The very name of this Restaurant evokes the slightest hint of smoke. Indeed, walking into this downtown Rocky River restaurant is like stepping into a mountainside retreat, where exposed brick walls and varnished, reclaimed wooden tables coexist in a quaint, relaxed setting. Julie Mesenburg and Gabriel Zeller, owners of Barra in Sandusky and Amherst, opened this spot in November 2019 inside the former Sweet Melissa space.
With a 22-seat hardwood bar featuring more than 130 different kinds of whiskey and a menu largely focused on soups, salads, gourmet sandwiches and decadent burgers, this place feels like a step up from good ol’ dad’s backyard barbecue. Start with the pistachio-crusted goat cheese appetizer ($13) accompanied by naan, honey and seasonal preserves or try the jumbo lump crab cakes ($15), pan-seared and served with a lemon aioli. But save room for some house-smoked short rib, which steals the show in several dishes.
You’ll find it sandwiched between ciabatta bread ($11) with red cabbage slaw and a sweet, tangy bourbon glaze, and in one of three kinds of mac ‘n’ cheese ($13). That same short rib is even featured on the Char Burger ($15), piled high on a pretzel roll with a thick patty, melted Char cheese and crisp onion straws. However you slice it, the thick, charred meat beats any backyard barbecue version.
When You Go: Char 19337 Detroit Road, Rocky River, 216-712-4591, char-rockyriver.com