Kouign Amann at The Fluffy Duck Cafe

March 24, 2017

I had never heard of Kouign Amann until about six months ago when someone in one of the food groups I am in asked if anyone was making them in Cleveland. No one was. The closest bakery seemed to be in Pittsburgh. Well, we have one now at a delightful coffee shop on Chester Avenue across from the Cleveland Clinic.

The Fluffy Duck Cafe opened in December 2016. It is located on the ground floor of the Innova building across from the construction that will be the Cleveland Clinic’s Health Education Building. I had watched the building go up for a while now and was curious who the tenants would be. I first heard about the Fluffy Duck when Chef Doug Katz raved about it right after it opened. I should have known it would stand up to the expectations. I delivered my translations early this morning and could use a jolt of caffeine for the next one, so I decided to treat myself to a nice coffee and pastry. When I saw they were serving a Kouign Amann I knew what I was going to order, since I’ve been wanting to try it.

I love the format of the Fluffy Duck Cafe. All of the windows gave the cafe a bright and sunny feeling. The clean white walls and clean lines of the wooden tables and chairs and those lining the windows gave it a modern feel (you can see the tables reflected off the bakery case in the third picture). They offer free wifi, so I can see myself coming here with my laptop to translate when I need a change of scenery. The open kitchen allows you to watch the staff busy rolling out dough and making the pastries. The baker had a container full of eggs when I was ordering, and she was turning them into dough.

I wanted a coffee and checked out the list of available coffees. I was leaning towards a cappucino until the flavored lattes caught my eye. I was immediately intrigued by the orange cardamom latte. They use local whole milk and good quality coffee beans from a roaster in Grand Rapids. It is a fine cup of coffee.

I was given a plate with my Kouign Amann, and the barista whipped up my latte, complete with delightful milk foam art. I carefully carried my plates to a table and looked forward to biting in. They had been holding a Coffee with a Cop event, so when the police officer saw what I ordered he raved about his and told me what a delight it was. As he explained, it is flaky and sweet and then you hit a bit of salt. He told me I would enjoy it, and I did. I also enjoyed chatting with him as he was on his way out.

Let me tell you, he was right. I don’t know how it compares with other Kouign Amanns since it was my first one, but this one was delicious. Light and flaky with a nice crumb to it, the caramelized topping with a hit of salt really made an enjoyable pastry. I will definitely be back. The ham and cheese croissants and almond croissants also intrigue me. The menu is limited to pastries and a few lunch-type items after 11 a.m., but what they do offer they do well.

The list of flavored lattes and teas sounded nice, and I believe they might change them out since the menu is a piece of paper on a clipboard instead of a hanging board. They also offer pour overs with three weekly offerings.

So if you are looking for a nice little respite or you have been looking for a Kouign Amann in Cleveland, you need to check it out.

Contact info:

The Fluffy Duck Cafe
10001 Chester Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106

Fish Fry Friday #3 – El Carnicero

March 19, 2017

In keeping with my decision to eat at three church fish fries and three restaurant fish fries, this week a restaurant fish fry was on the docket. My original decision was to go to Sachsenheim Hall for their fish fry, but St. Patrick’s Day threw a wrench in my plans. They were not serving fish on Friday, but instead were doing an Irish buffet. One thing most people don’t know about me is that I hate corned beef. I can stomach it in a Reuben, but I also only eat a Reuben once every five years or so. Corned beef and boiled cabbage, carrots and potatoes? Gag me with a pitchfork. An Irish buffet was not going to be my focus.

I had wanted to try the fish fry at El Carnicero from the moment one of the members of All Things Food in Cleveland posted a photo ad for it in the group. It just looked amazing. I have tried three times to get to El Carnicero, but something has always come up to thwart my plans to organize something for my dining out group. The first time it was closed for a staff holiday party, the second time I was sick and the group went without me, and I think I was out of town for the third time my friends went. When Sachsenheim fell through I focused on El Carnicero, which is also on the west side. Apparently El Carcinero sometimes closes on St. Patrick’s Day, but luckily my friend Nancy ran into Chef/Owner Eric Williams, who assured her they would be open and would be serving their fish fry.

You wouldn’t think a Mexican restaurant would be a good choice, but it really was! They serve Dos Equis beer battered lake perch and also spice things up with a chipotle tartar sauce and chimichurri-drizzled French fries. I was very excited about the prospect. I wasn’t going to let a little snow and ice deter me this time.

