Thursday, March 28, 2013

Solay Bistro

Lets say you had 2 good meals – One, your favorite aunt who is a kick-ass cook invited you to try one of her new recipes. And two – you went to some good Italian eatery for dinner. Both might have had good food. But the first meal also had an unpretentious, homey and welcoming feeling. Something that is very hard to find these days- with all the chain restaurants in business. But that’s exactly how I felt at Solay Bistro.

I was searching for some new unique eats and I found this listed as “Somalian” cuisine. I was pretty excited to try new food! First of all – its in the corner of a strip mall…so I was little hesitant while entering. But to my relief, it had a very simple and clean décor. Then a lady welcomed us who we later found out is the owner as well as the cook too. The menu is a combination of Ethiopian + Indian +Mediterranean+ Arabic (sounding?) dishes. The owner/ cook/ waitress/ awesome lady patiently explained to us the dishes and helped us finalize the order. 

For the appetizer, we had “Potato Cutlets”. Conceptually, this is very similar to Indian “Vada” or American “Hush Puppies” but taste wise, this is the “lightest” Potato appetizer I ever had in my life. I will crave for these whenever I get hungry for the next 6 months! Simple and Delicious! I did not care for chutney or sauce though.

We ordered 2 traditional Somali entrees – “Hilib Arii” (Goat meat) and “KK with Chicken”. Both were pretty good. KK came with lots of veggies – it was pretty close to Arabic while Goat meat was pretty close to Indian flavors. KK was served with “Anjeero” – traditional Somali naan/bread/pita. The awesome lady came to ask us about our dinner and we ended up chatting for 10 mins!

She explained to us about the origin of our dishes, told us about how she runs the restaurant etc etc. I really loved the way she connects to and cares about her customers. Actually, I must say she treats them as if they are guests who have been invited to  her house to try new dishes!

I would highly recommend this – for the experience. I am not going to say that food is “astonishing” – but the “meal” is!
Solay Bistro on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cowell & Hubbard

This is an excellent addition to downtown’s fancy food scene! Zach Bruell keeps wowing us – again and again! The first time I visited here – I was thrilled to try French cuisine. When I left, I had this sudden positive attitude towards life – you know like when you are absolutely content with what just happened in the last 2 hours!

I respect ZB. My stomach and taste buds respect ZB – a lot! He maintains the whole “Cleveland love” theme by naming this restaurant after a local 1920’s jewelry shop. Its ambiance has that downtown chic look ....maybe a little too dark for me, but who cares if the food tastes good!
The menu is pretty arduous to choose from. One, I have no clue about many of the French culinary terms. And second, I felt like ordering every item on the menu! Each is  eye-catching and very hunger-provoking! But I bet you will be very content even if you order randomly!

We ordered “La Poire Boheme” and “Peach Pomme Grenade"– these were real drinks – not overpriced tasteless watered down drinks.

Then comes the ZB bread ( I say that coz its same bread as served in Chinato) – very light n crispy crust.

For appetizer, we decided to go with “Beef Ceviche” – which I thought was a weird dish for French restaurant. But then may be ZB never said this is exclusive French! There comes a extremely colorful plate….the beef is raw but very very tender. And it has papaya in it!! I cannot not remember the last time I had papaya! That is the one ingredient that makes this ceviche so unique and mind blowingly refreshing!

For  entrée -  “Lamb breast in Moroccan spices with yougurt & cous cous” – I took my first bite and it’s a  divine orgasm in mouth! Exquisite lamb, simple but savory cous cous : perfect plate! You don’t know what you are missing until you try this!
“Red Fish with Gnudi”  I think the portion for this entrée was little too large. But that Gnudi was heavenly! It almost melts in your mouth.
“Butter Poached Radishes” – nothing goes wrong with butter!

We had “Lavender Ice cream” for dessert. I wish at this point I would have something negative to say – but I just don’t! An uncomplicated bowl of splendor!
Don’t wait for that special night – try this tonight! It is little expensive – but its every cent worth it! If you are into diet or are calorie conscious – fuck all that and go eat here! Its every calorie worth it!
Thank you ZB!
Cowell & Hubbard on Urbanspoon