, juicy and perfectly seasoned.

Sometimes you don’t want to deal with the bones in fried chicken and might prefer a chicken tender. The chicken tenders are just as good as the fried chicken. They come in 5, 6, 10 or 15 pieces, and you can add a tender to any meal for $1.50 each. They offer the same seasoned breadings and 11 different dipping sauces. You can either get a 3 oz. cup for $0.75 or a 16 oz bottle for $5. The mild sauces are original BBQ, creamy honey mustard, creamy garlic, honey BBQ, honey glaze and teriyaki glaze. The spicy sauces are BBQ chipotle, creamy chipotle, berry jalapeno, creamy hot, Louisiana hot, Buffalo hot and chipotle pepper. I ordered creamy honey mustard and honey BBQ, and I preferred the creamy honey mustard. Get a couple different sauces and an even number of tenders and go to town.

The sides are hit or miss. The first time I had V’s chicken I was less than impressed with the sides. I also didn’t choose well. I’ve found over time that I do adore the coleslaw (nice and creamy with a nice jolt of horseradish). The rest are okay. The rice and greens have an Indian-like flavor profile. I’ve had it on good days and bad. When it’s good it is very good. The mashed potatoes and stuffing and gravy are okay, if a bit salty. The green beans are nothing to write home about, but I also don’t hate them. They are a nice vegetable option. I haven’t tried the JoJos (potato wedges) yet, but I hear they are great. Other choices include rice and beans, potato salad, buttered corn, baked beans and mac n cheese. I enjoy both the honey biscuit and the dinner rolls. If you want a hint of sweet order the honey biscuit. If you want a nice, soft, yeasty roll get the dinner roll.

They also offer ribs, fried fish, sandwiches, and salads, but I am all about the fried chicken.

Don’t forget about dessert! They have huge pieces of cake and cheesecake on offer. I have had the cherry cheesecake and the banana cream cheesecake. If you love banana cream you will love this cheesecake. Both cheesecakes were nice and creamy, but the banana cream cheesecake had me swooning. The cherry cheesecake topping offered a sweet contrast to the creamy cheesecake. I’m not a huge cake person, but everything always looks great.

Contact info:

V’s Gourmet Chicken
15418 Lakeshore Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44110
(216) 738-7000
Open Monday through Saturday from 11 AM to 8 PM and Sunday from 3-7 PM

Fish Fry Friday #4 – Sokolowski’s University Inn

In keeping with the idea of alternating between church fish fries and restaurant fish fries, this week we went to Sokolowski’s University Inn. Sokolowski’s is an institution here in Cleveland. As their website touts, “Located in the heart of Tremont, Sokolowski’s University Inn has been serving delicious Polish and Eastern European cuisine since 1923. Overlooking the Cuyahoga River and Cleveland skyline, this James Beard Foundation “American Classics” Award-winning restaurant is a must-visit for locals and visitors alike. As Cleveland’s oldest owned and family operated restaurant, loyal customers line up time and time again to eat their favorite homemade dishes.”

And line up they do. We got there at 5:30 and the line extended all the way to the back of the building. Luckily I figured it would be bad and we entered using the door where the line started (the door is in the center of the above photo – it kind of looks like a chimney from here). My friend and I chatted with each other and with the folks around us. One older lady (she must have been 80 years old) was a total hoot, talking about marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and trying to convince me to give Dyngus Day a visit. Her husband, who she had been with for 60 years, is a die-hard Indians fan and was flying to Arizona the next day to watch them train.

We finally found ourselves under the Smacznego sign at 6:15. We grabbed silverware, napkins and a tray and started sliding down the line. The desserts were tempting, but I knew I wouldn’t have room. I grabbed a Sprecher’s Orange Dream soda from the bin and continued on my way to the steam trays. My friend and I decided to get a Lake Erie perch dinner and a grilled rainbow trout and were going to share them. Once we got to the steam trays and saw the gorgeous beer battered cod we quickly changed our mind. We quickly had to decide which one not to order. I ordered the cod, and when they brought out fresh fried perch the decision was made really quickly. I grabbed a dinner roll and my plate of food (beer battered cod with pierogi and corn), loaded up on butter and sour cream, and paid my bill at the cash register. We told the guy carrying our trays how many people would be in our party, and he accompanied us to a table. My friend headed to the bar for a beer, while I headed to the salad bar.