After wending my way past a car accident on I-90 that closed three lanes of traffic, I showed up about ten minutes after our agreed upon meeting time. I was thrilled to see that the restaurant has a very large parking lot behind it. I got one of the last spots in the lot and trudged through the sloppy, wintry mess. Even though El Carnicero does not take reservations Chef Eric had been more than happy to reserve a table of four for us. It turns out it wasn’t necessary, since there were quite a few tables available. Thanks, St. Patrick’s Day! It isn’t usually the case in this very popular eatery. The bar had some revelers, but it was a really good vibe overall. Our waitress was wearing green lipstick, which I thought was awesome. My friends already had their drinks, since they passed the accident right after it happened, while traffic was practically at a standstill when I got there. I was going to order a blood orange margarita until Edsel’s regular margarita arrived with its bright green color in honor of the holiday. To make things even more difficult Edsel highly recommended the hibiscus flower margarita. What was a girl to do? Why, order the margarita sampler and enjoy all three! They were all delicious, but I loved the blood orange the best, with the hibiscus coming a very close second. El Carnicero definitely serves some delicious margaritas! Slainte!

We ordered a few appetizers to share. I chose the smoked gouda queso dip,IMG_20170317_191533 Edsel ordered the sikil pak (toasted and ground pepita mixed with lime and chile jalapeño – as he explained “kind of like a hummus but made with pepita”), and Nancy (and the rest of us) wanted guacamole. It was a tough decision as to which guac to order, but we went with the tradicional. I would like to go back and order a sampler to try a few of the others as well. Next time. I loved all three appetizers, but I was really pleased with the queso dip. I kept dripping it on myself even though I tried everything to ensure I didn’t, but that’s just how I roll. It’s a gift.

All four of us ordered the fish fry. We can go back and order tamales, taquitos, etc. next time. We were all really glad we ordered the fish. The beer batter casing was perfectly cooked, not too crisp and not too soggy. The fish was light and flaky and almost melted in our mouths. It was the best piece of fish I’ve had in a while. I also loved the chimichurri French fries. The fries were shoestring, which get cold easily. Nancy thought hers were too cold and had a fresh batch delivered from the kitchen. I didn’t come for the fries, so I wasn’t as concerned. I really enjoyed the chimichurri sauce, which was fresh and light. I was craving it again once I left. Luckily I had to ask for a box and had the other half as leftovers.

Edsel ordered the brussel sprouts as a side, which I found to be very lemony but nicely roasted. Being a sucker for creamed corn I ordered the esquite (achiote creamed corn) and polished it off. It had a nice zing to it and had some heft to it that I think might have been potatoes.

After a delicious meal from start to finish, we left El Carnicero very happy and ventured our way back to the highway to head home in the snow. It was a nice way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Contact info:

El Carnicero
16918 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 226-3415El Carnicero

Fish Fry Friday #2 – St. Gabriel’s

March 11, 2017

My favorite fish fry in the Cleveland area is without a doubt St. Gabriel’s in Mentor. It runs from 5:15 to 7:30 every Friday during Lent. Located in its school building on Johnnycake Road near the Concord border, it is a bit of a hike, but it is so worth it. There is a sign indicating the entrance. Plan to walk far from and to your car, but there is plenty of parking (even with douchebags taking up two parking spots). It is run by over 100 volunteers each night, including adorable tykes in Boy Scout uniforms manning the roving garbage cans, and all proceeds benefit the St. Gabriel’s Day School Tuition Assistance Program.

It is extremely popular, so you need to get there early to ensure you get served and can enjoy all the goodness. Some friends went last week at 7 PM and were turned away because they had run out of food. This all-you-can-eat feast will run you $14. They also offer take-out and ala carte items. Click on the link below under “Contact info” for the Fish Fry page on the church website. There are two dining rooms – the main dining room has a shorter line between the cash table and the food, so we chose that one this year. We got there at 6 PM and were in line for about 20 minutes until we were sitting down with our plates. I needed to save six seats, so I jumped out of line to reserve them right after six together cleared and were cleaned off. The gymnasium has no line for the cash table, but the line for the food circles the room. We waited in line for 45 minutes last year. There is more seating, but also more people.

