The name means "taste" in Thai, and at Ghin Asian Blend & Sushi, flavor always comes first. Averse to calling their dishes "Asian fusion," the restaurant's chefs instead refer their genre as "Asian blend." They aim to bring the nuances of many cultures' kitchens seamlessly together on the same plates, creating meals that are as artful as they are satisfying. The tom yum soup, for instance, showcases a Thai- and Malaysian-style broth made from chili and fresh lime, whereas a spicy, Japanese tamari marinade brings the heat to the tropical-inspired tuna poke appetizer. Maki rolls display similar melding, matching spicy tuna with macadamia nuts and beef tataki with jalapeno. Even classic American dishes receive a global update?burgers are topped with sweet chili aioli, lamb chops are sauced with a ginger sake tamari reduction, and cuts of chicken are given their own delicious passports.
At Little India Restaurant, authenticity permeates the food, art, and music. Owned by the Baidwan and Malhotra families and staffed with northern India–trained chefs, the restaurant is a multiyear winner of numerous prizes, including CityVoter's award for Best Indian cuisine. Chefs grill meats over mesquite charcoal in the tandoori oven, and season curries with onion, garlic, and ginger. Handcrafted mint-cilantro and tamarind chutneys create opportunities for 11 types of bread to sneak toward unsuspecting droplets of spice-filled sauce, whereas potatoes soften the heat quotient of fiery vindaloos. Within the dining room, calming sitar music fills the air and larger-than-life paintings of food-based revelry decorate the walls and come to life at tables.
Lucky Strike Lanes Belmar's 16 synthetic lanes gleam under a healthy collection of neon lights and high-definition television screens as leather sofas at each lane cradle guests who patiently wait their turn. When not bowling, bowlers can play foosball or billiards at the onsite sports bar or order from a full menu of pizzas, sandwiches, and other grilled items. The sports bar?s wooden accents add to the alley?s decor, which harks back to midcentury lounge styling without vintage drawbacks such as faulty ball returns or the ghosts of failed mayoral candidates floating down the alleyways.
Chefs at Barroco Grill craft Colombian street fare from scratch, nabbing glowing reviews from Cleveland Scene and a nod from Cleveland Magazine’s Best of 2011 list. The signature arepas—which Cleveland Scene lauds as “hot, corny, and crisp”—hug melted mozzarella and succulent meats inside a pocket of all-white corn batter. Chefs also drizzle plates with creative flourishes such as wasabi coleslaw and peanut cream sauce. Beneath the dining room’s exposed wooden beams, snippets of brick walls peek out from behind artwork by local artists and high-functioning house pets.
Brewing organic, fair-trade, and shade-grown beans, Kona Coffee proves its commitment to a well-balanced environment, economy, and suntan. Java jewels are sourced from poverty-stricken areas around the world, but each batch of the house's bean juice is prepared with at least 30% Hawaiian-collected Kona beans to maintain their signature taste. Sip a classic cappuccino ($2.35–$3.15) to start your day on a foamy foot, or enjoy a kona mocha ($3.15–$3.90), mint mocha ($3.15–$3.90), or caramel-apple latte ($3.15–$3.90) for a midday sweet treat. Kona's spicy and refreshing chai frappe ($3.90–$4.45) provides a tasty cool-down alternative to climbing into a freezer on a hot summer day, and fresh-fruit smoothies ($4.75, for protein powder add $0.85) make it easy to reach fruit-that-doesn't-require-teeth quotas. Barista-made beverages range between $2 and $5, and brew-it-yourself beans generally sell for $7 to $8 for half a pound and $12 to $14 for a full pound. Coffee connoisseurs or wannabeans can use this Groupon toward a bag of 100% Kona Fancy beans ($40/lb.).
When most people think of Chicago-style pizza, they probably imagine a dense, deep-dish pie weighed down by an inches-thick layer of cheese. But the chefs at Nicolo's Pizza point to a different definition offered up by famed Chicago film critic Roger Ebert. In an interview with Vanity Fair , Ebert estimated that as much as 85 percent of Chicago's pizza is built upon a thin crust, and that what really sets the city's pies apart is the homemade sauces and crusts cooked up by Chicago's abundant Italian population.
That's exactly the type of Chicago-style pizza that Nicolo's has been dishing up for more than 30 years, using recipes born generations ago in Italy. Each thin or hand-rolled crust is made fresh every day, topped with a choice of sauce such as traditional red, alfredo, or garlicky extra virgin olive oil, then baked in an authentic stone-bottom oven. Patrons can choose their own ingredients––which range from artichoke hearts to green chilies––or choose one of the shop's specialties such as Buffalo Pie, a ranch-based pizza topped with chicken, celery, carrots, and mozzarella, or the Besto Pesto with Chicken, featuring chicken, black olives, artichoke hearts, and provolone cheese with a pesto sauce. Beyond the pizza pan, chefs painstakingly assemble layers of fresh noodles, ricotta, and sauce into classic meaty or vegetarian lasagna and slather chicken wings in a variety of sauces, including pomegranate chipotle and thai peanut.