Cleveland’s amazing West Side Market turns 100 years old and celebrates tomorrow with a great big bash of chefs and food. Greenhouse Tavern’s Jonathon Sawyer had it right when he called it “a cathedral of meat.” Right on! The building itself, completed in 1912, one of the few municipally owned and continuously running markets in the country, is flanked by vegetable venders. Cheese and dairy run the inside north wall. Nuts and prepared food and pastry run the southern boundary. Kate’s Fish on the eastern side of the market sells pristine fish. Near her, I buy coriander seed, curries, and pink salt from Narrin Carlberg’s amazing spice booth. French lentils and other spices are on the west side of the cathedral, across from Sawyer’s Noodlecat, selling steamed buns and fresh ramen. Can we just take Sawyer’s Read On »

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  On Saturday night in Cambridge, on a young friend’s recommendation, we dined at The Russell House Tavern, near Harvard Square, where chef Michael Scelfo and his mischievous band of cooks put out excellent high-end tavern fare. I was delighted when my 13-year-old son perused the menu and immediately asked, “Can we get the charcuterie board?” This question has only one correct response. I especially appreciated Scelfo’s pork rillettes, which were topped with a creamy layer of duck fat. Scelfo has a menu that would seem to be designed exactly for me, with items such as “Pig’s Head Cake” and “Crispy Pork Belly Sandwich,” but also deviled eggs and superb fried oysters. But it was the fact that he, like so many other chefs, offered charcuterie. Indeed the charcuterie or salumi board is now ubiquitous in American Read On »

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  My Dinner with Pardus Originally posted July 31, 2008 Do you have any veal hearts?” Pardus asked. The vendor, with happiness and surprise, said, “I do!” He pulled it out of the cooler and said, “How about five bucks?” “Sold!” What happens when a chef visits for the weekend? My old instructor and now close friend Mike Pardus (pronounced PAR-dus—some people think because he’s a chef, it’s pronounced par-DOO) visited recently. The main fact about Michael is that he is a cook in every fiber of his body, meaning, in part, that when he’s away from his work as a chef instructor at the CIA, when he can do anything he wants because he’s on holiday, he chooses to cook all day. Which is what we did. An impromptu meal, Cleveland style. The occasion Read On »

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Restaurants have flourished in Cleveland over the past decade.  Michael Symon’s places are nationally know; Donna and I had a great summer meal al fresco at Doug Katz’s Fire Food and Drink on Friday (does the best brunch in Cleveland, too), finally got to eat some great food truck food last night from Chris Hodgon, and the place that makes me so happy these days: The Greenhouse Tavern.  They hand grind beef to order for tartare, roast chickens en croute, serve humble clams with snooty foie gras, and roast whole hogs heads and serve them on the bone.  Defiant cuisine in a meat-and-potatoes I-want-my-burger-well-done town.  Or used to be.  No longer. Thanks to everyone mentioned here, and the too many others to even list. We ate one here one night last spring and Donna was Read On »

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I’ve been loving Jonathon Sawyer‘s Greenhouse Tavern in downtown Cleveland recently and after a joyous meal there not too long ago Donna asked to hang out and shoot.  She’ll be posting a gallery soon but the above is of one of my favorite dishes to eat, period. I can almost never help myself from ordering it when I see it on the menu. It’s also something that’s inexpensive and great to serve at home, and easy if you have a grinder (or a sharp knife—some of the best tartare I’ve had is roughly chopped beef).  Chef Brian Reilly (pictured above) made it for us the other day. Greenhouse grinds beef tenderloin to order with an old fashioned hand crank grinder, seasons it with salt and pepper and olive oil, puts a soft poached egg on Read On »

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