There is a lot of food to choose from, so I was extra judicious this year. I eschewed most of the carbs and saved room for the fish and mussels. Let me see if I can remember everything on offer… starting with salad, cole slaw, applesauce and rolls and butter (which I somehow overlooked), then moving on there were baked potatoes, french fries, mac n cheese, cheese ravioli, fresh green beans in butter, pizza (always popular with the kids), hush puppies, and cheese pierogi, fish choices included baked tilapia, fried cod, baked cod, butter crumb baked cod, mussels, breaded cocktail shrimp and peel-and-eat shrimp and at the end was a pot of seafood chowder that ran out just as I got there. I tried to keep an eye out for when it came back out, but they ran out of it fairly early. They always do. There was a small table in the corner with tartar sauce and cocktail sauce. They ran out of tartar sauce several times. Beverages were along another wall, including tea and coffee and unsweetened ice tea, lemonade or ice water. Dessert (on the same table as the beverages) was chocolate or white cake, which ran out by the time I went back for some. Grab it when you can! They eventually brought out a tray of brownies, which were excellent, and when that ran out they brought out orange slices right at the end. I don’t know who makes the food, but every single item is great.

This year I asked for extra mussels and stuck to the battered and baked cod and the shrimp. Like I said, I skipped most of the carbs, but I did get some ravioli and pierogi (because it isn’t a fish fry in Cleveland without pierogi). The pierogi were extra cheesy and well-cooked. The dough was moist and nicely steamed. They had some sauteed onions as an accompaniment. I also really enjoyed the green beans.

From last year:

Contact info:

St. Gabriel’s
9925 Johnnycake Ridge Road
Concord Township, OH 44060
(440) 352-8282

Fish Fry Friday #1 – St. Clare’s

March 7, 2017

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year as far as I am concerned – fish fry season. Cod, haddock, perch, walleye – what’s not to like? Pillows of beer battered fish served with sides of pierogis, chowder, cole slaw, mac n cheese, etc. Some fish fries go all out with baked fish, shrimp, mussels, etc. I embraced the idea after reading Tom’s fish fry experiences in his blog, Exploring Food My Way. He’s not eating battered fish or salt or butter anymore, so I am going to pick up the torch. Cleveland embraces the fish fry. We have somehow managed to hold on to the Friday fish fry tradition — yes, in churches, but also in bars and restaurants — when most other parts of the country have not.

I decided to document my visits to local fish fries this year. Since most church fish fries tend to be disappointing (long lines, steam tables that make crisp fish soggy, etc.) I decided this year to choose three church fish fries and three restaurant fish fries, trying to balance it out. My favorite fish fries serve pierogis, and that is one of the qualifications I try to look for.

Fish Fry Friday #1 was not very successful. I wanted to stay close to home for the first one, so when I got out of my massage at 5:30 I knew my first choice Sts. Constantine and Helen wasn’t going to be an option. The Sts. Constantine and Helen fish fry runs from 5-8, and, with just a small parking lot and parking on the side streets, parking can be a nightmare – especially smack dab in the middle of dinner service at 6:00. I decided to keep driving and go to St. Clare’s, which was serving from 4-7. I have been to St. Clare’s at the corner of Green and Mayfield in the past and enjoyed it. The fish fry is run by Boy Scout Troop 433, and the proceeds benefit their local troop. Troop 433 has been part of Saint Clare Church since 1955.

The first time I went I remember being absolutely confused about where to go. Luckily, this time I knew to drive all the way to the back and go into the back building and not one of the church buildings. They have learned from the long lines and now swing the cash table to the right. You are then seated by one of the Scouts, who notes your table and runs the order to the kitchen. I ordered the perch dinner, which was $14 and comes with two sides. They also offer fried or baked fish for $11, fried shrimp for $11, pasta with no side for $8.50, 6 pierogis with one side for $8.50, or a fish sandwich for $7. The side choices were french fries, Sophie’s pierogis, cole slaw, mac n cheese, cabbage and noodles and applesauce. I also ordered a bowl of clam chowder for $4 (a cup will run you $2). The cashier asked if I wanted onions with my pierogis, and I was on my way.

I came towards the end of their evening, so there was no line at all and quite a few empty tables. I sat at a completely empty table. There were also quite a few people sitting off to the side waiting for their fish fries to go. The wait was a little long, but they had a cardboard container of buttered popcorn to stave off the hunger. I grabbed a couple cans of soda, which is available along with water for $1. I finished the first one while I waited. I brought my Kindle, so I was perfectly happy with the wait. I think my food came out in about 20-30 minutes.