After eating at Sokolowski’s so often I know my limits. I enjoyed my dinner roll, a salad loaded with fresh vegetables, cucumber salad, macaroni salad and cole slaw, and half of my meal. I packed up the other half to enjoy later. I had one piece of perch and one piece of cod. Both were moist and flaky. Absolutely fried to perfection. I can say without a doubt they were the best pieces of fish I’ve had all season. The pierogi were soft and pillowy potato goodness swimming in butter and onions. They were also the reason we were there. One of my friends had never had pierogi until Lent last year at Prosperity Social Club, and he was not that impressed with pierogi. I told him he had to try Sokolowski’s since they were probably the best in the city. He had one from his wife’s plates and enjoyed it more than the one last year. He had ordered the salmon as well as sweet potato mash, which he declared was “too sweet,” and roasted potatoes. He appeared to enjoy the salmon and roasted potatoes a lot, but left the sweet potato. His wife had the perch and pierogi. It was their first time at Sokolowski’s, and they were heading out to Pittsburgh for the weekend so they didn’t linger. Her verdict was “The pierogies were worth the trip!”

My friend who ordered the perch with me also enjoyed both the perch and cod. She loaded both up with lots of lemon juice. She peppered up the mashed potatoes and also thoroughly enjoyed the pierogi. We both knew what to expect and enjoyed our meals.

Two more of my fellow diners arrived late and were seated with us after I explained by text where we were sitting. They had never been there before either and didn’t know what to expect. They were surprised to see such a long line, but they took it in stride. In addition to giving her a few dining recommendations, one of guys in line with them recommended she get the Salisbury steak, so she did. It did look pretty amazing, and even though she had made meatloaf the day before she enjoyed it very much. She got the full-on carb experience – Salisbury steak, pierogi, cabbage and noodles and rice pudding. Right on! Apparently the rice pudding was a mix of rice and bread? Her friend ordered the lamb chops, which the food runner called “little steaks” along with the pierogi. She said they were good. We got a chuckle out of the mint jelly, which I had thought was green Jell-o. They both got boxes as well – and my one friend got a meal to go for her son – complete with a to go box for the salad bar for him (which you can see in the photo to the right).

Everyone left fat and happy, having enjoyed their meals. I don’t know if I would go for dinner again on a Friday during Lent (because they serve their fish specials every Friday throughout the year), but the line moved slow enough that there were always a few empty tables available. When we left around 7:30 the line had died down considerably (extending up the stairs but not through the dining room) and there were more available tables. They had run out of scrod by 6:30 though, so it pays to get there earlier rather than later.

Contact info:

Sokolowski’s University Inn
1201 University Rd
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 771-9236

The Best Bites of 2017

It was quite a year. I started experimenting with sous vide. If you are unfamiliar with sous video, it cooks food that is sealed in air tight bags with an immersion cooker in a water bath. I made ribs, steak, chicken breasts (grilled and as fried chicken), and an amazing garlic-rubbed skirt steak with scallion vinaigrette from the Mozza at Home cookbook, but my absolute favorite meal was a sous vide lobster roll with homemade JoJo potatoes. Although that skirt steak absolutely rocked! I also made creme brulee for Thanksgiving this year using sous vide and a kitchen torch. It was fun! I also learned how to make pierogi and gyoza and ramen at the Western Reserve School of Cooking. But I don’t talk about the food I make here. Onto my favorite bites from Cleveland this year…

