Restaurant Dante, Cleveland, 9/5/18

building
building

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.   Continue reading

Pier W, Cleveland, 9/5/18

outside
outside

Pier W has been around since 1965 and specializes in seafood.  Built to resemble the hull of a luxury liner as it overlooked Lake Erie.  It has a large dining room for 165 as well as a large cocktail lounge/bar area and some smaller party rooms.  The view through  windows on the end of the dining room allowed diners to watch ships, kayaks and the downtown Cleveland skyline while they ate.  There is also a large outdoor patio on top of the dining space that provided more view of the rocky cliffs on either side of the restaurant.  The lovely dining room is a combination of booths and tables all covered in white clothes and napkins.  Between the carpet, wood on the walls, ceiling tiles and padded wood chairs there was enough dampening that noise was not an issue.  Fish and nautical art covered the walls.  In the end of the room opposite the windows was the glassed in cocktail lounge that had tables as well as bar stools.   Continue reading

Johnny’s Bar on Fulton, Cleveland, 9/4/18

outside
outside

Johnny’s Bar opened in the 1920’s as Louise’s Garden and was renamed Johnny’s Bar in 1952.  It has been in the same family for much of that time and that sense of tradition and neighborhood business provided the guest with a feeling that you’ve discovered a gem of Cleveland.  It looked like a cozy dive from the street with the deco sign on a building that dates to 1917, but inside there was an old school elegance complete with white cloth covered tables accented with black napkins, a large bar area and animal print carpet.  There are other dining rooms as well as a lovely patio named for the originator Louise (whose son Johnny took over).  The large menu was a la carte with a couple nightly specials and our helpful and friendly server knew about the various options and could provide wonderful descriptions as well as help to steer your choices.  There is a good sized wine list with more options than are listed.  We simply described what we were looking for to the owner  Bo Santosuosso with a price range and then he came up with an excellent choice.   Continue reading

L’Albatros Brasserie and Bar, Cleveland, 9/4/18

entrance
entrance

L’Albatros is a large place spread over numerous rooms.  Its setting is an old carriage house on the campus of Case Western Reserve University.  You entered by the open part of the kitchen with the oldest of the dining rooms straight ahead.  We were instead ushered into a newer room that was lined on one side by windows looking out to the patio.  Music played in  the background but sound was well dampened by the acoustic ceiling tiles.  Plastic tables and chairs were heavy gauge and not covered with tableclothes but did have cloth napkins.  The well worn menu offered just a la carte options and the changing options included the soup and pasta of the day.  Service was friendly and helpful but didn’t include a lot of explanation of the food, which overall lacked a spark.   Continue reading