Ever since Cork and Cleaver opened last year, it’s been high on our list of places to try, and for good reason. And now that we’ve finally made it, I can attest that it’s been firmly planted in our list of favorites.
Cork and Cleaver is located in a cookie-cutter strip mall in Broadview Heights, like any other strip mall in any other town. But the restaurant itself is anything but cookie-cutter. The interior is fairly spacious, with a rustic chic flair. Lots of corks. Not a lot of cleavers lying around, but plenty of meat.
The menu is one of the more creative ones that we’ve seen in quite some time. Lots of staple-type dishes, but always with a twist that sets them apart from the norm. Our appetizer was Reuben ribs; your standard pork ribs, but brined corned-beef style, and served with Thousand Island slaw, melted Gruyère, and a pinch of rye salt. Neat idea, complete with all the flavors of a Reuben sandwich.
S, perhaps unsurprisingly, had scallops, complete with cranberry and butternut and spaghetti squash. I don’t often see scallops with squash (maybe I don’t get out enough), but it worked really well. My main course was gnocchi, cooked up Greek-style. Topped with slow-cooked lamb, cucumber and radish, and a creamy yogurt sauce, it was the most unique gnocchi dish I’ve had, with all the flavors melding together seamlessly.
Dessert was a luscious banana panna cotta, topped with banana bread crumble, coconut, and toasted marshmallow. I’m not normally a huge fan of banana-based desserts, but this one was excellent – rich but light, and not too heavy on the banana flavor, which can easily overwhelm the rest of a dish.
The verdict: Cork and Cleaver earns six stars out of seven. One of our new favorites – the food was outstanding, service was outstanding (very knowledgeable, and did a great job of describing the dishes – he made us want everything!), and prices were quite reasonable (almost all entrees under $20).