Under the guidance of chef Matthew Anderson, whose cooking has been spotlighted on WKYC, Umami serves a contemporary pan-Asian menu that changes with the seasons. Locally sourced vegetables, tofu, meats, and goat's-milk products are at the core of Umami’s innovative Japanese cuisine, working in harmony with imported, never-frozen seafood to earn praise in publications such as Cleveland Scene and Cleveland.com’s A-list.
Diners enjoy their small and large plates beneath delicate pendant lights that softly illuminate the romantic setting decorated with floral artwork and bamboo shoots. Umami offers a small list of wines, beers, and sakes that harmonize with meals, as well as tasty cocktails such as the Lotus with lychee and ginger.
Early every morning, the chefs of Joey’s Restaurant peruse Cleveland’s markets for the freshest vegetables and meats to incorporate into marinara-oozing lasagna, sherry-sautéed scampi, or Sicilian-style pizza. Chefs adhere to authentic family recipes that have been in use for more than 30 years, starting with fresh batches of homemade noodles that soak in sauces such as marinara, alfredo, or garlic butter. Servers set down dishes on red-checkered tables, organizing the plates family-style so each guest can sample and share dishes without having to compete for bites in a fierce game of musical chairs, and the exposed brick in the dining room adds a romantic air to a night on the town.
When The Plain Dealer visited West End Bistro in 2009, it praised the eatery's "inventive culinary thinking" and "really good food." These days, chef Craig Fitzgerald continues the tradition by crafting seasonal, upscale dishes from local and regional ingredients. Options range from prosciutto-wrapped salmon and beef wellington to pizzas crowned with fixings such as garlic chips and woodland mushrooms. Said feasts unfold inside what the Dealer calls an "impeccably designed lofted dining room." Downstairs, bartenders serve wines and beers, as well as mix cocktails such as the cool cucumber, a blend of simple syrup and house-infused cucumber vodka.
Mazzulo's proffers enough custom-cut meat, gourmet cheese, and prepared meals to satisfy a whole horde of hungry family members. The shop's traditional sweet italian sausage recipes date back to Sicily of the early 1900s ($3.99 per pound), and other fresh meat options include beef, pork, chicken, and seafood. A spectrum of just-baked breads embrace specially sliced turkey and roast beef with hugs that range in flavor from rye to wheat and italian ($8.99 per pound), while Mazzulo's signature hand-forged pepperoni bread makes it easier to smuggle your favorite meat into a bread-only food club ($4.99 per pound).
Headed by chefs Chris Johnson and Alonzo Norman, Gamekeeper's delivers atypical American cuisine and delicious game dishes in a warm and cozy atmosphere. Like an edible Motown tribute band, the rich menu is inspired by the four seasons and often features fresh ingredients from local purveyors. Lunch ushers in fresh salads, such as walnut-encrusted chevre with merlot-poached pears ($13), and a heavenly angel-hair pasta with wing-granting bell peppers, cherubic snow peas, garlic, and sundried tomatoes, all topped with a halo of romano cheese ($12). Lunchers looking to warm up during the winter months can opt to add a bowl of tomato bisque, while those preferring to celebrate the final sun-drenched days on the patio may prefer the chilled gazpacho (both a $6 value).
For more than 20 years, Panini’s has served up tasty sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, and bar fare for patrons in dire need of stomach de-grumblefication. Guests can consult the menu to gain mouth inspiration from hearty starters such as a big basket of homemade onion rings with dijon dip ($5.79), the cheese-steak quesadilla ($7.99), and a fresh, heaping Cobb salad ($9.49). Cryptozoologists in search of the elusive buffalo wing can choose from more than 15 saucy wing styles, from mild honey-mustard to the piping hot Armageddon ($7.59 for 12 wings). Choose from a multitude of Angus beef burgers and fresh pizzas, or fill face-caverns with Panini’s classic overstuffed sandwich, crammed with hand-cut fries, coleslaw, tomato, and melted provolone, along with your choice of meat ($6.49). Combo up with corned beef and a fried egg ($6.99), or double the meat for a carnivorous culinary experience ($8.49).