Let’s talk about the food. Everyone raves about Lake Erie perch at fish fries. Save your money here and get the basic fried fish, which looked good when the tables around me got them. The perch I was served were fish briquettes. Dried out slabs of breading and dessicated fish. I give them a D and I’m being generous. The roll and cole slaw were food service and passable. The pierogis were the highlight, but I only give them a B+ because they weren’t pan fried to finish. The onions were great, so I definitely enjoyed the pierogis. And they were pillowy and well-cooked. They serve Sophie’s Pierogis, so I knew what I was getting ahead of time. The clam chowder was chock-full of clams. It was a little metallic, but I enjoyed it. I didn’t enjoy the indigestion that night though. Who knows what caused it, but I want to be honest about my experiences here. I do want to reiterate that I have been here before and had a lovely experience – enough that I wanted to come back, so your experience could be completely different (but avoid the perch). I left feeling good about supporting the Boy Scouts, but went to Arthur Treacher’s the next day for some pillowy fried fish to satisfy my craving. So yeah. Next week is my favorite fish fry in Cleveland – St. Gabriel’s in Mentor!

Contact info:

Church of St. Clare
5659 Mayfield Road
Cleveland, OH 44124

Kintaro Sushi & Hot Pot

February 15, 2017

Photo by Yelp user Sushi L

Kintaro is a full-service, all-you-can-eat sushi and hot pot restaurant just off I-480 off Ridge Road. Everything is made to order. The place has been recently renovated and has two separate dining areas as well as a sushi bar. Both sides are bright and cheerful, with some stone dividers, neon lighting and lots of bamboo and wood decor. Upon entering, you can choose between sushi and hot pot, although you can opt out of the all-you-can-eat deal to order menu items individually or order the all-you-can-eat sushi on the hot pot side if you are dining with friends who want hot pot.

imag0789Hot pot is a fun way to eat with friends. The tables have inset hot pot burners, and you choose your menu items, ranging from the broth, vegetables and fish and meat. The fish and meat choices range from pork, fatty beef, chicken, crab, clams, several fish choices, lunch meat and dumplings as well as more adventurous items like beef tripe, pork stomach, quail egg and cuttlefish balls. They also offer 28 vegetarian ingredients. You also choose your noodle to enjoy with the broth at the end of your meal. Choices include instant ramen noodles, potato vermicelli, udon, rice noodles or some fun noodles like a wide, crystal clear noodle that my friend Nancy ordered and enjoyed. There is also a sauce bar where you can choose from various soy sauces, “Kitaro sauce,” oyster sauce, sesame oil, hot chili sauce, cilantro, scallions, etc. to flavor your broth. You have two hours to eat your hot pot, and they encourage you to be discerning in your choices by threatening to charge by the pound for waste.

The real deal is at lunch. The all-you-can-eat sushi and hot pot will run you about $25-26 at dinner (and you can upgrade some hot pot items for a total of $32), but it is only $11 for hot pot and $15 for sushi at lunch photogrid_1481655342555(11 to 2:30 Monday through Saturday). The lunch sushi and hot pot choices aren’t as varied as at dinner, but there are still plenty to choose from.

The first time I went I chose the all-you-can-eat sushi during lunch. You are given a menu and check off on the menu what you want. For $15 I enjoyed a miso soup, salad, several pieces of nigiri, tempura, an eel hand roll, and a Jeep specialty roll. As you can see from the left, it was a lot of food (and all-you-can-eat is usually a joke for me because I get full quickly on a good day – I’m their ideal customer). Apart from the tempura I enjoyed it. The tempura was very bland in my opinion. Yes, I know you need to dip it in a sauce, but it should have at least some underlying flavor. The sushi was fresh, and the server was very personable. I ordered it in several stages, and barely finished the specialty roll (my last stage). If you want something more filling like hibachi or udon noodle or a rice bowl, you may want to just order a small appetizer, your entree and then see how you feel. I was stuffed from my lunch choices, but I was very happy with what I ordered. For me I need the miso imag0786-1soup and salad for a sushi meal. Others might choose to skip it. My friend who came to join us for hot pot during dinner ordered just sashimi and as few rolls with rice as she could to get the most bang for her buck. I thought that was a little crazy, because with sushi the rice is just as important as the fish in my opinion. But to each their own. And that is the beauty of this place – each person can order just what you want or you can choose to share.

