Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Morsel: Cowell and Hubbard in Cleveland

I had to do it. It's been in my head for the past two days.

Welcome to a new blog post series, Monday Morsel, a snapshot post on a new or newly discovered restaurant. Let's get Monday Morsel properly christened with coverage on one of Cleveland's most anticipated new openings: Cowell and Hubbard.

Cowell & Hubbard A Zack Bruell restaurant

Zack Bruell's new restaurant opened to the public in February 3, 2012, ahead of schedule, much to the delight of throngs of hungry Downtown foodies. Cowell and Hubbard is Bruell's fifth restaurant in Cleveland: Parallax in Tremont, Table 45 at the Intercontinental Hotel on Cleveland Clinic campus, L'Albatros in University Circle, Chinato in the Eth 4th/Gateway District in Downtown Cleveland and now Cowell and Hubbard in Playhouse Square District in Downtown Cleveland.

Venue and Atmosphere: Respecting History

Cowell and Hubbard was a destination jewelry store, founded in 1861 and thrived throughout the early 1900s.  Cowell and Hubbard's website expands on the history.   Click the photos to see an archived photo slideshow that shines historical light on this landmark building.

Although I didn't scope out the entire space, the mood and atmosphere pays tribute both the past and today's Downtown and Playhouse Square. Lush red velvet booth coverings remind you of the theater curtains and etched window glass reflects the name onto the walls in a unique, almost ghostly manner.

Service: More water or bread?
Bruell must have a military training program for his service staff. At every location, his team is incredible and Cowell and Hubbard is no departure.  For an opening night experience, I expected some hiccups. Our server, Tina, though at times had to leave the table to get an answer for our in-depth foodie questions, was well-educated on the menu and had a few personal recommendations. The wait staff kept our water filled and bread plates heaped with carb heaven.

Food: Solid Execution 
Our table of six each got a first course and a main course, sharing bites and laughs.  The menu IS HUGE. I highly recommend perusing the menu online prior to dining. There were a few items that I'm certain will be tweaked based on guest feedback. A friend ordered the whole roasted chicken and it was a little bloody - quite literally. I was nervous to try the shared sample of the chicken because it was so pink. The issue was brought to light and the manager offered a re-fire of the item and assured us that according to the chef, the chicken was in fact the proper color from the roasting process.

Here are a few items that stand out on the menu.

First Course
  • Butternut Squash Ravioli with greens, jalapeƱo and prosciutto 
    • It's one enormous ravioli, large enough to share if you're feeling nice. Sweet, savory with a little kick at the end from the jalapenos
  • Welsh Rarebit 
    • Welsh rarebit is nostalgic for me. I ate it growing up and this evoked all the same memories. I admit I even are a few spoonfuls of the melted cheese on its own. And it was INCREDIBLE. Creamy smooth tangy goodness. I recommend a few additional pieces of brioche.
Main Course
  • Thyme Dumplings with broccoli rabe, garlic and pepperoncini
    • "Dumplings" don't do the item justice. The pasta was more like gnudi that just dissolved in my mouth. Each piece was pan-fried which added an interesting texture. 
  • Lamb Breast with yogurt, mint, preserved lemon, pine nuts, Moroccan spices
    • The flavors are intense and mellow at once. Highly-recommend. 
The addition of Cowell and Hubbard to the Playhouse Square district and Downtown restaurant scene delivers everything a foodie expected from Bruell. Make this place a priority. 


James said...

Wife and I are heading there tomorrow for Valentine's Day. Good idea on reviewing the menu. Looks great.

kat said...

Zack needs more props. Hes the best chef in cleveland!

Crystal @EatDrinkClev said...

I finally got to check out C+H during Restaurant Week and loved it! My only complaint - that ONE huge ravioli costs $9 and the fois gras donuts are $18! I have no problem paying for quality food but these and the other app prices are steep.

beautyfoodie said...

C&W is a special occasion spot, of sorts. Some of the entrees are reasonable. I think the price points are similar to Bruell's other restaurants. Now I am thinking about that butternut squash ravioli....yum.