I hit a bunch of fish fries and pancake breakfasts. I also ate 40 Days of Sandwiches for Lent. I’ve got to be honest – it was really hard. As Crystal from EatDrinkCleveland remarked, it felt like I was doing 40 Years of Sandwiches. I ate at Crust for the first time. They have some good subs. Some were better than others, and a couple of days I didn’t eat a sandwich for one reason or another. I only threw out one sandwich. I have to say my favorite sandwich (and the one I keep thinking about) was the Green Goddess from Byte Cafe on Superior (see above). It features fresh avocado, goat cheese, basil pesto, arugula, balsamic reduction, roasted walnuts, and salt&pepper on multigrain bread. My photo does not do it justice, so I am using one from Trip Advisor.

After seeing photos from Pranzo Bistro in Willoughby for months on the All Things Food in Cleveland page on Facebook I managed to get a bunch of friends together to check it out. It was a snowy night, but the meal made it absolutely worth the white-knuckle drive. I started off splitting a burrata with asparagus, ordered the Italian wedding soup, and then had an amazing lobster pappardelle. The pappardelle featured homemade noodles, langustino meat, and lobster tail in a cream sauce dressed with fresh arugula. My photo is literally the world’s darkest photo, so I borrowed this one from Corinne D. on Yelp.

I started the year off with a new addiction – the chicken noodle soup at Red Chimney. Someone posted a photo of it, and I could not stop thinking about it. I now get it every time I go there. It is packed with noodles and chunks of chicken, and the broth is super flavorful. Paired with a soft dinner roll or their homemade rye bread you’ve got the perfect meal. Tip: if you go be sure to bring cash! They don’t accept credit cards.

Mason’s Creamery has become a favorite stop this year. They have such playful flavors. I would be hard picked to choose a favorite between their Tang sorbet, Jelly bean sorbet, Oatmeal cream pie, Fried ice cream, and Thai tea ice cream. I usually just stuck with scoops in a cup, but then I finally tried the egg waffle. This egg waffle with Ceylon cinnamon and cafe con leche with Nutella whipped cream really blew me away. I mean, come on, Nutella whipped cream? Amazing! I had taken out-of-town friends here after dinner at Citizen Pie, and they raved about their choices as well.

My friend Nancy invited me to Rosh Hashana this year, and her brisket blew me away. It was so simple, but had such great flavor. She roasted Wagyu brisket from Mister Brisket over San Marzano tomatoes and onions and then pureed them to make a gravy. The entire dinner was divine (I have also started eating apples with honey because of this meal), but this brisket melted in my mouth.

Hatfield’s Goode Grub started out as a food truck and now has a brick and mortar restaurant in Kamm’s Corners. My friends and I met for breakfast back in September, because I saw a photo of a coffee with sprinkles. The coffee was overpowered by the berry syrup (and not in a good way), but this Shrooms and Swiss omelette was a great start to the weekend. It had so much flavor. They are turning out some amazing food at Hatfield’s Goode Grub. Be sure to check it out!

We celebrated my birthday at Boiling Seafood Crawfish. They serve boiled seafood with potato and corn and whatever seasoning you choose in a bag. It’s just messy fun. They give you bibs and plastic gloves, but don’t dress up. You will be covered with messy goodness by the time you are done no matter how careful you are. I built my own and ordered the crab legs and lobster tail. Look at the size of my lobster tail! I treated myself to a slice of Corbo’s Cassata Cake earlier in the day, so it was one of the best days of the year.

My mother and I road tripped to Seabrook Island, South Carolina for the total solar eclipse. I got to experience the eclipse on a beach with a tequila sunrise and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. There were worse ways to spend the day. After a day in the heat we wanted something cool and light. I had brought a sugar kiss melon from Heinen’s down with me because it was about to turn. Mom bought a prepared shrimp salad at Harris Teeter to pair with it along with a steamed lobster tail and some garlic broccoli. It was simple but absolutely succulent.

