Housed in the former Taylor and Sons Department Store–a historic building that has tastefully transformed its 4,000 sq. ft. into a chic interior and exterior space–Zinc Bistro is a sophisticated eatery that serves prime steaks, French classics, and raw from one of Cleveland's only raw bars. The seasonal lunch menu is a tuxedo-worthy medley of soups, oysters, savory sandwiches, frites, and salads. For dinner, taste buds can take aim at duck a l'orange with butternut-bacon hash ($28) or a pork chop with choucroute, rutabaga puree, and apple-bourbon ($24). Ishmaels can reacquaint themselves with the eats of the oceans by noshing six fresh oysters ($12–$14), a bowl of lobster bisque ($11), or moules frites ($17) stacked with Prince Edward Island mussels, Pernod, and Zinc frites.
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.
On the shady patio or inside the low-key, date-friendly dining room, visitors to Noosa Bistro can kick off their experience with one of more than 75 martinis from the vast, boozy list. Open for both lunch and dinner, the menus span an eclectic selection of European–influenced American dishes, ranging from pan-seared scallops to petite fillets, cooked to order and served with a petite fork on a petite plate. Like the martini list, the wine menu spans an impressive length and includes such interesting bottles as a 40-year-old port.
Restaurant Europa acquaints its diners with the hearty, core-warming dishes of Russia via single servings or family-style platters before inviting guests to dance at the in-house ceviche bar, which stays open after hours. Escorted by servers who float between recessed, private booths and centrally situated tables, plates piled with sour-cream-crowned latkes, classic Russian-style schnitzel, and sautéed foie gras fill the dining room with international aromas. The option to dine family-style allows groups to sup on eight assorted appetizers and a choice of four entrees as they discuss their clan's sacred ancestral hairdo. After dinner, patrons can relax at the bar or steal away to the Siberian vodka room, where they can sip the traditional spirit from a glass made of ice.
Foodgazi offers a diverse range of culinary classes devoted to unleashing the delicious power of farm-fresh, unprocessed meals incorporating as many organic and locally produced ingredients as possible. Foodgazi's savory, unforgettable vegetarian and vegan dishes run the gamut from convenient, casual fare to more involved culinary preparations. The Healthy School Lunches class (Thursday, August 19, 7 p.m.–9 p.m.) teaches the preparation of healthy, gourmet brown-bag fare for young scholars, and may include such offerings as sweet fruit kebabs, tempeh tuna salad with kale, and sweet potato chips. Two upcoming classes, Hearty Home-Style Italian and Pizza with Pizzazz, will dispense the ancient wisdom of whole grains and tomato viscosity, as well as how to toss pizza dough high enough to thoroughly frighten A.P. Astronomy students. On the other hand, the Foods for Entertaining, Holiday Eats, and Holiday Cookies classes are perfect for harnessing the sweetness of the holiday season without the nutritional guilt.
How did Vintage House Café begin?
As a family venture. We started as a restaurant, then added a patio, tearoom, and gift shop. Not only do we offer a large selection of loose-leaf tea, but my son is a glass artist and we sell his blown glass art work.
Aside from owner, what role do you play in the restaurant?
I always enjoyed baking, so I create all the desserts.
Tell us a little about the head chef.
Chef Grant Urmston is a native Clevelander, whose passion for culinary arts began at a young age. His passion grew over the years, and he further developed his skills at the renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. With career stops that included New York, Boston, and Las Vegas, Grant has brought a more traditional Italian and Mediterranean flair to the menu, all while trying to focus more on fresh and local products.
What inspires you to take such a hands-on role in the restaurant?
I love being here and our customers make me smile.