Our hot pot dinner adventure was a lot of fun. Since I was sick, my friends suggested I get my own pot. They then shared two broths. We all ordered the Chicken Broth, and they also ordered the Sha Cha broth, which was delicious (I took a sip from a fresh spoon). I’m definitely getting that next time. If you like spicy, they also have a Sichuan Spicy broth. I over-ordered the raw items, but luckily I only left vegetables and a little bit of fatty beef, so my server didn’t charge me the waste fee. But I would have been completely okay if he had though since it was my mistake thinking they would have small portions for one person. I also over-ordered thinking the broth would just be broth and would need some add-in flavor, but they added some things for flavor right out of the gate. I ordered the fatty beef, dumplings, cilantro fish balls, frozen crab, several kinds of mushrooms, broccoli, cilantro, Chinese cabbage, and bean sprouts. I somehow got turnip on my plate instead of the black mushrooms (47 vs. 57 so write clearly on your paper).

Photo by Nancy Heller

Photo by Nancy Heller

I would definitely skip the frozen crab. Since it was previously frozen it was very difficult to get the meat out of the shell. Go fresh or skip it. The fish balls were really good as well. My friend Nancy ordered the Fuchow fish balls and liked them better than my cilantro fish balls, which I enjoyed (I’m a big fan of cilantro). We tried choices off of each others’ trays, which was nice and added to the variety. I was not a fan of the Chinese sausage, for example. It had a cloyingly sweet taste, but she and her husband enjoyed them. I loved the dumplings the most. I dipped them in sauce after cooking them in the broth and, while they were filling, they had a really enjoyable flavor.

Even though it is all-you-can-eat, the quality at Kintaro was pretty good. It’s not Pacific East, Ginko or Ushabu, but you pay for that quality there. Nancy is a tough customer (having been to China), and she was impressed. I will definitely be going back at lunch, now that I know what to expect. I can see this going on my regular lunch rotation since it is such a deal. And if you are looking for a fun meal with friends you should definitely give this a shot. I think you’ll enjoy yourselves as much as we did.

Contact info:

Kintaro Sushi & Hot Pot
7325 Northcliff Avenue
Brooklyn, OH 44144
(216) 459-8862

Otani Noodle

February 1, 2017

imag6374Cleveland has desperately needed a good ramen place. Otani Noodle fits the bill. It isn’t amazing ramen like Slurping Turtle or some of the ramen places in New York, but it certainly fulfills the craving for a well-crafted bowl. Don’t come here with high expectations, and you will probably walk out very pleased.

Located on Euclid Avenue next to the CIA building, Otani is a small space with some tasty ramen. It is decorated in red and black with a colorful mural on one wall with four tables on the left side and the counter and kitchen on the right. You go up to the counter to order, find a seat and then they bring it out to you. imag6372Service is fairly quick. I think I waited about 5-10 minutes for my ramen. The seating (fairly high plastic stools) does not encourage you to linger. I found the higher seat to be fairly uncomfortable. Luckily I live close enough that I could take it to go if I wanted to enjoy it in the comfort of a more comfortable chair.

My first visit was in the summer right after it opened. I live up the hill in Cleveland Heights, so I am in the Uptown area a lot. I parked in the parking garage behind Crop Kitchen and hobbled my way to Otani Noodle to soothe my craving. The place was not imag6367that busy, but I hear word is spreading and people are flocking there. I’m glad to hear this, because we need it in the area. The staff was welcoming and helpful and brought out my steaming bowl for me. I sat in front of the open doors and the fan and enjoyed every warm bite.

For my first visit I tried the Torikatsu ramen, which is fried chicken cutlet in a tonkatsu broth. The broth was rich and flavorful. They get their noodles from Sun Noodle, which according to my knowledgeable friends are the best noodles you can get in the States. They had a nice toothsome bite imag6371and were great. The chicken was perfectly fried, tender and crispy. I loved the added extras like corn, broccoli, scallions, mushrooms, and seaweed, which added some great flavor. I will definitely order half a boiled egg next time as well. It isn’t ramen if it doesn’t have a hard-boiled egg half. I ordered the jasmine-infused honey tea as my beverage, which also hit the spot. It was a nice bottled ice tea.

On another more recent visit I ordered the Char Siu Tonkatsu ramen instead of the imag0823pork belly one, because another Asian noodle restaurant about a block away has turned me off pork belly for life. The char siu roasted pork came in thin slices and had a great flavor.

The only reason I haven’t tried more of their food is because I have been too busy with work to go out for lunch and have been eating at home more to save money. I look forward to trying the tempura shrimp and miso ramens.

The website is fairly useless. I still haven’t figured out if they have a menu listed on it. If you are going to make a website that contains no information (and no menu?!?), do your customers a favor and don’t bother. Thank goodness some kind soul posted photos of the menu on Yelp (page one and page two).


