The Aug. 3 opening of Zack Bruell's Alley Cat Oyster Bar marked the Flats East Bank's fourth new restaurant — and the chef's ninth in the city. Like its siblings, this two-story, 8,000-square-foot eatery is casually luxurious, with the kind of fresh, inventive food you're used to seeing in a Bruell joint. What's new is a modern style that's all Flats 2015. Here's what will keep us on the prowl for more.
inside out Its location on prime real estate along the edge of the Cuyahoga River and the new boardwalk offers unobstructed views and a fresh breeze. Besides boasting two large patios, all the walls facing the waterfront are actually retractable garage doors with a narrow veranda running along the length of the restaurant for open-air strolls to the restroom. A word to the wise: Don't forget sunglasses.
see food Watch the chefs churn out myriad small plates and entrees from the open kitchen until something catches your fancy. Besides a raw oyster menu a dozen bivalves long, Alley Cat specializes in imaginative and fusion-y offerings such as fried calamari ($12) with kimchee, preserved lime, cilantro and a black garlic aioli, and a butter-poached lobster roll ($22) with shaved celery and Green Goddess dressing on a New England-style bun.
check, please Servers — outfitted in trendy blue gingham button-ups as if you're lunching in an East Coast marina — are almost too attentive. But this comes in handy if you're washing your oysters down with one of the 27 wines by the glass ($8 to $16) or a michelada ($9), essentially a bloody mary made with beer.
MORE INFO: alleycatoysterbar.com