|Being an adult means eating what you want. (Sorry, doc.) Don’t like your veggies? Push them to the side. Want dessert first? Go for it. “Doing the unexpected piques people’s interest,” says John Kolar, chef-owner of Thyme (716 N. Court St., Medina, 330-764-4114), which opened last October. “Never underestimate the value of the fun factor.” Kolar pairs his stuffed poblano pepper starter with mole sauce and hot pepper-spiked chocolate ice cream ($7). “I love the temperature contrast on the plate,” Kolar says, “and ice cream is a great vehicle for carrying and connecting flavor elements.” His spring menu includes a Fire and Ice appetizer, which pairs seared ahi tuna and wasabi sorbet.
Jihad Hachicho, chef/owner of Aura Global Cuisine (9200 Broadview Road, Broadview Heights, 440-546-9940), uses kalamata olive ice cream as the centerpiece of his kalamata salad ($7.50). The sweet scoop, flecked with small chunks of kalamata olive, syncs so well with the balsamic vinaigrette, mixed greens, mozzarella and strawberries, it leaves you pondering the flavor puzzle long after the last bite.
Jonathan Guest, executive chef at XO Prime Steaks (500 W. St. Clair Ave., Cleveland, 216-861-1919), spoons Meyer lemon sorbet next to a jumbo shrimp cocktail with avocado ($12.95). It works as a palate cleanser and takes some of the edge off the garlic and chives that season the shrimp. “Besides,” he adds, “I just like the idea of throwing away the preconceived idea that certain foods belong in specific categories.” Us, too!