Hailed by Cleveland Magazine as possessing “a culinary sixth sense when it comes to flavor,” Americano chef Vytauras Sasnauskas honed his culinary skills under the tutelage of Loretta Paganini, the celebrated founder of Chesterland’s Loretta Paganini School of Cooking. With roots in Cleveland’s culinary scene that extend back to 1996, it makes sense that Sasnauskas prizes locally harvested ingredients for his menu of daring bistro cuisine. Succulent cuts of beef are drizzled with creative sauces such as brûléed fig and gorgonzola, and traditional comfort foods are reimagined, such as mac 'n' cheese with gourmet flourishes of truffle oil and melted brie. Servers are happy to recommend pairings from a vast drink list that features old-fashioned cocktails and dozens of wines.
Americano is tucked away inside One Bratenahl Place, which creates a secluded vibe. With its smoked mirrors and heavy wooden chairs, the classically elegant dining room serves to tether the whimsical cuisine.
Steep your brain with flavorful promises of a menu to plot out an early-morning caffeine infusion, mid-day lunch treat, or late night drive-by brainwiring. Phoenix's coffees are brewed fresh from their very own beans, so have a cup of old-school joe to return to the café's roots (up to $1.70), or punch your taste buds with the devil's brew (coffee with a shot of espresso, up to $2.50). Chug their namesake with a cup of Café Phoenix, a mocha made with their signature locally produced chocolate syrup and an extra shot of espresso ($3.60), or hammer your endocrine system with the indulgent excesses of their Stuporball—two kinds of custom-blended coffee, two different chocolate syrup infusions, and an extra shot of espresso (up to $4). Tea lovers get some love at Phoenix, too—premium oolong, white, and select black or green tea varieties are available iced or hot (up to $2.40), while the house-made artisan Chai latte arrives steamed and creamy (up to $3.20). You can also upgrade to larger drinks and pay the difference.
Honey, cinnamon, and raisins seem like sweet dessert fixings, but they're par for the main course at Bodega. All three make an appearance in the fez chicken?a Moroccan specialty saut?ed with onions and dappled with roasted almonds. The chicken joins couscous, kebabs, and seafood paella on a list of Moroccan staples that pair well with live music and belly-dancing. Performances such as these elevate dinner to a multisensory event, one that can last in the swanky venue until 2 a.m., or whenever the dancer's belly button closes and goes to sleep.
However, Bodega's kitchen isn't married to a single region. Its versatility can be seen in a glance at the tapas section, where lobster risotto shares the page with housemade lobster nachos. Other small plates include soy-chili-glazed chicken wings, herb-crusted lamb lollipops, and homemade hummus with pita bread. The servings grow larger the farther back you flip in the menu, with pan-seared duck and grilled Amish chicken featured in the selection of entrees.