Cedar Lodge Steakhouse and Grille, Barnes, 9/14/18 and 10/14/18

building
building

Cedar Lodge Steakhouse and Grille started in 2009 in the location that used to be called “Downtown Barnes”  Owners Collen and Scott Ruhman spent a good bit of time updating and remodeling and adding to the original location.   It is a good sized building that houses a large u-shaped bar in a room that also has room for a couple tables, games and lounge furniture in front of a fireplace.  It opens into the main dining room that is fairly bright with soft background music.  The only televisions are in the bar area.  Bare wood tables are polished to a high shine and fitted with comfortable chairs.  Flat-paint plum walls work well with the copper metallic shiny ceiling.  Walls are decorated with paintings and other objects.  The full bar is available for order in the dining room and they provided a better than average wine list.  The large menu was supplemented by a daily special offering.  All dinner plates come with a trip to the salad bar that also offers a housemade soup, as well as seasonal vegetable and a choice of side dish.  Our friendly server, Denise, turned out to be the owner’s sister and helped steer our order.   Continue reading

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

Petra and the Beast, Dallas, 9/1/18

entrance
entrance

Petra and the Beast opened last April and is two restaurants in one.  During the week (closed Monday and Tuesday)  they have a chalkboard menu where everything is a la carte for lunch and dinner but on Saturday night they produce a tasting menu for 18 lucky people.   This menu included things not on the regular menu and changes every week.  Seating was communal with 3 tables each seating 6.  It is BYOB at all times.  We were there for the Saturday evening tasting.  The building used to be a service station but chef Misti Norris has transformed the space into a pleasant space decorated with dried herbs and flowers and lots of jars of ingredients.  A high tin ceiling was above the exposed ductwork and the bare wood tables, set with metal chairs, were all slightly different.   It was a setting full of hard surfaces and so the noise level could be a bit high.  Seating was not assigned so it’s a fun opportunity to meet some new people also interested in food.  Arrival time was 7:00 but then there was a period for you to look around and enjoy a welcome cocktail, which is given to you after you’d taken care of the evening’s payment.   Continue reading

Garmisch Restaurant, Cable, 8/28/18

exterior
exterior

Garmisch Inn Restaurant is in the main lodge of the Garmisch USA 65 acre resort.  It is a large complex, where the main lodge and many of the guest homes date back to the 1920’s when they were built for a wealthy Chicago family’s vacation retreat.  The large dining room overlooks the south shore of Lake Namakagon.  It was completely paneled in wood with large wood columns and beams in the ceiling.  Some art hung on the walls but the main decorative touch was the curved window that looked out on the lake the the surrounding woods of the Chequamegon forest. The well spaced white clothed tables were set with black napkins and heavy weight flatware.  The larger tables were in the center of the room and the walls were lined with tables for 2-4.  The lights were lowered.  An equal sized bar was off to the end with the bathrooms in between.  On the way you pass a spiral staircase that led down to guest rooms.  They had a large menu with some German specialties. Service was super friendly and accommodating. Our server Bree had just been there 2 weeks but she couldn’t have made our meal more fun. Continue reading