I was pretty bummed my friends were out of town this weekend to celebrate the festivities of the 4th but thankfully a ticket to the Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals game Friday night came to my rescue. My dad took my aunt and I to the game and unfortunately, they were demolished 7 to 1 but it is always a good experience going to a game in the summer. Even if you’re sitting extremely high or have a crappy view. Being with your family and friends downtown with ball park peanuts and some hot dogs is a good time in itself.
I’m not a huge fan of ballpark food because it’s very overpriced and not appetizing to me but I had heard about Field Roast selling veggie dogs at Progressive Field and had to try them. I don’t like hot dogs but I’ve tried the Maple Apple Sausages from Field Roast and knew the company’s frankfurters must be just as good. I was right. Although it cost me $4.75 for a small one, it was nice to enjoy a “hotdog” with my aunt and dad (despite hating the real things). And you can’t go wrong with BallPark Stadium Brown Mustard (even if it did take 15 minutes to find a dispenser that wasn’t empty).
The game ended around 10 and although Progressive Field claimed that the night had “extended fireworks” they were only about 15 minutes. Yet the last minute was phenomenal (pictured above). Since I did not get to see any fireworks last year… I loved this. The night was the perfect temperature and I was so happy to have gone to the (sold-out) game.
Luckily, my dad wanted to go out on Saturday down to Tremont, Ohio (5-10 minutes away from the city of Cleveland). We haven’t gone out to eat anywhere in the city lately so I was excited to try something new. One of my top favorite restaurants in Cleveland is TownHall (which offers a lot of fresh food including juices and vegetarian options) located in Ohio City. However, I think my dad was getting tired of my West 25th obsession. Thanks to my handy-dandy little Yelp, I found Dante.
Dante is owned by Dante Boccuzzi who owns five other restaurants, including Ginko (specializing in sushi) conveniently located right next door to Dante. Located at 2247 Professor Avenue, Dante has replaced an old bank and features up-scale dining. As my dad and I walked in, right behind the bar I saw a large vaulted safe that had one table inside of it and one outside of it. Apparently (according to reviews I had read on Yelp) it is a difficult task acquiring a reservation to sit inside of this vault. You need to call at least a few weeks in advance but it sure is a neat experience.
My dad and I were led through the kitchen into a small room that looked exactly like a cabin. Sort of the total opposite of the fancy front main room but still comfortable. I chose Dante because of the variety of the menu. I love eating out at places that offer vegan/vegetarian options obviously but I’m a huge seafood fan and I know my dad loves meat/pasta. Finding eateries with all of these can be challenging but when I find them, it’s a great victory. The service was extra phenomenal – our waiter knew a lot about each dish and was extremely friendly. After he suggested a wine for my dad, he brought out this AMAZING homemade hummus and bread. Never have I been to a restaurant where they bring out HUMMUS instead of butter. That instantly made this place a winner in my eyes.
After this delicious bread, we decided to order appetizers first. How could we not with so many options? Some of the choices I had a hard time choosing between were lobster spring rolls (UM.. YUM?!), lobster and pea polenta, split pea soup (my favorite) and tuna tartare. I noticed black quinoa with avocado mousse and bay scallops as a tasting portion ($6) and had to do it. I always try to eat things out that I normally never eat at home (don’t we all) and even though I cook quinoa on the regular, never do I have avocado and scallops with it! Yum! It was probably two servings of quinoa so I brought some home but my dad’s appetizer of the market oysters ($14) was devoured in a good 5 minutes. Covered in a sriracha glaze. I didn’t try one but clearly they were a hit.
Our entrees were just as good (maybe a little bit better..) than the appetizers. My dad went with the handmade pappardelle bolognese ($19). The interesting thing about this dish (along with the other pasta choices) was that it could be ordered as a tasting size ($5), appetizer ($10) or the main course ($19). It was tossed with veal and pork in a large portion. My dad complained the noodles were “too broad” and he couldn’t twirl them but besides that, he loved it. Too much so that he said he was so full but kept going at it! As for my main course, I picked the tofu “nicoise” ($22). I was a little hesitant on ordering this because I never order tofu. If my tofu is not extra firm and too squishy, I get weirded out. Yet it all worked out because it was a decent tofu! Topped with glazed green beans, braised artichokes and olives, I tried so hard not to eat it all up too quickly. The olives paired perfectly with a brown sauce drizzled on the plate (I’m thinking it was a balsamic reduction but not positive).
Overall, the experience was wonderful at Dante. I would give it a 5-star on Yelp 100%. My dad and I are curious to check out Boccuzzi’s other restaurants in the Tremont area, along with coming back to Dante and maybe next time going in for some dessert and more seafood.
After we left Dante around 10 or so, at the end of Professor Avenue is a hill that overlooks the highway and skyline of Cleveland. Another Cleveland Indians game had just ended and fireworks were about to start so we stood around and watched from our car. It was an amazing view and a great end to this Fourth of July weekend. Double fireworks AND good food… pretty good deal to me.