I’m on a mission: to complete what some Clevelanders have lovingly named the “Tour de Bruell”. After my previous work visit to Table 45 back in January, I made my second stop on the tour: at Zack Bruell’s new restaurant on East 4th Street downtown, Chinato.
From the website: Zack Bruell, award-winning chef and restaurateur, announces the opening of Chinato, an old-meets-new Italian culinary concept on Cleveland’s East Fourth Street. Chinato, named after a flavorful Italian after-dinner wine enriched with herbs, spices and Cinchona bark, is Bruell’s fourth restaurant within the city of Cleveland.
Bruell designed Chinato’s menu to highlight the simplicity of all Italian cuisine, not limiting himself to one region or technique. “Authentic Italian food is simple and flavorful – regardless of whether you’re in Tuscany, Sicily or Campania,” said Bruell. “I wanted to stay true to that.”
Last week’s visit was for a work meeting, and only one of the lovely ladies knows about the blog, so I decided to leave the camera at home. No delicious visuals on this one.
SIDENOTE: Like any fine, Italian inspired restaurant, Chinato is featuring a special St. Patrick’s Day menu today from 9AM to 5PM. The menu includes a lot of the usual lunch menu, plus the traditional corned beef standards for the holiday. Italian or Irish, they all are probably delicious. Moving on…
One thing that Mr. Bruell always seems to get right is the atmosphere of his dining establishment. Walk into one of his spaces and you know the exact vibe he wants you to experience while dining. In the picture above, we sat at the table just in front of the window on the left. I sat in the booth seat and had a fantastic view of the restaurant and kitchen during my meal. On a weekday at noon, the restaurant was packed, but the staff had no problem keeping up.
When we were seated, we immediately received a piece of warm, freshly made bread. The bread had a perfect balance of herbs running through it – probably rosemary being prominent – that made me want to tackle the bread boy and steal his basket of baked goodies. Once again, it was a work meeting, so there would be no jumping of random men. Again, moving on…
For my meal, I stuck with the lunch classic of soup and salad. To start, I selected the Tuscan Onion soup. While it reminded me of a French onion soup, it was better than ANY French onion soup I have ever had. The broth was more of a puree than broth, which had a great flavor. In the middle, a “crouton” of bread sprinkled with cheese. Simply delicious.
For my salad, I chose the Arugula with julienne of pumpkin, roasted turnips, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. When ordering, I asked for my dressing on the side. The waiter informed me that the salads were very lightly dressed, so I dropped my request. Remember: I’m not a fan of over sauced/dressed items, so I was depending on my server’s knowledge of the dish. Luckily for me, he was right: just the perfect about of vinaigrette was evenly distributed on each component. Looking back, I don’t remember the turnips, although if they were there, I’m sure they were tasty. Another solid starter option on the menu.
One of my fellow diners shared a few bites of her Fennel salad with orange, olive, tomato and ricotta with me. This was quite the treat. If you are looking for a different sort of salad to start, pick this option. Light and filling at the same time, the heartiness of the olive and ricotta worked with the rest of the ingredients. The few bites I had made me wish I ordered an extra salad.
Other selections ordered by the table included the Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Pizza with garlic and mozzarella, and the Salmon with escarole and white beans. The ladies ate practically every bite of each of these items, saying they definitely planned to return in the future.
I agreed with them: I do plan to return for dinner, but would like to finish my tour first. I still have to get to L’Albatros in University Circle and Parallax in Tremont. Perhaps in the long run you have SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO…