Best of Food

Good cuisine can be as cheap as a few bucks for a pound of kielbasa or as costly as foie gras at one of Cleveland's finest restaurants. Here's the dish on both.

Best Sausage

The Frank Moravcik Band has been playing polka music at festivals and events for decades, making members Frank Moravcik, Joe Reboudo and Dan Peters the choice people to choose the best kielbasa in the Cleveland area.

K and K Meat Shoppe was the No. 1 pick of band members, who described it as not too overpowering with perfect seasoning and tenderness. "Just like Mama used to make," exclaims accordion player Moravcik. "Not too spicy."

The other two musicians agree, declaring it the winner before they even taste the others. "This is it. This is the winner already," says Peters, who also plays the accordion.

The Old Country Sausage Shoppe took second best in the taste test. Both Moravcik and Reboudo like the flavor, but concur that the casing is a little rough and hard to cut through. "The taste was very good, but I personally don't care for the casing on the outside," says Reboudo, who taught himself to play the banjo.

"They're going to need a roller skate under our stomachs to roll us out," jokes Peters as he finishes the second round of kielbasa. The band chats about how some kielbasi are too fatty and overpowering — a factor in their judging.

Azman and Son's took third place. Though the flavor is good and the casing tender, there is an aftertaste the men can't quite identify. Ranked fourth was The Sausage Shoppe because of a rough casing.

Each of the kielbasi was delicious, the musicians agree, but KandK was outstanding. "All four were very nice, but No. 1's got my vote," says Reboudo.

The Contenders

K & K Meat Shoppe
6172 Dunham Road, Maple Heights (216) 662-2644

Old Country Sausage Shoppe
15711 Libby Road, Maple Heights (216) 662-5988

Azman and Son's Market
6501 St. Claire Ave., Cleveland (216) 361-0347

The Sausage Shoppe
4501 Memphis Ave., Cleveland (216) 351-5213

Best Pastry

Sweet Mosaic's commitment to using locally grown products extends way beyond the sweet berries that go into its desserts. Owner Heather Haviland scoured the state's granaries to find the best flours to incorporate into her moist cakes, heavenly cookies and light, airy scones. Located in Tremont, Sweet Mosaic's main retail outlet is the adjoining Lucky's Café, but you can also find its delicious creations at the North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square. Having a special occasion? Cut your budget in half by hiring Sweet Mosaic to create centerpieces and buffet art out of cookies and treats — edible displays that look so magnificent, you won't need to pay the outlandish bill for flowers. 777 Starkweather Ave., Tremont, (216) 374-9030

Have you tried foie gras, sushi or sweetbreads?

A full 67 percent of respondents have tried sushi, while only 50 percent have ventured foie gras and 16 percent have dared sweetbreads. Interested in diversifying your taste buds? Try foie gras from le Belle Farm in the Hudson Valley at The Baricelli Inn (2203 Cornell Road, Little Italy, 216-791-6500); sushi at Sushi Rock (1276 W. Sixth St., the Warehouse District, 216-623-1212); and organic veal sweetbreads at Parker's New American Bistro (2801 Bridge Ave., Ohio City, 216-771-7130).

Ask a Chef

What is your favorite meal in Cleveland?

During his four years serving in the Navy, James Major III, the chef at Major's Club Isabella, always treated himself to a Roman Burger from Mr. Hero when he came home for visits. Now, he's on a low-carb diet and that's still what he craves. "It's the grease, it's the carbs," he explains. Major confesses he does not go out to eat much because he's usually at his own restaurant. "I'm a little overcritical," he says. "The best meal in town is my place." His favorite Mr. Hero? The Willowick location.

Share this story: