Pub meets palate
Ballantine opened in Willoughby last June, calling itself a gastropub. The concept, a transplant from England by way of New York City, is based on innovative, upscale cooking served in a casual bar setting. The Brits describe it as posh food in a boozer.
“But,” says marketing and beverage consultant Manny Nieves, “we quickly discovered that this was not exactly what Willoughby wanted.”
The prices were too high, the disconnect between fancy cooking and friendly neighborhood pub too hard to swallow. So “gastro” has been removed from the sign, and new chef Anthony Seminatore has been trying out different ideas.
Pizzas and burgers are available now. More unusual entrees, such as braised lamb shanks and cioppino, an Italian seafood stew, show up as weekly specials.
In the menu’s latest incarnation, there are some less conventional options: lime-marinated coconut shrimp ($7.99) and arugula with seared sirloin, shaved Parmesan and enoki mushrooms ($9.99). But there are just as many that don’t break any culinary ground, including the corned beef on rye ($8.99) and a chicken panini ($8.99).
What hasn’t changed since Day One is the extraordinary collection of craft-brewed beers from around the world (28 on tap, including a dozen Belgians), and the outstanding, eclectic wine list. 4113 Erie St., Willoughby, (440) 942-5151, www.theballantine.net
— Laura Taxel
Four courses, 45 minutes
Table 45 is bringing its customary innovation to lunchtime, with a four-course feast that arrives at the table simultaneously.
“We’re offering a cool luncheon experience, and offering it very quickly,” says manager Todd Thompson. “Lunch is served on one big plate with compartmentalized dishes for a soup, salad, entree and dessert.”
The menu is set, to up the speediness factor, but selections of each course change daily to keep things fresh. A recent Friday featured carrot ginger soup, Kona Kapachi (Hawaiian fish), a silver noodle salad and bread pudding. It runs from $15 to $18, and they promise to have you in and out in 45 minutes. InterContinental Hotel, 9801 Euclid Ave., (216) 707-4045, www.tbl45.com
Kathy Brown, who previously ran Snicker’s, has returned to the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood with her new Gordon Square spot,
Latitude 41 N. She turned a paint store into a part lounge, part restaurant that serves coffee and offers Wi-Fi. Brown plans to make her menu of American food and gourmet pizzas, heavy on vegetarian entrees, available for delivery as well.
“We took a diner idea and put a different spin on it. We made the food fresher and fuller and more appetizing than your normal diner kind of food,” she says.5712 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, (216) 961-0000
— Tori Woods
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