Every night, the smooth hum of jazz music drifts out from North Park Grille, providing a soothing soundtrack for guests who recline beneath the stars on its front patio. Inside, dim candles illuminate tabletops surrounded by colorful paintings and soft purple walls. As bartenders pour fine wines into delicate stemware, servers gracefully deliver plates of Chef Anna Hoffman's contemporary comfort fare. She puts an upscale twist on classic American dishes, fashioning meatloaf from lean ground beef and savory spices, infusing mac ‘n’ cheese with unexpected morsels of feta or buffalo chicken, and molding ground-beef burger patties into the shape of elegant bald eagles.
While the decor at Swerve Grille hints at contemporary drama with deep red walls and black seating, the menu adds comfort. Chefs use fresh, natural ingredients from local farms to create dishes that remind you of home, with the added bonus of not washing dishes after. Fish tacos, beef sliders, and barbecue turkey ribs start off meals with a dash of casualness. Fine dining entrees offer choices from chicken alfredo and 12-ounce rib eye to southern fried chicken and grilled salmon, all of which can be enjoyed with sides like green beans or potato veggie hash. Meals finish on a sweet note, with apple crisp, cheesecake, or a second helping of steak.
The Mad Greek earned a finalist spot on CityVoter's 2011 Best of Fox8 Cleveland list for its Greek cuisine, but that?s only half the story. Executive chef Chris Chopra splits the menu between classic Greek and Indian dishes, whipping up a half-dozen fragrant coconut-and-tomato Indian curries alongside broiled chicken with tomato and feta and seafood simmered in bouillabaisse.
The environs prove as sprawling as the menu, welcoming diners into a dining room reminiscent of a Mediterranean greenhouse with its ample sunlight, potted ferns, and sky-high ceilings. Throughout the space, private enclaves prove ideal for romantic dinners with invisible significant others.
The name Burgers-N-Beer is straightforward. That’s why first-time visitors may be surprised by the scope of the offerings the eatery has offered to hungry Willoughby-area residents since 1999. The restaurant spotlights their menu with slabs of renowned fall-off-the-bone St. Louis-style ribs, slathered with Mimi's Family Recipe Sauce as pictured above. Customers can gather crowds of their own, as ribs can be packaged for parties. Cooks also sculpt juicy half-pound burger patties by hand, piling on toppings such as fried eggs, creole-inspired olive tapenade, or marinara sauce.
But the food isn’t the only reason to stop by. Burgers-N-Beer exudes what one Cleveland Scene writer described as "old-time charm, cheery atmosphere, and prompt, friendly service—all seemingly designed to make a midweek dinner feel like a getaway at a lakeside resort.” On Friday and Saturday nights, the restaurant stops eager patrons from abandoning still-rolling cars with complimentary valet service.
Honey, cinnamon, and raisins seem like sweet dessert fixings, but they're par for the main course at Bodega. All three make an appearance in the fez chicken—a Moroccan specialty sautéed with onions and dappled with roasted almonds. The chicken joins couscous, kebabs, and seafood paella on a list of Moroccan staples that pair well with live music and belly-dancing. Performances such as these elevate dinner to a multisensory event, one that can last in the swanky venue until 2 a.m., or whenever the dancer's belly button closes and goes to sleep.
However, Bodega's kitchen isn't married to a single region. Its versatility can be seen in a glance at the tapas section, where lobster risotto shares the page with housemade lobster nachos. Other small plates include soy-chili-glazed chicken wings, herb-crusted lamb lollipops, and homemade hummus with pita bread. The servings grow larger the farther back you flip in the menu, with pan-seared duck and grilled Amish chicken featured in the selection of entrees.