Welcome back, old friend. It's been too long since we shared a leisurely evening overlooking the Cuyahoga. You had quite the tumble — all-but abandoned for a decade after a rash of health code violations and drowning deaths. So it's nice to get reacquainted as developers Wolstein Group and Fairmount Properties lure restaurants — and soon, a luxury apartment complex and riverfront boardwalk — to the base of the new Aloft Hotel. "This is the hottest spot in town," says restaurateur Ken Stewart. "It's part of a Cleveland revival." Here are three new spots to check out.
& Wine Bar
The Vibe | Stewart's wife Lori creates a modern tribute to the guts and glory of Cleveland's rich industrial heritage with smokestack and chain chandeliers, rivet-accented walls and porthole mirrors.
Why Here | From its collection of wines, including a $6,200 bottle of 2009 Chateau Petrus Bordeaux, to its wide offerings of Japanese wagyu beef, this spot offers a rare experience around every corner. "We're about taking things to the next level," says general manger and Ken's daughter, Lindsey Stewart.
Try This | Prime beef tartar ($20) with capers, shallots, grain mustard and a cage-free egg yolk.
1121 W. 10th St., 216-696-8400, kenstewarts.com/eastbank
The Vibe | Green and terra-cotta walls, chosen by owner Fabio Salerno, serve as the backdrop for handcrafted furniture and inlaid scenes of Venice.
Why Here | Drawing from his time as the chef de partie at the Michelin star-rated Alenia in Chicago, Lanny Chin reimagines classic Italian cuisine, such as the bone-in veal chop marinated in sage rather than pan-fried in butter. "I like redesigning how flavors can be presented," Chin says.
Try This | The Gandolfini ($56) mixes sirloin and brisket in a 10-ounce burger topped with foie gras mousse, tempura lobster, proscuitto and taleggio cheese, and is served with a white chocolate truffle milkshake.
1091 W. 10th St., 216-664-1101, lagoeastbank.com
The Vibe | Clusters of lit mason jars — custom creations from a Mayfield Heights lamp maker — hang from the ceiling, while every seat offers a view of the open kitchen.
Why Here | Everything is locally sourced or made in-house. "We don't open up a jar of ketchup, mustard — nothing," says co-owner Krista Di Lisi. Fresh Fork Market delivers produce weekly, and the menu is adjusted according to what's fresh. "It keeps us on our toes," says chef Chris Di Lisi.
Try This | The open-face sausage muffin ($13), topped with a sunny-side-up egg, bourbon maple syrup and arugula, is served with hand-cut fries and tangy house-made ketchup.
1051 W. 10th St., 216-862-6422, thewilleyville.com