In the 1930s, a glimpse inside the brick building at 2350 Cleveland Road might have revealed Al Capone and his associates sipping coffee in the midst of a tense conversation. These days, though, the atmosphere inside Red Gables Mesquite Grill is relaxed and intimate, with white tablecloths and the scent of a mesquite fire drifting through the air. Over that fire, chef Jamie Pribanic grills Certified Black Angus steaks that he claims are the finest in the world. The Plain Dealer writer Debbi Snook stopped by to taste them herself, and came away impressed: “The medium-cooked rib-eye instantly became one of my all-time favorites”, she wrote. “Hearty structure but tender chew, pepper-rubbed, vaguely charred and whispering of cowboy terrain.”
The seafood at this grill is no afterthought. Diners can slurp oysters flown in fresh from Cape Cod, dip steamed Alaskan King Crab legs into drawn butter, or slice into the crimson flesh of wild Chinook salmon. Pours of wine or beer and a slew of house-made desserts complete the dining experience.
Inside the former mill that is now Mill Street Bistro Bar, servers deliver entrees of buffalo, beef, and elk sourced directly from the owner's farm. In addition to handcrafting locally sourced entrees that have included pan-fried Lake Erie perch and beer-brined, center-cut pork chops, the chefs also flambé cherries jubilee tableside for dessert. Post-dinner patrons may meander to the outdoor patio to smoke an imported cigar from the restaurant's humidor.
Following the lead of Paris-trained owner and chef Mike Mariola, City Square's skilled cooks quench carnivorous cravings with Chicago-style steakhouse fare. The menu invites patrons to warm up mouth muscles with a cup of the signature seafood bisque ($6.75–$9.25) or dive into a dish of homemade parmesan-cheese fries drizzled in truffle oil ($8.50). Meat seekers may partake in succulent slabs of USDA choice or prime beef, such as the 10-ounce peppered strip steak smothered in shallot sauce ($26.95), 12-ounce rib eye ($26.95), or Filet Oscar, a mixed bag of twin filet-mignon medallions caught up in a whirlwind of crabmeat, asparagus, and political intrigue ($28.95). Vegetarians can chew on the caesar salad ($6.50) or garden pasta, a mélange of vegetables served over freshly made penne in a garlic white-wine sauce ($16.95), and an extensive beer, wine, and martini list summons intrepid imbibers to cap off any meal with liquid-induced warm fuzzies.
The broilers at Harry's Steakhouse sear perfectly straight lines into all of the eatery's daily, fresh chops, prepped by the in-house butcher. And before these steaks are aged and prepared, they're chosen from cattle that have been fed with corn their whole lives, as opposed to those with a habit of binging on fast food during their teenage years. Specialty steaks include the crowd favorite, 22 ounce bone-in Ribeye. Steaks can also be finished with sautéed mushrooms or onions or a skewer of grilled shrimp.
Family-friendly Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi prepares authentic Japanese fare mere inches from ravenous patrons on in-table hibachi grills. Using fresh fish and ingredients from around the world, expert chefs mix up flavor medleys with tricks and flair. The traditional dinner menu starts off with cold and hot appetizers ($5–$15), including Japanese favorites gyoza—crispy oysters—and the seaweed salad, which sneakily ensnares tongues with chlorophyllic flavor. Hibachi dinners create a landscape of flavor with bubbling springs of soup, leafy fields of house salad, fresh vegetables, and the plump hibachi shrimp appetizer, all drizzled with Nagoya's own special sauces. Choose from a variety of land-bound and ocean-entrapped entrees, such as the hibachi steak ($24), scallop and shrimp ($26), or vegetable ($12). Sushi-bar offerings range from nigiri and sashimi to a large selection of specialty rolls and combinations suited for sharing or zealously hoarding. A generous assortment of wines, sakes, and martinis lightly complements the menu of satisfying comestibles.
Outfitted with black tablecloths, framed art, cushy booths, and carpeted floors, Black Pearl’s dining room is a comfortable space that leaves plenty of room for romance to flicker in the low light. In this, it’s well matched to the menu: a selection of pastas, steaks, and seafood with options to suit occasions ranging from a quick lunch to a grand night out. Tender prime rib stars in both hearty surf ‘n’ turf entrees and a slew of sandwiches and salads. The Blade noted that the signature cut—a carryover from the restaurant’s previous incarnation as HJ’s Prime Cut—“continues to be superb,” while also praising lake perch that’s “tender and sweet, with a light breading that doesn't overwhelm the delicate flavor of the fish.”
Beyond the dining room with its arched windows and hanging lamps is a fully stocked bar whose tenders pour beer and mix martinis, including a line of signature drinks made with midnight-dark Blavod Black vodka. Armchairs clustered around low tables and a single flat-screen television introduce a clubby vibe. But the restaurant's most intriguing seats may lie just beyond the front door, where curving half-walls painted with a Rothko-esque design swoop around a party-friendly circular table.