The Greenhouse Tavern
 Cleveland, Ohio             Date of Visit: 05/15/10   

Now I have a confession to make, I first heard about this place on the Food Network…yes, that’s right, I watch foody tv like an old lady with 40 cats watches the Jesus channel. When the Guilty Pleasures episode of a show aired and the first guest was Chef Symon I remembered back ten years ago when he reported his personal then was the Roman Burger. Apparently the guilty pleasure has gone upscale. He had something new on his mind and EKG, the gravy frites at the place right next to his on E. 4th in Cleveland. Watching the care taken to prepare these “fries” I knew eventually I would have to sample. Well friends, 8 of us spread 8 tasting menus around the table so this may take a while. The dining room is sort of swanky but this was not for us. We descended into the basement, into the kitchen, and dined on the table upon which our meals had been butchered in house hours before. We were assured they had been sterilized. To be honest, I am more comfortable in the loud, smokier, kitchen with the help. Plus it reminds me of what I enjoyed in kitchens without having to endure long grinding services to remember what makes it so tough.



House Bread and Rillette

Our server was knowledgeable and efficient. We are a group who is very chatty and while our server was busy and we were annoying, it’s his job to hide that until he’s in the walk-in or loading dock which he didn’t have the patience for this night. The whole place, however, is a nice mix of very good to excellent food in a relaxed atmosphere. If you are downstairs the sound track is from the chef's ipod, tonight mostly the Beatles and Michael Jackson. Okay, just so you have some grasp of my hedonistic gluttony for the evening here is what I either tasted or devoured, like I said, this will take a while.

House Made Fromage Blanc w/ fresh thyme, olive oil & grilled bread;
Red Wine Braised Olives w/ crushed fennel seed, niçoise, alfonso & coquina olives;
Devils on Horseback w/ dee-jay's bacon wrapped dates, almonds, bitter chocolate & roasted
    fresno pepper;
Artichokes à la Grecque w/ charred eggplant puree, pearl onion confit, pickled carrot & chablis
Fifth Quarter w/ tasty bits;

Deep Breath...

  Crispy Chicken Wings Confit w/ roasted jalapeño, lemon juice, scallions & garlic;
Braised Lamb Shank Ravioli w/ fromage blanc, soft herb salad & bread crumbs;
Half Roasted Chicken in Brioche Bread w/ sliced garlic, garlic chives, parsley & jus;
Steak Frites w/ ohio beef bistro steak, pommes frites & bordelaise or béarnaise;
Pan Fried Pork Chop Saltimbocca w/ sage, country ham, pommes purée & red eye gravy;
Whole Roasted Ohio Lamb Crepinette w/ wild ohio ramps, yogurt, lentils, crispy lamb skin,
    cumin & fresno chilies

Deep Breath...

Roasted Small Tomatoes w/ tomato butter, toasted bread crumbs & parmesan;
Frisée Side Salad w/ pickled red onions, frisée, duck fat croutons & lake erie creamery goat cheese;
Beluga Lentils w/ chives, capers & preserved lemon charmoula;
Gravy Frites w/ pommes frites, mozzarella cheese curd & brown gravy;
Animal Style Frites w/ fried bacon, two fried eggs, whole grain mustard, mozzarella cheese curd &
     brown gravy;

One More Breath...

Braised Olives

Frisee Salad

Fabulous Wings

Devils on Horseback


Carmel Milk Chocolate Pot de Crème
   Valrhona jivara lactee chocolate, chocolate
   mousseline, caramel, chocolate straw & fleur
   de sel;
Carmel Apple Rum Raisin Crepe Olive oil
   crepe filled with vanilla bean infused house
   fromage, caramel apple rum raisin compote &
   browned almonds;
Vegan Grapefruit Sauvignon Blanc
Fresh berries, candied citrus peel &

That's it...I think. Things got a little fuzzy.

House-made Cheese

Roasted Tomatoes

Lamb Ravioli

The Infamous Gravy Frites

I am beginning to worry not just for my blood pressure, but for my soul. First off, there were items that were simply excellent. The braised olives were beautifully balanced, the Devils were a surprising mélange that made delicious sense, the wings were spicy-crispy-perfect, the chop and lamb were both exquisite, and the crepe and granite were great finishers. Both market seafood haddock dishes resonated with haddock and additional flavors and both were exceptionally prepared.

Animal Frites

Haddock Tail

Gift Wrapped Yard Bird
  Falling just shy of expectations were the artichokes which were lost in a tasty but overpowering mix that was best described as the pan drippings from a roast. The lamb shank ravioli had no discernable lambiness. The chicken, while perfectly done and juicy, lacked a depth of flavor, although my dining companion said different portions had varying seasoning. Now one more thing, Michael Symon highlighted the gravy frites for the aforementioned show. I tried both the gravy and the animal offerings which were both very good. After trying them however, and this is hard to put into words, I felt like I had missed the fries. Both are absolutely loaded with curd and awesome gravy making me think of poutine. Having had taters fried in duck fat and knowing the connection with the word glory, I wished I had ordered simply duck frites. I mean it's delicious, but at the end I really had a hankerin' for a fry.
Steak...Oh dear...There are the Fries!

Crispy Skinned Lamb

Contender Chop
  Saving the best for now, the top two items for me were the absolute standouts for the night. First the 5th quarter which consists of rotating “throw-away” cuts, tonight consisting of chicken necks and crispy chicken livers, was a revelation. To take items most would regulate to the bin and coax such flavor from them shows a great respect to the sacrifice of the animal in addition to skill. The pot de crème was magically majestic. Classic flavors, impeccable skill elevating them to new levels, just something to relish.
The Night's Market Haddock

5th Quarter or "Chicken Bits"

Oh yeah, Great Beer and Wine List as Well.


The seating made conversation a little rough, but we had a great night. The addition of some new comrades made for a widely varied and satiating experience. If you are in for a little adventure I would definitely recommend The GHT.  In the growing push to refine cuisine in Ohio, Cleveland in particular, I would say Chef Sawyer has not quite settled into Chef Symons consistently bold and flavorful story telling, but Michael had better not rest on his laurels. There is serious competition next door, maybe that's why he is stopping by for snacks so often Both appear ravenously devoted to serving excellence without the pretentious trappings and varying affordability. Both deserve their accolades and are doing something special in Cleveland.

Just looking around E. 4th, it seems to be taking on the shine of Beale Street in Memphis, the Strip District or Carson St. in the Burgh, maybe even a little Vegas Strip. So many choices. As for you, if you have managed to make it all the way through these pictures and my nonsense and aren't hungry, I suggest programming 911 into your phone. You are going to need it. Okay, I'm done, I promise...for now.

Seriously I tried to get a picture...I really looked
So good the spoons were diving in...and then it was like
Piranha on the Discovery Channel.
Oh, It was Pot de Creme.




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