Sunday, January 17, 2010

Birthday Dinner at Bar Symon

On Friday night Scott and I went out to dinner with our amazing friends, Matt and Adrianne.  Matt and I celebrate our birthdays two days apart from each other, so they suggested we all go out for dinner. This is something we never do together.  Don't get me wrong, we all love going out to restaurants.  But we usually have our children in tow, and it is just easier going to one another's house so the kids can play and be put to bed so we have adult time later.  This is always super fun, and we have tried out lots of cool recipes on each other.  But variety is the spice of life, right?!  So we got the babysitters all lined up and out we went.

For dinner we head out to Avon Lake to try out one of Michael Symon's new restaurants, Bar Symon.  Having dined at two of his other ventures, Lola's on E 4th downtown and Lolita's in Treemont, and loving each of them we were pumped to give this one a go.  Symon is known for his love of the pig.  In fact he even sports a few tattoo's of them including a "Got Pork"one on his chest above his heart.  So when we were headed there I knew immediately that would be the meat I would have to try out this time around- it could only be fabulous.  

First impression was very cool.  It has a kind of warehouse feel to it, but yet warm and cozy at the same time.  They don't take reservations except for parties of six or more.  Being as there were only four of us we had an hour wait even coming after eight o'clock in the evening.   They have a great bar and their Beer Menu is very extensive.  But be warned, check the menu prices before ordering.  On tap they can go as high as $11 a pint and their bottles reach up to $65!  But don't worry the prices start low- $1 for a P.B.R. and many are quite reasonable, I just don't want you to be shocked at your bill.

As an Appetizer we had an order of the house chips served with a three cheese fondu and chives and also an order of the Pork Cracklings.  We always hear about how awesome cracklings are on our food shows, along with Michael Symon, these are one of Anthony Bourdain's favorite snacks.  We just had to give them a try.  They were crunchy, a bit salty and with the Malt Vinegar they serve with it, absolutely delicious.  We are converted.  For dinner Matt and I both enjoyed the Slow Cooked Pork Shank which sat on top of soft polenta (which was the creamiest and most delicious polenta I ever tasted).  The pork was beautiful, and with just a light touch from the fork, fell right off the bone.  Neither of us could eat it all and were lucky enough to have doggie bag's to take the rest home.
Slow Cooked Pork Shank
Adrianne decided on the Dortmunder Lake Perch Fish Fry.  It was served with house chips and a crunchy slaw.  All of it was crisp, delicious and just plain yummy!!!  She also was quite pleased with the House Pickle Tarter Sauce for dipping. She said that it tasted homemade and not at all what you would get out of a bottle.
Dortmunder Lake Perch Fish Fry
And lastly Scott ordered the Duck Paprikash.  It was a duck confit, served with dumplings, turnips and paprika. The duck itself was super tender and went lovely with the sauce.  He said the turnips, although what seemed like a strange addition actually worked together really well with the dumplings and gave a nice earthiness to the dish.

Duck Paprikash
We all decided that Bar Symon is a definite Do-Again.  There were lots of dishes that each of us wanted to come back to try, and the atmosphere is really great.  Next time maybe we will bring along a few more friends so we can make reservations.  But honestly though, for a Friday night it isn't anything that you wouldn't expect anywhere else.  Especially a place with food that is so delicious.

Later that evening we made a stop off at Fat Head's Brewery and Saloon in North Olmsted.  It is relatively new in the same location that Danny Boy's used to be.  We hear the food is great, but after such full bellies, we just wanted to try out some of their home crafted beers.  Matt had the Fest Bier.  He said it was very smooth and just a good drinking beer.  Scott ordered the Head Hunter IPA.  It was a good thing Scott ordered this one and not me.  One sniff and the Hops just about knocked me off my chair.  This was a very strong beer, very full bodied and lots and lots of Hops.  Although I personally didn't like this one, it was right up Scott's alley.  He completely liked the aggressiveness of it.  I ordered the Weizenbock.  This was hands down the weirdest beer I have ever had in my life.  It is described as being an unfiltered wheat, with a spicy aroma that hints of raisin, clove, banana, and bubble gum.  Yes, you read right- bubble gum.  I don't know what possessed me to try it in the first place.  I guess I was intrigued.  I figured now how much bubble gum would you really taste.  It is rare when I can actually pick out all of the flavors that a beer is supposed to "hint" at.  Well this one was 100% bubble gum.  That is all I smelled and all I tasted.  Think Double Bubble or Bazooka.  I felt like I had a huge wad of gum in my mouth the entire time I was drinking it.  Halfway though it got a little better after my mouth got used to the flavor.  But I can tell you one thing, I wouldn't order this again.  But on the other-hand, the Bumbleberry Honey Bluberry Ale is calling my name for next time.  Being as Adrianne is a beautiful five months pregnant, there was no beer for her tonight.  But instead she enjoyed some bread pudding for dessert instead. It is made very different then any of us had seen before, it was made more like a loaf instead of the more chunky style we were all used to.  Due to this, it was very dense.  But the coconut and pineapple that was mixed in made for delicious flavor.  Yum!

Friday was a great night out with best friends, delicious food and fun drinks.  A perfect way to spend a birthday if you ask me!


  1. Great review of Bar Symon, I agree 100% with what you wrote.
    The Bumbelberry Honey Blueberry Ale is calling my name as well, let's hit up Fatheads this summer so I can finally drink it!!!

  2. Thank you, Adrianne! We need to try and make this a regular thing- us going out to new restaurants. It was fun! And honey, you got it! The first moment you are a "free woman" I am there :)

  3. Amie! You told me about Lola's and Lolita's before! Wow! The food at Bar Symon looks scrumptuous...Glad you had a good time! And at Fat Heads...Weizenbock...that is crazy! I hink I would have joined Adrienne with the bread pudding! lol... Now if Brian were there, he would have had what Scott had...Sounds like a great variety!

    Tera Pepper

  4. Reading this review of Michael Symon's restaurant and the new micro-brewery makes me miss Cleveland even more; though I really don't need a reason - I miss it all the time. Next time I am in town we need to go to Lola's - I have alway's wanted to ever since way back when you were little, Amie and he was on TV with Sara Moulton (do you know who she is?) and before he got famous. I got his new cookbook for Christmas. He shares stories about the recipes and his life. I made the "keftedes" (Mom's Little Meatballs) out of ground lamb; but did tweak a little by adding some feta in the meat mixture. They were delish! I gave some to my younger son who cooked them at home. When I asked him if he shared with his room mates, he told me yes for a dollar each - I don't really believe him though.

  5. We will definitely go to Lola's! Lolita's is cool too. Basically the same place. It was the original in Treemont and when he opened his restaurant on E 4th he named it Lola's and renamed his old restaurant Lolita's. Not sure why???? Yes, I do know Sarah Moulton. My mom always watched her on Food Network when she was on. She had a great show. It's too bad she isn't on anymore. There are a lot of old cooking shows I miss, along with hers. Like East Meats West with Ming Tsai. I loved him! Did you ever watch that one? I occasionally catch reruns on PBS or Fine Living.



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