Zack Bruell embraces authentic Italian comfort food with his latest creation.
Some chefs get extra points for personality. Not Zack Bruell. He can be charming when he chooses but is better known as an opinionated and outspoken guy with little patience for small talk.
That hasn’t diminished his ability to win a large and loyal following. When it comes to creating menus and running restaurants, the man’s a master.
Parallax, Table 45 and L’Albatros — the three places he opened in the past six years — were instant hits, earning praise from diners and critics including Esquire food and travel writer John Mariani. In his latest venture, Ristorante Chinato (pronounced it kin-AH-toe), he’s done it yet again.
Like his other spots, the setting and service feature Bruell’s hallmark, stripped-down formality, a style that retains the quality of a fine dining experience without the white tablecloth pretentiousness or price tag. The dining room and bar are lovely in a spare way from elegant gauzy curtains framing big windows and faux ostrich skin upholstery to the sophisticated sepia color scheme.
Good smells waft from the open kitchen. Staff members are knowledgeable and approachable, as willing to explain that ribollita is a hearty and delicious bean and vegetable soup ($6) as crumb your table. People who take dining out seriously will feel at home here, but so will folks more interested in grabbing a bite and getting to a ballgame.
To do it right, this culinary genre requires deep understanding of technique and impeccable execution. The preparation is so simple it’s complicated. There’s no room for error, no way to hide mistakes.
WHEN YOU GO
2079 E. Fourth St., Cleveland
Mon-Wed 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Thu & Fri 11 a.m.-midnight,
Sat 4 p.m.-midnight
Handmade potato gnocchi with
tomato, basil, toasted garlic, butter
and Parmesan ($8/$15)
For date night, reserve Table 401.
The corner spot with the L-shaped
banquette is chef Zack Bruell’s
favorite and has the best view of
the dining room.