Cleveland, Ohio       Date of Visit: 06/10/11       

Dinner with long lost friends. We should do it up big. Especially since they seem to be way into trying new places or new things so we thought we would hit another Tremont area spot in Cleveland. All of us had heard good things about Fahrenheit. It’s right up the street from A Cookie and A Cupcake, Soklowski’s, Fat Cats, and Lolita (which we have enjoyed but not officially visited yet). Trying not to use the valet we took an extensive tour of the area and actually got to walk by some of the more Bohemian art galleries (shops) with folks just hanging out on the sidewalks and music blaring from the doors. It reminded me of South Street in Philadelphia.


The Reason To Go To Fahrenheit

We stepped into the dark and loud restaurant and much to our surprise (Sorry, Timmy) our friends were waiting for us. I just felt like there should be some proof in writing. You were not only ahead of us, you were probably early…just in case you needed to prove it to someone else…think of this as a deposition. The first thing I noticed was that when anyone passed our table the floor would rock enough to measure on the Richter Scale. We got used to it as the night went on but I was worried we might finish our meal in the basement with the aliens. (Sorry, you had to be there) Our server came to our table and I kept detecting hints of our neighbors to the North, it was when he said "aboot" instead of "about" I had to know, and he confessed. I don’t think of being Canadian as a bad thing but asking about it might have been. Service started pretty well but systematically declined through the evening. Got too busy, got too bored, incensed about being outed as a perfectly acceptable citizen? Don’t know. Without the back waiters, he would have been in real trouble.



Lobster Roll 3-Ways...But All Of Things Are Just Like The Others


Thai Spring Rolls Were Great With The Sauce and Veg

See, There Aren't That Many Of Them. Order Two, or Three, or....


We were super excited about the appetizers, maybe even more so than the entrees, so we each ordered one to pass around the table. Our choices were Bacon Wrapped, Chorizo Stuffed Sweet Dates with Roasted Tomato Aioli; Vietnamese Chicken Spring Rolls, with Bibb Lettuce,  a Cucumber Salad, and a shot glass of Hong Kong Dipping Sauce. New England Lobster Roll Trio, of Fresh Maine Lobster, one with a Caper Aioli, one with Cucumbers, and one with Tomato Concasse, all on Brioche rolls. Lastly, a Roasted Beet Salad, with Toasted Hazelnuts, Baby Greens, Balsamic Dressing, Goat Cheese and Crispy Shallots. Working backwards, the salad was mediocre at best. A nice blend of greens and a pretty good vinaigrette, we ended up playing of game of hunt for the beets, and hazelnuts. The shallots were nice but the goat cheese was longing for a tang of goatiness that just wasn’t there. The lobster rolls were also just okay at best. The only one that I could distinguish from the others was due only to the capers, the everything else tasted the same. No matter what you do it is never going to be as good as they are in New England where big chunks of lobster are dressed and put in a toasted roll. Simple, super fresh, hard to replicate. The spring rolls were a vast improvement but honestly needed the dipping sauce and the cucumbers and pickled ginger to approach something special. Once you mixed everything together it was a really good dish. The first thing we tried was easily the best of the night. A fig stuffed with Mexican sausage, wrapped in thick bacon and sitting atop a sweetened roasted tomato mayo. Oh my my!!! While the pairing sounds odd you don’t really notice any of the components as they meld together into something so much greater than the parts. All night long we talked about ordering more. “Do you want dessert? Can we get figs for dessert?” I will never go to this place and not have my own order of these fruit/meat nuggets, probably more than one.


Boring Scallops, Fantastic Risotto

Excellent Steak and Sides

Short Ribs, but The Noodles Made the Dish

Superlatively Done Lamb and Greek Salad

The biggest thing that struck me about the entrees was the quality of the meat. Every protein on the table was of an outstanding quality that really shined. We shared Kobe Beef “Short Ribs” with Teriyaki Lo-Mein Noodles, Baby Bok Choy, Roasted Mushrooms, Ginger Soy Reduction, and an Apple Glaze. A Pat LaFreida New York City Strip Steak, atop a Roasted Shallot-Boursin Mashed Potato, dripping with a Garlic Rosemary Butter,  and Asparagus. Pan Seared Sea Scallops, on Mushroom-Asparagus Risotto, with a Truffle Balsamic Glaze And lastly a Grilled Lamb Loin, with Crispy Salt and Herb French Fries, a Greek Salad of Tomato, Feta and Olives,  and a Lemon-Dill-Mustard Dressing.

The Scallops were beautiful scallops. Cooked to a perfect internal temperature. But beyond that they were horribly boring. There was no sear on the scallops offering no textural contrast and the balsamic didn’t accomplish the job of making them interesting or better than any one of us would regularly whoop up at home. The dish wasn’t a complete waste however. Keep the scallops…give me more risotto! This stuff was my favorite side on the table. Perfectly cooked, strong flavors without anything being invasive. The shrooms and the asparagus…I wonder if you can order it without the scallops. I’ll have four. The short ribs were exceptionally done where even the bits of fat cap (I am a cut the fat off and leave it kind of guy, never a give me that piece of fat guy) had been braised into something I could mix into the meat and enjoy instead of wretch. Really nice. The lo-mein noodles were where the real flavor in this dish resided. Bright Asian tones of ginger, teriyaki, lemongrass etc. were absolutely delicious.

Both the steak and the lamb loin were great ingredients and done to perfection. Since I don’t often find great lamb, it was probably my favorite for the night. The fries were sort of a throwaway but good enough. The salad was a nifty addition to the lamb with all of its tangy and pungent flavors elevating the light gaminess of the loin. Just a great combination. The steak was a perfect mid rare and the compound butter oozed over the steak an into the potatoes. Mix all three together and there was really nothing else you would want in a steak. The potatoes were more subtly flavored than I expected but that wasn’t a bad thing. You could make out the shallot and cheese but neither overpowered the other or the starch. I know the pairings are done by the chef for a complete plate but if I had my druthers I would order the lamb and Greek salad with the risotto, mash, and teriyaki noodles. And four servings of the figs.

Éclairs Were Super Sweet But Perfectly So

The Debate About the Sorbet Was Between Ehhhhh & Disgusting. Not Good.

We thought we would try a couple desserts and ordered two sorbets and the Mascarpone Stuffed Eclaires with Chocolate sauce and truffle honey. The éclairs were way way sweet. I typically don’t care for super sweet unless it is done exceptionally well and we all kept talking about how sweet it was…and then going back for another fork full. The cheese was dense and rich, the honey added a thoughtful sweetness, and the chocolate sauce confirmed it’s dessert status. The sorbets were another story. We ordered a black pepper and mint sorbet. When we got it there was no black pepper and lots of coconut. I don’t like coconut. Turns out our server had misread the label. To top it off they had apparently waved a mint leaf in the air over the liquid before freezing because that is all the mint we could suss out of the glass. We also ordered a chocolate-chocolate chip sorbet. I was curious. Chocolate sorbet? Frozen chocolate water? Okay let’s see. I found the dish mediocre. Mildly interesting but nothing I would order again. Our female companions didn’t agree. They hated it. Passionately. Every dessert was accompanied by blueberries. Every dessert, whether it made sense or not. Maybe they were on sale at the West Side Market earlier.

Fahrenheit has well above average food, varied service, an interesting space and a lot of buzz. Not everything was above average but you can’t go wrong with any protein and the sides are almost better. When it comes to dessert, order the figs and avoid the let down. Or just order the figs for all three courses, I just might.




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