5 Must-Try Dishes to Bookmark for #CLE Restaurant Week

Cleveland Restaurant Week may be winding down this Friday, March 16, but there's still plenty of time to get your culinary kicks in the 216. For this twice-yearly promotion, participating restaurants offer three-course prix fixe menus for $33 (plus tax and gratuity)—as well as some of their most innovative eats and treats. Bookmark these bites for optimal enjoyment:
  

Nighttown
Connie Schultz loves them, and you will, too. We’re talking about the Halloumi Kabobs—a staple at this Cleveland Heights jazz joint-slash-dining destination. This vegetarian dish combines all the usual kabob suspects (onions, peppers, and mushrooms) with Cyprian sheep and goat’s milk cheese, served with chive oil over citrus couscous and steamed asparagus. (Full menu here.)


Alley Cat Oyster Bar
Though Alley Cat Oyster Bar’s Restaurant Week menu is curiously devoid of oysters, the other seafood selections make it very much worth the trip to the Flats East Bank. Kick off the feast with pho-pork dumplings, then dig into the main course with Zack Bruell's addictive take on Blue Cod, made Mexican saltimbocca-style and served with sweet-and-sour cauliflower. (Full menu here.)


Flying Fig
Chef Karen Small’s recent James Beard nomination should make the Flying Fig an automatic checkmark on your Restaurant Week hit list, but if you’re still on the fence, let the Country Pork Ribs seal the deal. Spicy rhubarb barbecue sauce sets apart this rib dish—which consists of braised-then-grilled Ohio pork ribs from Fredericktown-based Dee Jays butcher shop, served with spicy slaw of local Rainbow Farms cabbage and lightly roasted fingerling potatoes. Round out the meal with Midwestern flair by ordering Ohio-grown Killbuck Valley mushroom pate for the first course and a Michigan sour cherry pudding pot for dessert. (Full menu here.)


Photo: Edsel LittleSpice Kitchen
There’s a reason the Mushroom Beignets are mentioned four times more than any other dish in Spice Kitchen’s Yelp reviews—this dish is legit. One of the only year-round dishes at this seasonally-focused spot, these fried wonders are served with honey goat cheese crème fraiche. You could try to replicate the recipe yourself at home, but why not go for the real thing during Restaurant Week? (Full menu here.)


Nuevo Modern Mexican
The Rock Hall inductions are just around the corner, and what better place to toast their return to Cleveland than adjacent Nuevo Modern Mexican? Start off on the right note with Coca-Cola beef empanadas, followed by flavorful Pork Flank Steak marinated in achiote and citrus. If you’re feeling flush with Restaurant Week savings, splurge on the $100 Margarita del Siglo—made with French Bordeaux wine barrel-aged Gran Patrón Burdeos and Grand Marnier 100. (Full menu here.)

 

Read more articles by Jen Jones Donatelli.

As a Cleveland native and enthusiast, Jen Jones Donatelli is thrilled to take on the managing editor role at FreshWater. As a full-time freelance writer and editor for more than a decade, Jen has contributed to publications including Redbook, Budget Travel, GOOD, Playboy, Thrillist, Cleveland Magazine, Los Angeles Confidential, San Francisco, Ohio Today, and many more. She is also a contributing editor for Destination Cleveland and a proud graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.
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