Tommy’s on Coventry got a little press this year when they shipped a milkshake to a dying woman in Maryland. I was so touched by the story I met friends several times for milkshakes. My usual favorite is banana, but I tried peach as well. I’ve gotta say… I’ve never had a bad milkshake at Tommy’s. I like supporting good people who are compassionate.

After seeing a video of an ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwich posted by someone I follow I had to have it. The grilled cheese was from the Rowley Inn. The Rowley Inn is a dive bar near The Christmas Story House. They recently invited some Cleveland bloggers to a media night, so you might have heard of it from one of them. Anyway, the grilled cheese was really, really good, but I was absolutely blown away by the fries. Such a simple meal, and yet so good! They make their grilled cheese with smoked Gouda and a mozzarella and provolone blend with mayonnaise. I’d never had mayonnaise on a grilled cheese before, but I liked it a lot. It didn’t hurt that I paired the meal with a hard orange soda. It was like meal from childhood, but not.

My friends and I enjoyed a perfect summer evening on the patio of EDWINS in July. After finishing a huge translation I decided to treat myself to Le Burger, which they prepare table-side, and then continued the table-side service with Cherries Jubilee. I loved everything I ate that night – including the broccoli, but the thing that absolutely wowed me was a bite of my friend’s creme brulee. It was the best creme brulee I’ve ever had.

If you asked anyone who ate at Salt+ this year what their favorite thing they ate they are going to tell you it was these duck meatballs. We went for the squid ink paella, but the duck meatballs blew everyone away. I can’t even begin to describe them. The meatballs were savory and peppery, yet light as a feather. The pasta was a perfect al dente. A very welcome plate! I hope they bring it back this year.

This Valrhona dark chocolate brownie topped with housemade blueberry gelato, candied violets and dark chocolate granite paired with Buffalo Bill’s Blueberry Oatmeal Stout was my favorite course at one of many chocolate tastings at Lilly Handmade Chocolates. Each tasting is unique – whether it is Berries and Chocolate, Mead and Mousse, or Deep Dark Reds, champagne, or just various beers. Amanda has a great palate and really knows how to pair things to bring out the best in each.

My list cannot be complete without mentioning my favorite meal in Cleveland – Empress Taytu‘s Chicken Tibs with a side of Tikil Gomen. With several Ethiopian restaurants opening up here in Cleveland recently I still have to say I prefer Empress Taytu (note: I haven’t been to Lucy’s yet). Every once in a while I have a bad day and treat myself to a nice dinner there. It’s my comfort food, and you can’t beat the injera!

Lilly Handmade Chocolates

Lilly Handmade Chocolates is worth mentioning here, because it is a great Cleveland destination. When I was at the last event the woman sitting across from me was here from Detroit for a weekend trip on her own to explore. A Google search led her to Lilly’s bubbles and chocolate tasting. Lilly Handmade Chocolates offers great handmade chocolates and does amazing pairings with its chocolates and beer, wine, champagne or cheese. They bill themselves as “chocolatiers that specialize in pairing craft beer & fine wine with our delicious hand made chocolates, both sweet and savory inspired!”

The chocolates here are expensive, but they are handcrafted and so worth it. You will savor every bite. You will pay $2.25 each for a piece of chocolate and can buy a box of 6 for $13 and 12 for $25. Each one packs a tasty wallop, whether it’s rich Valrhona chocolate or fine Swiss white chocolate featuring cinnamon, lime, hazelnut, bourbon or passion fruit. I am not normally a fan of white chocolates, but the Frou-Frou and Maui Wowie truffles are among my absolute favorites. You can buy their chocolate in truffle, bar, bark and seasonal forms. The truffles are gorgeous – each with a distinctive hand-painted decoration. Some of the truffles are mainstays, but some change at whim or with the season. When it comes to seasonal chocolate, their Dreamsicle Bark is the stuff of dreams in the summer and their drinking chocolate has a spicy kick to it that will warm you up in the winter.

