Dante is a restaurant, club, sushi bar and much more in the Tremont area of Cleveland where much renovation is underway. The main restaurant that started 8 years ago was in an old bank building, complete with in-vault dining table. In fact tables are tucked into to many unique spaces, including one behind the bar. It was fairly dark with a wall dividing the light wood dining tables from the bar area. Lots of art lined the walls and interesting chandeliers hung from the ceiling, but add minimal light, made from what appeared to be dripping glass. They offered an a la carte menu as well as a surprise 5 or 7 course tasting menus with optional wine pairings. We opted for the 7 courses (most not on the menu) with wine pairings which were quite generous.
We started with a couple of their specialty cocktails, a Barrel Aged negroni with Vim and Petal gin, campari and Dolin Blanc Vermouth. It was good. Also an “Excuse me Cuz” which was Floh pink grapefruit and dragonfruit vodka, Giffard Framboise, lychee and prosecco and really good. Bread service included a sourdough, olive or multigrain varieties all served with a hummus. All the breads were a soft interior with a crisp crust and tasty. The hummus was very nice too.
Tuna Tartare was served with jalapeño purée, radish and pinenuts. It was nicely spicy and all the parts blended well. The tuna was soft and smooth and the jalapeño purée was a perfect accompaniment.
Burrata came with a Green Vegetable Salad made with English peas, asparagus, arugula and spinach. The burrata was mild and creamy and mixed well with the aioli on the greens. It was topped with some crispy chips that added another textural component to the tasty dish. It felt light with lots of great flavors.
Polenta ravioli was served on creamed corn and filled with short rib meat. It was topped with cilantro, basil, shallots and corn. They were tender bits of flavor explosions. It was terrific.
A Diver scallop on top of a Romesco sauce was served alongside pork belly and crisp roasted fennel. The scallop was cooked perfectly and the sauce blended in well. The pork belly was a particularly fatty piece but absolutely full of flavor. This was a delicious plate.
A baby lamb chop was served on couscous with a stone fruit compote, poached onions, micro greens and mint. The lamb was perfectly cooked and the various flavors combined well. Everything really worked together to produce a really fun plate.
A New York Strip steak was served with basil spinach purée, chanterelles (from Ohio), potatoes, zucchini and a veal demi glace. Apparently one of the chefs found the mushrooms and while cleaning them was bitten by a brown recluse spider. He is now fine but it made them even more special to eat. The chanterelles and potatoes were amazing, the meat tender enough with good beef flavor and the zucchini were okay. Another fun plate.
For a transition course we had a watermelon and lime zest sorbet. It was fresh, wonderful and very good.
We had two different desserts. A vegan cheesecake was on a caramelized fig crust and topped with an orange sorbet. It was different but would only rate an okay.
A chocolate panna cotta was topped with strawberry sorbet. The sorbet was better than the panna cotta which was a bit cloying. Not great either but we were pretty full at this point, so that was just fine.
After the meal the General Manager, Phil Hockey, was kind enough to show us through the other parts of the restaurant – the sushi bar (Ginko), party room (Next Door), rock and roll room (Coda) – and the kitchen. Noise from one part didn’t bleed into the others and there were tables everywhere, from the bank vault of the dining room to a table stuck behind one of the bars. Fun place!