For Saturday dinner, Mrs. Bfast w/Nick and I peeled off from the Positively Cleveland group in order to do some exploring on our own. We had two particular restaurants on our radar: Noodlecat and The Greenhouse Tavern. Both are located a block from our hotel in the East Fourth Street neighborhood.
Since this trip was one of my first major visits to Cleveland, I wanted to stop at both restaurants. The connection between them is that they’re owned by Chef Jonathon Sawyer, one of the more high-profile chefs in Cleveland. I’ve been drooling over their instagram feeds for quite some time, and many trusted friends had written about the spots, so it was time to go. Our reservation at Greenhouse Tavern wasn’t until later in the evening, so we pre-gamed it at Noodlecat, which was much less busy.
After a bite at Noodlecat, we strolled around downtown, and then made our way to Greenhouse Tavern for our reservation. Let me just apologize up front for the picture quality. The restaurant was so dark that it was hard to really capture what we ate. Think of this more as documenting our meal, because it was one of the more unique ones we’ve had in recent memory. Overall, our experience was very good. The server was talkative but very casual and willing to answer any questions we had. He made some solid drink recommendations and then walked us through the menu. The Mrs. and I ended up splitting the tasting menu, so here’s the blow-by-blow. First was a simple amuse bouche of tomato, herbs, and cheese on a crostini.
The first course was the devils on horseback, which are dates wrapped in bacon. It’s hard to go wrong with either of those things, and the GHT version uses chocolate and roasted peppers, which offsets the sweet dates with a slightly bitter and smokey taste.
Our second course was the foie gras steamed clams, easily our favorite part of the meal. The broth was simply amazing, a rich, savory, salty blend of the foie gras, butter, red onions, and some of their house vinegar. It was one of those meals where you simply have to eat every possible bite of it. The clams were steamed perfectly, and after we finished mopping up the broth with the grilled bread, we used our spoons to scoop up the rest.
I convinced Mrs. Bfast w/Nick to order the roasted pig head for our third course. We had to have the server walk us through the dish first (“No organs, no eyes, no brains.”) and point out where to find the best meat. It takes a little getting used to (I had to strategically position the platter so it wasn’t “staring” at the Mrs.), but once you start pulling it apart, it’s like a giant mound of pulled pork. All of the meat and fat was super tender; it came apart easily and we piled it on the house-made brioche to make simple pulled pork sandwiches. It was all well-seasoned, and the outside had a delicious caramelized crisp to it. It’s well worth ordering, at least once.
Then we finished the meal with the buttered popcorn pot de creme, a small cup of custard that was stunningly rich. It was swirled with caramel and a little sea salt. We ate it slowly, to savor every sweet and creamy bite of it, and then we scraped the cup clean.
All in all, a couple delicious and adventurous meals. I look forward to hitting them up again when we’re next in Cleveland (especially a big bowl of ramen at Noodlecat). Both places are well worth visiting if you’re in town.
If you want to visit: