Rarely if ever can you go into a place for dinner and say I liked everything that was put out in front of me. I do a monthly dinner with friends and we ended up trying Cork and Cleaver Social Kitchen in Broadview Heights. That is exactly what happen at Cork and Cleaver. There was a lot of plate sharing and sampling going on because everyone got something different and all the food was amazing. Cork and Cleaver is the master plan of Chef Brian Okin and his brother in law Chef Adam Bostwick. The space itself is in a nondescript strip mall on Broadview just off Wallings. I recall the location from my youth as we were known to have cocktails at the former Pipers restaurant (now a Danny Boys) just a stones throw away. The ambiance of Cork and Cleaver is very relaxed, but high end enough to want to get dressed up a little. I think I can bring out the old term “swanky”. It’s got a dark vibe inside, romantic yet hip; a place you want to impress a date. You quickly forget you are in a strip mall once you are seated.
The space itself is in two sections; the dining room, and a bar/lounge area off to the side. The bar offers amazing handcrafted cocktails, an impressive wine list and some excellent microbrews. The thing I liked about the drink menu would continue on into the dinner menu. It is not expansive, but what is on the menu both for food and drink is absolutely spot on. I don’t like 700 choices or four pages or fine print on the menu. The options that are available at Cork and Cleaver change frequently and they are painstakingly crafted to compliment each other.
For the round of appetizers we tried the Beet Salad with herbed goat cheese, candied walnuts, citrus, and and extra virgin olive oil. It was very light, nice portion, and very fresh. Then on to the Chicken and Waffles with two tender pieces of fried chicken, thyme waffles, spicy butter and savory maple. This was absolutely melt in your mouth delicious. The flavor combinations of the sweet and savory were heavenly. The final offering were the Reuben Ribs. Two tender rib sections on a bed of thousand island slaw with gruyere and a dash of rye salt. This was a completely unique dish I had never seen on a menu anywhere. The ribs were fall off the bone tender and the flavor was amazing. I think the Irish got it wrong all these years with corned beef. All this time they should have been making these ribs. It’s the kind of thing that makes your mouth stop and say wait a minute, these are supposed to taste like…and then it hits you that you are eating one of the best things you ever had and go into a euphoric pork haze.
What a treat that everyone at the table got something different, and an even bigger treat everyone was willing to share a bite. I had the Risotto served with 4 jumbo fried shrimp, carrot slaw and sweet soy. It reminded me of an asian inspired shrimp and grits dish just minus the grits part. The risotto was cooked perfectly, and the shrimp were perfect too. The best compliment of the night on the shrimp was they tasted like shrimp but ate like a steak. That is the way they should be. I got to sample the Pork Paprikash which had an amazing smokey flavor with tender spaetzel and sweet creme fraiche. The Fried chicken was fall off the bone tender and served on a bed of amazing mac and cheese. This was comfort food at its finest. The Scallops were tender and delicious, rounded out by a sweet cranberry gastrique. Just the look of the omelette was amazing. It was huge and fluffy, and served with mouthwatering chorizo. My favorite dish of the night had to be the Gnocchi served with tender braised lamb, cucumber and radish slaw, and tzatziki. This is an adult gyro on a plate. The flavors were outstanding. The gnocchi was cooked to perfection and the sauce was to die for. I did not want to give the plate back to my dining partner.
For dessert everyone went for the Brownie and it was quite good, however I ended my night with the apple pierogi with brie ice cream and it felt like Poland, France and the United States of America were invading my mouth and claiming victory. I caught on late with Cork and Cleaver. It was always on the radar but I thought Broadview Heights??? That’s too far. Well, first off it’s not. It’s like 20 minutes from Cleveland and it is well worth the trip south. The service was excellent the vibe was hip and upscale, the decor was inviting, and the food was amazing. You can tell Okin and Bostwick are pulling out all the stops to make this place a hit. The prices are very reasonable and possibly I would say cheaper than hitting downtown. The portions are perfect and no one left hungry. You are looking at about $70 for 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, and 2 desserts. Throw on a bottle of wine or handcrafted cocktail and you’ll walk out maybe $100 lighter. If you have been thinking about trying them out, don’t hesitate, it’s worth the trip.