They also have a liquor license now, so they can offer cocktails with their chocolates. I can recommend the Fruit Cocktail. It tastes just like a fruit cup. And who doesn’t enjoy a boozy ice cream float even in the winter? You can check out their cocktail menu here.

I started coming here to buy the chocolates, but I am now the Mayor on Swarm because of their special events. Amanda and Josh and all of their employees are super friendly and welcoming, and Amanda has one of the best palates I have ever seen in action. She can bring out flavors in beer or wine that pair perfectly with her amazing chocolates or mousse. OMG, the mousse! I have been there for the beer and mousse tasting, beer and chocolate pairings during Beer Week, beer, cheese and chocolate pairings, deep dark chocolates and deep dark reds pairing, and their anniversary mousse. I have never left disappointed or unhappy.

The wine or beer distributors are sometimes here to explain their product, and sometimes Amanda announces what we are about to eat and drink and why she chose what she did. She always explains that you should take a sip of the beverage and then nibble the chocolate to experience the pairing taste sensation. The products are usually available for purchase after the event. I have been turned on to some great wines and beers because of these events.

I usually can find a parking spot in front of the store, but if no spots are available there is a big parking lot behind the building. So whether you are looking for a special gift or a special night out, be sure to keep Lilly Handmade Chocolates in mind!

Contact info:

Lilly Handmade Chocolates
761 Starkweather Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
(Tremont)
(216) 771-3333

Mason’s Creamery

Mason’s Creamery opened in 2015 and has quickly become a favorite ice cream spot for me. They started out making ice cream at local farmer’s markets. Located on Bridge Avenue and W. 44th Street, Mason’s is a small, local business serving high-quality ice cream in all kinds of adventurous flavors. The flavors are constantly changing, so it’s always fun to go and try new things. They are always trying new flavors and are open to suggestions. There are always 16 flavors available, five of which are usually vegan or dairy free. At a place like this it’s worth venturing out of your comfort zone to try the taro, red bean, black sesame, matcha or the chai tea latte ice cream. My absolute favorite so far has been the fried ice cream, but their sorbets are also intriguing (and vegan if you like that sort of thing). They allow you to sample the flavors before you order. They also serve vegan soft serve on Sundays. In addition to scoops in a cup (2 for $4 or 3 for $5.50), you can order your ice cream or sorbet in a waffle cone, with a churro (with or without dipping chocolate), as an iced cream sandwich between warm, fresh cookies or Coquette Patisserie macarons, or nestled in a fluffy egg waffle. They make everything there fresh.

I am usually boring and prefer my ice cream scooped in a cup. It may be austere, but their ice cream is never boring. I’ve enjoyed the Tang sorbet, fried ice cream, Vietnamese coffee, Ceylon Cinnamon, Matcha, Cafe con Leche, Thai iced tea… I could go on. When I had the Tang sorbet I regretted not ordering it with the Thai ice tea because that would have been an amazing dreamsicle-like creation.

I had been wanting to try the egg waffle and I am so glad I finally did, because it is absolutely delicious. It is a great accompaniment to the creamier flavors, and you can imagine my surprise when I was then asked if I wanted regular whipped cream, peanut butter whipped cream or Nutella whipped cream. What? My friends also ordered egg waffles and raved about them. One went with the French toast and is now a HUGE fan, and the other ordered the salted caramel and loved it. I opted for Ceylon Cinnamon and Thai ice tea with IMG_20180318_141949Nutella whipped cream. Go big or go home, right?

Pay attention to your spoon. It changes color when it hits the ice cream (you can see it in the photo of the sorbet above). My friend freaked out tonight when I pointed it out and his boring white spoon then turned pink. I love that.

If that isn’t enough, they occasionally do Ramen Nights where they make big pots of ramen and serve it to long lines of ramen enthusiasts until they run out. I have yet to make it to one, but it is on my list of things to do.

