Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hidden Gems

"Good news, everyone!"
- Professor H J Farnsworth

At long last, I was finally able to score a $50 gift certificate to Light Bistro, courtesy of Cleveland Independents. We always forgot about the sales and really missed out on the deals. I caught a Cleveland.com forums post (by a troll, no less) about buying a certificate and snatched up the last LB certificate.

I don't think I'd call Light Bistro a hidden gem, though. I'd say it's pretty scintillating on its own. If you just want to get your feet wet with Chef Matt's cuisine, visit Light during their reverse happy hour. It's way too easy to have several small plates and a few cocktails on the cheap.

I'm hardly one to know about any significant number of Cleveland's hidden gems, but I have discovered a few that are (in my opinion) really worth checking out, and not discussed all that much.

Mekong River -1918 Lee Road, Cleveland Hts, OH
Don't let the lackluster storefront fool you, inside is an extensive Thai and Cambodian menu with 14 levels of spice available to you. The pineapple fried rice (at level 3) is amazing. Try it with a thick version of bubble tea.

Thai Kitchen - 12210 Madison Ave, Lakewood, OH (Okay not technically Cleveland...)
I admit, I walked out of this place for a moment based on its aesthetics. It's not a fancy place, but when you sit down to a plate of pad thai (authentic; not the fluorescent red/orange kind) you actually feel like you're being served an amazing Thai meal in someone's house.

Aoeshi Cafe - 2175 Lee Road, Cleveland Hts, OH
Aoeshi is another one of these places that doesn't look the best in decor, but the sushi is amazing. I've discussed this restaurant before. Catch a movie at the Cedar-Lee and have some sushi afterwards. Go for the futon, it's faboo.

Tom's Seafood Restaurant - 3040 Saint Clair Ave. NE, Cleveland, OH
Maybe I'm just new to dim sum and have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, but all-you-can-eat dim sum for $8.99 is a great way to get your (chicken) feet wet without a big financial commitment. The ladies with the carts are a little persistent at times, and absent at others - but free oolong tea and AMAZING char siu bao are worth it.

Tell me what you think are truly hidden gems in Cleveland dining. Have you been to the restaurants I listed? What did you think?


Jeff said...

Wow, I love all of those restaurants!

P.S. Good job getting the last Light Bistro certificate. :-D