Zach Bruell gives us a taste of french staples at his quaint shop.
Tucked into University Circle like an artist's signature on a painting, Zack Bruell's L'Albatros Brasserie and Bar gives us a chance to rub elbows with the city's cultural and intellectual tastemakers. Since it opened as one of Cleveland's only French-inspired restaurants in 2008, we've flocked to the spot along with Cleveland Orchestra musicians and students and professors from Case Western Reserve University. But while the menu seems as high-minded as the crowd, the flavors in dishes such as a sweet and savory French toast appetizer ($9) and the ooey-gooey croque-monsieur ham and cheese sandwich ($14) are familiar and heightened. "Brasserie food isn't intellectual," Bruell says. "It's the food of the working class." But trust in Bruell's interpretations of classics such as the cassoulet ($26). Usually braised together for several hours, the white beans, duck confit, lamb, sausage, pork belly and chicken are cooked separately before combining it all to order. The result is a lighter stew that doesn't compromise on flavor. Don't miss: Complete the Franco feel with the velvety, licorice-tasting L'ALbatros cocktail ($13) made with Chartreuse and absinthe. Outer limits: Surrounded on three sides by the restaurant, L'Albatros' patio is more secluded French courtyard than party porch. 11401 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, 216-791-7880, albatrosbrasserie.com
Northeast Ohio's culinary scene has become a reputable region where chefs use locally grown ingredients to create simple, yet innovative dining experiences bursting with flavor. We've got your next dining excursion covered with these seriously great takes on steaks, stews and shareable plates.