Thursday, July 30, 2009

Finally, a good trade occurs in Cleveland.

I left work a little early yesterday feeling "disappointed and zoned out" (to quote one of my favorite animated series). It's been a stressful couple of weeks and I've been riddled with insomnia because Eponine and Mitters still hate each other. (E & M are our cats)

I hopped on to check my e-mail and saw that Jeff was logged on Google Chat. I asked him what he wanted to do that night, and he told me that he'd probably be agreeable to whatever I suggested. (Why do you do this, guys?) The conversation went something like this:

Me: I know, let's go to L'Albatros ;) (smiley is large, bold and red to convey the sarcasm intended)
Jeff: Now that you mention it, I kind of want to go...
Me: (several emoticons expressing shock)
Jeff: What?
Me: ...Okay.
Jeff: 7:45!

I'm sure I just won the lottery there, as I don't know how many people can say they've suggested a restaurant like L'Albatros to their significant other (sarcastically, no less) and actually had them want to go there. Seriously, I had every intention of going to IHOP or Mi Pueblo. I just didn't want to cook, that's all!

A good trade, if you ask me.

While I have yet to go to any of the other Zack Bruell restaurants, Bruell and his minions of yum have impressed me once again with my second visit to L'Albatros.

Our first visit was on opening night, and there weren't that many people there. From my very first toast point full of the Chicken and Foie Gras Mousseline, I wanted good things for L'Albatros. "Fly! Fly and be successful!" I probably thought to myself that night. The wait staff was unrehearsed and unversed with the menu but it was charming. We loved every last bite of the food and were anxious to go back.

Seven months later, we returned. The restaurant was packed, inside and out. Our first visit caught a glimpse of a fledgling, wobbly and unsure. Last night we observed L'Albatross in flight, spectacular and energetic.

We opened our meal with a drink. Jeff got the L'Albatros, the house special made with mint, pineapple juice and absinthe. The drink has a spicy, licorice taste to it and a beautiful aesthetic quality, being poured into a slender glass with muddled mint leaves swirling about. I had the "One of a Pear", which is made with Grey Goose Pear, pear nectar and champagne. Mine was a sweet little thing of a drink that seemed to compliment everything that crossed over our table. I nursed it so it would last the length of our meal.

We ordered the Pork Rillettes ($7), which came in a hinged glass jar with too few toast points. When we asked for more, we received nearly triple the quantity given when the plate arrived. This was an extremely generous appetizer that could have easily been someone's lunch entree. It was served with tiny gherkin pickles and pickled onion on the side.

Jeff ordered the Chicken Breast ($16) with carmalized fennel, goat cheese, and potato mousseline (Translation: the best mashed/whipped potatoes ever). We'll be trying to recreate those potatoes unless Mr. Bruell wants to add it as a side (and then I'll just order them to go and say I made them)...

I (once again) had the Hangar Steak and Frites ($21) and was not disappointed. The steak was cooked as I asked (that's not as common as I'd like in restaurants) and melted in my mouth. For all I know, those fries are the best in Cleveland, if not the world.

We were sincerely too stuffed for dessert (thanks to the Rillettes) but I was sad to notice that the Pineapple Tart Tatin was missing from the menu. Next time, we'd like to sit on the patio.

If you haven't gone to L'Albatros, please go. If you've been already, go again.


alexa - cleveland's a plum said...

for as much as i go out and for as much as i love parallax i don't believe that i haven't been to l'albatros yet. it's a must.

Cara said...

You definitely should. See if you can plan for a night where the weather will cooperate and you can sit on the patio. It's gorgeous.

Kelly and José said...

We still haven't been back to L'Albatros since v-day! We can celebrate our 8 month wedding anniversary next week by going, right? ha. . .


Cara said...

Kelly, I realized all too recently that you two are married. I am blonde, after all! I already want to go back and get the exact same thing. How unadventurous am I?