"For us, Cleveland is at the beginning of it's glory and we love a good Renaissance."
Chef / owner Jonathan Sawyer, a passionate Clevelander, moved back to his beloved hometown from NYC in 2007. In 2009 he opened The Greenhouse Tavern in what is now the hip and bustling East 4th Street dining district.
".....at a time when everyone thought we were nuts. Cleveland was getting killed by the economy and our friends in the bigger cities thought we were secretly drunk. We knew something they didn't. We knew that the spirit of Cleveland was back and bigger than ever. We took the risk on Cleveland."
This year, Sawyer took home The James Beard Award for BEST CHEF: GREAT LAKES!
This was our last night in the CLE and we went out with a bang. As we made our way through a majority of this innovative menu, there were some hits and some misses.
The crispy chicken wings confit with roasted jalapeno, lemon juice, scallion and garlic were a hit all around. Later on though, the chef sends out a bucket of Tabasco chicken and it's game on. This is the chicken you want to be eating for sure. It's crispy, juicy and fall off the bone ridiculously good fried chicken.
The animal style frites with bacon, fried eggs, whole grain mustard, mozz curd and brown gravy and the fried brussels sprouts with maple aioli, lemon, fresh mint and raw onion were my favorites. The crispy sprouts have outstanding flavor, and the frites are basically a glorified poutine. These are the dishes I simply can.not.stop.eating.
Those of us who drank cocktails found them lackluster. They don't have a bar menu online, and I can't recall all the ingredients - there was one featuring Aperol that barely has any trace, and mine (pictured) had me searching for the bourbon. Local brews seem to be the best bet, a can of New Cleveland Palesner - a part pale ale, part pilsner gets the job done.
As far as entrees go, the pig head comes coated in bbq sauce with a raw vegetable salad, brioche buns, lime and lettuce. I struggled with this one! It was prepared well but the meat being particularly fatty, I wasn't crazy about it. Others however, devoured it. I had really high hopes for my house made black pepper buccatini - with ohio beef jerky, percorino and grated farm egg bottarga. The hollow pasta noodles were cooked to a satisfying al dente, but they got lost in the rich, smokey beef jerky sauce. The dish was way to jerky heavy for me the more I consumed. The Smoked Pork Tonkotsu Syle Ramen with white cabbage, scallion and crispy pork didn't actually look like a ramen noodle soup. One dining companion cleans her plate while another barely touches it, remarking,"it's not ramen." Overall, the appetizers nail it while the entrees leave us wanting.
The buttered popcorn pot de creme with caramel and sea salt is smooth and creamy with bold flavors, ending our meal on a high note!
The Greenhouse Tavern
Gateway District / E 4th St
Gateway District / E 4th St