Monday, July 12, 2010
Restaurant Review: Michael Symon's Bar Symon
32858 Walker Road
Avon Lake, Ohio
Topping my list of things to do while in Cleveland was dining at Michael Symon's Bar Symon. Located only 15 minutes from my Dad's house, there was absolutely NO WAY that I was leaving Ohio without a visit to Bar Symon. It's not every day that you can dine at the restaurant of an Iron Chef.
Bar Symon is very welcoming, open, and airy with both indoor and outdoor seating. Due to the stifling heat, we chose to sit indoors. I quickly noticed that there was some 80's rock n roll playing and chuckled to myself. Clevelanders love their rock and roll and Michael Symon is no exception. The music added a great ambiance. Lucky for us, we had arrived just in time for Happy Hour, which is from 5-6:30 Monday through Friday.
Our waiter, who was very attentive, briefed us on the Happy Hour specials and then brought out the house bread and butter. The house bread was a very crusty bread, quite possibly a sourdough. I was so busy trying to decide on my entree that I forgot to ask. Whatever kind of bread it was, it was delicious! We gobbled it up in no time.
My husband ordered the Sriracha Wings ($5 during Happy Hour) for his appetizer. Let me just go ahead and say right now.....those damn sriracha wings were the very best chicken wings I've ever ate, hands down! I have no idea how they got them to be so tender, but the meat just fell right off the bone. The flavor of the sriracha was remarkable. I found I had to restrain myself from sucking on the chicken bone. The wings were probably the highlight of the meal, sounds crazy I know, but there were absolutely remarkable.
I chose the Pierogi appetizer ($5 during Happy Hour). The power of the pierogi lives on in Cleveland and chosing the pierogi appetizer was a "no brainer" for me. The pierogi appetizer was brought out in a cute little silver bowl with 3 pierogi, cabbage and a drizzling of stadium mustard sauce. I have mad love for both pierogi and mustard and was in total and complete pig heaven with this appetizer. The homemade pierogi were filled with potatoes and cheese and went so well with the mild flavored mustard sauce. Everything about the pierogi appetizer was so well balanced and flavorful. I enjoyed it more than words can say.
For his entree, my husband ordered one of the specials of the day, the grilled Rainbow Trout served with Grilled Rapini ($14). Seasoned with garlic, the trout was cooked to perfection and my husband found it to be both meaty and light at the same time. He thoroughly enjoyed it.
I also ordered one of the specials, the Smoked Pork Tacos w/ Tomatillo Salsa and Pickled Chiles ($14). When the plate arrived I did a double take. There were 3 huge pork tacos on the plate, each one brimming with smoked pork, tomatillo salsa, pickled chiles and cilantro. The meat was perfectly juicy and tender and I really loved the spicy heat of the pickled chiles. Those tacos were perfectly seasoned and packed with flavor. I didn't even touch the salt shaker.
(NOTE: The lighting where I was seated wasn't too great and the picture of the tacos really didn't do them justice, so I decided to leave it out).
My entree also came with my choice of side dishes and I chose the Jalapeno Creamed Corn. The creamed corn was flavored with jalapeno and was loaded down with cubes of pancetta. A very hearty portion for a side dish. I wish I would've had more room in my belly.
For dessert, my husband ordered the Warm Chocolate Cake with Cherry Compote and housemade Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream ($5). The warm oozing chocolate cake contrasted beautifully with the cool vanilla ice cream. Upon first bite you could tell that the chocolate cake was made with dark chocolate which really contrasted with the sweet cherry compote. This was a luscious and perfectly balanced dessert which we would happily order again on a return trip.
I ordered the Beer and Pretzels dessert($5), which was recommend by the waiter. I'm sorry to say that the picture of this dessert did not turn out at all, but it was absolutely fantastic. The Beer and Pretzels dessert consisted of two scoops of Housemade Guiness Ice Cream, fudge and caramel sauce and was topped off with crushed pretzel rods. This dessert was fantastic! A perfect example of sweet and salty, creamy and crunchy. This is the kind of dessert that warrants a trip to Bar Symon all on it's own!
My husband noticed that they were offering autographed copies of Iron Chef Symon's new cookbook, Live to Cook, for $35, so he bought me one! It was the perfect ending to a perfect meal.
Dining at Bar Symon was sheer delight and I highly recommend it if you live in the area or happen to pass through. The food was bursting with BIG FLAVOR and everything was cooked to perfection. I thought the prices were more than reasonable and some were actually a downright value. We found the wait staff to be both helpful and attentive and loved the casual, yet upscale atmosphere. This is the kind of place where friends can meet over drinks and appetizers OR you can saddle up and have a terrific three course meal. Either way, you WILL NOT leave disappointed.
As for me, I'm already scheming a return visit!!