Friday was a ridiculously long stressful day at work…. and my birthday to top it off. The only thing that got me through was knowing that Courtney and I were going to L’Albatros in the evening. We were going to go to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens before dinner to have a cocktail and view the orchid show but I was stuck on a conference call and didn’t get out of the hospital until six.
L’Albatros is Zack Bruell’s french bistro restaurant. Bruell is by far our favorite Cleveland chef. We have been to L’Albatros quite a few times over the years, especially enjoying it in the summer as its patio is perfect. We quickly made our way to the bar where I had a Maker’s Mark manhattan and Courtney had a Palm on draft. We made our way to our table about 30 minutes later. We ordered a nice bottle of white burgundy which is our celebratory wine of choice these days… especially when eating French bistro food. Courtney had a chopped salad full of sous vide chicken, blue cheese and other goodies. I had the spiced carrot soup which was nice and creamy and garnished with roasted almonds. Both were excellent. Courtney had the salmon and lentils for an entree and I had a platter of raw oysters. We have dreams about the salmon and lentils. It is so simple: roasted salmon, perfectly cooked green lentils and a bit of Bearnaise sauce. It is always so good. Perfection. We decided to skip dessert as we were on our way to the Cleveland Museum of Art for some more drinks and culture.
Scotti’s is an Italian place on East 185th Street that has been there for years. I haven’t been there in probably ten years. My Dad took Sophie and I out on Friday as everyone else was at Cedar Point and my Mom was out with friends. We hoped to sit out on the patio but rain forced us to sit inside. We had a really good dinner I’m happy to say. We had salads with the house dressing. Sophia had a pepperoni calzone that was nice and crispy, my dad had veal parmesean and I had chicken marsala. The chicken was crispy and tender and the sauce was perfect with lots of mushrooms. It also came with a side of garlic mashed potatoes that was tasty. Scotti came and sat with us for awhile and talked volleyball with him as he coached his girls. Will definately be heading back more often.
EatOnEdgecliff Rating: B+ (take credit cards and that might increase a bit)
After an action packed day we ended up in Dupont Circle where I made a reservation at Firefly after looking through Open Table reviews. It turned out to be a good pick. We had a dinner reservation for 7:30 but still had to wait 20 minutes for a table as the place was hopping. It was a beautiful evening and everyone was out. After having a beer at the bar we eventually made it to our table. For firsts, Jack had a bowl of matzah ball soup and Courtney and I split a plate of shrimp and grits. The shrimp and grits were great – creamy and cheesey. I don’t think I have ever had grits before… I like them. For seconds Jack had a plate of sausage and greens, Courtney had a vegetable casserole of braised endive, asian mushrooms and other veggies over polenta and I had a soft shell crab. All were good. The soft shell crab was a work of art. I wish I would have taken a picture. It tasted as good as it looked – crispy, chewy and just a little bit spicy. One of the best dishes I have had in a long time. We skipped dessert and had ice cream at a place a few blocks down the street.
After walking and walking and walking we stopped for lunch at Pizza Paradiso in Georgetown. Courtney was happy and officially declared it vacation as she had a peroni on draft for lunch. We split a big salad of greens, white beans and artichokes and ordered two big pizzas…a margarita and one with pepperoni. The margarita was the best…it always is. The pizzas were very good; crust nice and crispy and charred, chewy in the center, with fresh mozarella and just a small amount of sauce. Just the way we like it. Again, a good place to be.
I made a reservation at Graffiato about three or four weeks ago once we knew for sure when we were going. Graffiato is Top Chef contestant Mike Isabella’s restauraunt in China Town and is a hot ticket. It reminds me a lot of Cleveland’s Lola but a lot more casual. Everything is small plates and we tried a lot of good stuff. We split six plates: red and yellow beats with a citrus sauce; flatbread with pepperoni sauce; a platter of six different cheeses that we chose; hangar steak with a green sauce served with little chunks of deep fried polenta (mmmmmm); pecorino tortellini with peas, pea tendrils and mint; and salmon served over a bean puree with arthichokes and capers. All were excellent. We split three desserts: chocolate cake with salted caramel gelato; blood orange cheesecake with passion fruit sauce; and a serving of mango sorbet. Again, all were excellent.