Contact info:

Otani Noodle
11472 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106

Zoma Ethiopian

January 21, 2017

imag0703Cleveland has a new Ethiopian restaurant – Zoma just opened in Cleveland Heights in mid-December. It is open six days a week (closed on Mondays) as well as for lunch. I love Ethiopian, so I can imagine frequenting both Zoma and Empress Taytu. There is some overlap with Empress Taytu, but they are different enough that I can see them both happily coexisting.

Zoma is located on the corner of Lee Road and Meadowbrook – across from Best Gyro. imag0687Parking is available behind Best Gyro and in a little parking lot at the corner of Lee and Meadowbrook as well as along Meadowbrook (free if you don’t mind walking a little bit).

I gathered a group to eat there a few weeks after their Grand Opening. We were all very excited, so we had quite a nice group gather on a Wednesday night, despite the weather advisory and bitter cold. We took up half the place, and it was great to see the restaurant busy. All of the tables were filled for most of our visit, and several people came in for take-out as well. They have basket seating and tables. I reserved tables since it is easiest with a group, but basket seating is more communal and ideal for 2-4 people. Ethiopian cuisine is characterized bothimag0691 by its unique flavors and its communal presentation, a family-style approach with multiple items arriving on a large platter. You eat by tearing off the injera with your right hand and scooping the food up to eat it, but they gave forks to several of my fellow diners who asked for them.

They do not have a liquor license yet, but diners frequently stop at The Wine Spot across the street to buy some wine or beer to go with their meal. I ordered mango juice, which came in a bottle, and their tea. The tea was delicious, with cinnamon and several imag0689other spices.

They offer two appetizers – the vegetarian sambusa and timatim fitfit, which has pieces of injera bread mixed chopped fresh tomato, onion, jalapeno, and Ethiopian herbs. Everyone who had the tomato salad as their sides loved it. No one ordered appetizers this time around.

We managed to get our hands on the menu ahead of time, and the mild chicken stew ($14.99) caught my eye. It was absolutely delicious. The stew features chicken breast chunks simmered in mild turmeric sauce spiced with ginger, garlic, onion and herbal butter. It was absolutely scrumptious, and I can see myself ordering this a lot. I ordered the yellow split peas as my side and an extra side of cabbage for $2 or $2.50. I enjoyed the split peas, but really like the cabbage. It is made with potatoes sautéed with garlic, ginger and curry and was super tender. I love tikil gomen with carrots and tumeric, so this was close enough for me. That said, I will continue imag0698to go to Empress Taytu for my tikil gomen and mushroom and shrimp tibs fixes.

About half of the group ordered some kind of tibs – either beef or chicken – and enjoyed them as well. One fellow diner ordered the spicy chicken stew, which was a lot darker than my mild chicken stew was. The tibs and stews came in hot little skillets and spoons to spoon the entree onto the injera. Tibs are my favorite, so I can’t wait to order it next time. The other diner ordered his go-to kitfo (ground beef seasoned with herbal butter, cardamom and mitmita imag0696served with homemade cottage cheese and cooked collard green/kale) and was very happy.

Many Ethiopian dishes are built around lentils, split peas, chick peas and greens, making them popular with vegetarians, and Zoma has a wide variety of vegetarian entrees. The other half of the group ordered vegetarian combo platters. The combo platters allows you to choose three of the vegetarian entrees for $15.99 and four for $16.99. One of my friends who wanted to try all six ordered the four-entree combo and two imag0693other sides. I got to taste several of them, and particularly enjoyed the collard greens and kale steamed with garlic, jalapeno pepper and traditional spices and the Fasolia Tibs, which are beans and carrots sautéed with garlic, ginger and tomato paste.

I love that Zoma offers such a wide variety of choices. There are 11 meat entrees, six vegetarian entrees, one seafood dish, and endless combinations. My friends who are well-versed in Ethiopian cuisine raved about the injera, saying it was the best they have ever had and they’ve eaten Ethiopian all over the place. It was absolutely delicious, with a fermented lemony flavor. They use a mixture of dark teff and barley flour. It added some nice flavor to the stews.

Overall, I really liked it. I can see myself eating here a lot due to its proximity to my home (a 5-minute drive). It’s nice to have a second option for Ethiopian here in Cleveland. They also offer their coffee service, but for now only on the weekend – although they did roast some beans for us for ambiance.


If you are unsure how to eat Ethiopian food, this video might make you feel more confident:

Contact info:

Zoma Ethiopian Restaurant
2240 Lee Road
Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118
(216) 465-3239