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.
At Streat Burger, guests construct their meals with Ohio farm-raised beef, pulled pork, or quinoa patties before piling them high with seasonal greens, spicy relishes, and flavorful toppings. Each custom-made sandwich, fresh salad, or basket of hand-cut fries pairs with a frosty beverage from the craft beer list, full of dozens of selections ranging from refreshing watermelon wheat to crisp, hoppy double IPAs.
Though it isn?t a matchmaking service, Grovewood Tavern is responsible for more than 150 successful relationships in the past decade, all of which were realized over dinner. The brick-enclosed restaurant specializes in the delicious puppy love between food and drink, hosting meals that pair fine wines, beers, and spirits with bites from a globally conscious kitchen. The courses encourage guests to savor combinations in the moment, but also nod to the history inside the glassware. Trivia and origin stories accompany the drinks, detailing their flavors and the favorable reviews they've received. Some dinners benefit from presentation by expert hosts, including vineyard aficionados and people who know how the ghosts are added to each bottle of spirits.
Outside of these showcases, visitors can still enjoy selections from the tavern's regular menu. Duck-burger sliders and spice-rubbed ahi-tuna sandwiches dispel any worries about stereotypical pub fare, and the entrees' emphasis on local and organic ingredients adds a refreshing ease of conscience to each bite. Grovewood?s catalog of savory meats ranges from Japanese-style barbecued chicken to the bison pot roast, which, according to a 2007 feature in the Plain Dealer, "falls gloriously apart, upon gentle forkage." Chefs accommodate vegetarians and vegans as well. A wealth of meat- and gluten-free options speckles the menu's pages, and the pairing dinners list substitutions for nonveggie helpings, replacing tea-smoked duck breast with grilled tofu and skirt steak with vegan beef.
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.
At Bistro on Lincoln Park, executive chef Pete Joyce employs formal education and experience to combine French, Italian, and Spanish highlights into refined cuisine that utilizes local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible. Impatient palates delve into the Ohio goat-cheese tasting, which pairs Lake Erie Creamery goat-milk cheeses with herbed flatbread, accouterments, and a pristine plate ($15). Slowly braised shanks of Colorado lamb tie together a dish of potato purée, black-olive oil, mint, and a basil reduction sauce ($19), and pheasant kiev tempts diners' decorum with a foie-gras- and parsley-butter-stuffed breast enshrined by a cauliflower purée and truffled petite green salad ($19). Post main-plate consumption, tongues can twist sweetly around house-made ice cream made with organic Ohio cream ($5) or pound cake, which whisks together almond cake, nougat sauce, hazelnut-honey buttercream, candied pistachios, and candied lemon zest into 1.814 kilograms of metric joy ($7).
In 1954, Frank Sterle founded a country-house restaurant with a few picnic tables, one waitress, and a small menu from his native country, Slovenia. The eatery?s hand-pounded schnitzel and performances by the likes of ?Waltz King? Lou Trebar and ?King of Polka? Frankie Yankovic soon drew crowds. Frank was able to expand the restaurant, modeling the addition after an alpine lodge where he lived as a child, and decorate the dining room with wall murals of Slovenian mountains.
In 2012, Rick Semersky launched the Szemersky Bier Garden, an authentic bier garden with picnic tables and green space, tucked behind the restaurant. The menu includes locally made sausages, kabobs and sandwiches cooked to order on the outdoor grill along with specially brewed beers. On Sundays, the garden hosts Bloody Mary Sundays with a wide selection of garnishes and condiments.
Chef Jimmy Gibson heads up a kitchen that is committed to classic eastern European cuisine, with a twist. On Friday and Saturday polka nights, diners can tap their feet and gaze at the roof?s exposed wooden beams, taking notes for the construction of their next gingerbread houses.