Contact info:

Mason’s Creamery
4401 Bridge Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113
216) 245-8942

Mister Brisket

Mr. Brisket is the place to go in the Heights for all things meat. This butcher shop and deli is located on Taylor Road just south of Cedar Road and has been around since 1973. It is known among those in the know as one of the best butcher shops and delis around. They sell high-end USDA prime beef, veal, lamb, pork, poultry and seafood as well as some outstanding deli meats and sandwiches. They are particularly known for their pastrami, corned beef, and (obviously) brisket as well as their Jewish delicacies like chopped liver, knishes, and potato pancakes. Some consider the pastrami to be the best in the city.

The place has zero ambiance and no seating. It’s carry-out only. Don’t let its looks deceive you. Everyone raves that the corned beef sandwiches are better than Jack’s Deli or Corky and Lenny’s.

When I am in the mood for a sandwich I pop down to Mister Brisket. If I’m lucky I can get a parking space on the street, but most of the time I have to park across the street at the shopping center and cross the street. I’ve had several of their sandwiches. The sandwiches are loaded with meat and come with a pickle. You can also purchase sides of cole slaw, macaroni or potato salad, chips, cookies, brownies, and cans of soda. You can buy single sandwiches or a boxed lunch. The large boxed lunch features a large sandwich, potato salad or cole slaw, cookie, pickle spear, napkin, beverage and utensils for $12.95. The smaller boxed lunch comes with a smaller sandwich, chips, cookie, pickle spear, napkin, beverage and utensils for $9.95. It’s a good deal and is usually what I choose and a large side of potato salad or mac salad.

My first time I had to order the Reuben even though I don’t like corned beef. The meat was moist and lean. Not grisly or salty. They were light on the Swiss, as a proper Reuben should be. The Thousand Island dressing was a creamy accompaniment. The bread was nothing to write home about, but it was very tasty and soft. It was a proper rye bread – none of that marbled stuff. They also have great pickle spears that accompany the sandwiches.

All of the sandwiches can be toasted upon request. They offer a choice of Swiss, American, provolone or pepper jack, Stadium, yellow or spicy mustard, mayo, a spicy mayo called Tiger Sauce, horseradish, Thousand Island, BBQ sauce and hot sauce. You can choose rye, wheat or a bun.

I love the look of the Charles Barr, which features corned beef and pastrami on rye with Swiss and yellow mustard, but since I’m not a huge fan of either meat I stick with the brisket, turkey and roast beef. The Duke is even more impressive, with layers of corned beef, turkey, salami and brisket with Swiss cheese. It’s over one pound of sandwich. The photo of the Duke (below left) is from the Mister Brisket web site, since there is no way I could eat one when I usually can only eat half a sandwich and save the other half for later.

The only thing I haven’t enjoyed from there was their matzo ball soup. The broth and matzo balls come frozen, and that does them no favors. The broth was extremely salty and tasted like it was straight chicken stock (no carrots, no parsley, etc.). The matzo balls were mealy. It might have been a fluke, but I won’t be buying it again. I ended up throwing it all out, which about killed me because I love matzo ball soup.

You can also order special order cuts of meat. I deliver Meals on Wheels, and the volunteer appreciation dinner serves Mister Brisket BBQ brisket. You can bring it back to the store after you’ve prepared it and they’ll even slice it for you (properly – against the grain for brisket). It’s all part of the service. One of my Jewish friends is ordering her fish and brisket here for Rosh Hashanah next week. The store also carries special products like roasted turkey and roasted chicken for people to purchase for the holidays.

They are closed on Sundays and Mondays, and offer a special on Tuesdays featuring $1 off any large sandwich. They are only open until 4:00 Tuesday through Thursday, 5:00 on Friday, and 3:00 on Saturdays.

They are good people. They also takes donations to send kosher salamis to the troops. The store charges $20 for a shipment of salami to the troops, and it can be sent virtually anywhere, even to service members who are posted on aircraft carriers and other ships. They also accept donations to the cause. This is the kind of place I like to support.

Contact info:

Mister Brisket
2156 South Taylor Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
(216) 932-8620