my second visit to AMP150

You may remember that after my previous visit to AMP150 Bar & Restaurant, I left blown away by our dining experience.  I loved the concept of farm to table cooking. I loved the food. I loved the chef’s dedication to local ingredients. I even loved its random location.When my good friend Mary and her boyfriend wanted to do a double date, I had to suggest this CLE restaurant.

As a reminder, from their website: AMP 150 is a 200-seat restaurant and bar with an open casual feel playing up-beat rock and roll and serving tasty selections all priced under $20.

Chef Ellis Cooley has been noted all over blog land and Cleveland print publications for his dedication to reaching out to customers with social media. Utilizing their Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare connections, he’s enticed diners to walk into the Aiport Marriott, only to hook them to return for more in the future.

Our server for the evening was Sonya.  She was phenomenally prepared to answer all of my questions about the changes to the menu since my last visit. She was an excellent representative of the restaurant, so I knew we would be in good hands that evening.

We met our dining companions at the restaurant that evening. Unfortunately for them, they were stuck in traffic. Fortunately for us, we ordered an appetizer to start since we were starving.We started our meal with the SWEET SOY & PEANUT CHICKEN WINGS with House Made Spicy Kim Chee:

I RARELY eat chicken wings, but these were worth it. The wings were crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. I really enjoyed the soy glaze. Hans and I would grab some extra peanuts from the slaw with each chicken bite for some added variety in flavor.The house made spicy kim chee was definitely spicy and HOT. I have a high spice tolerance and couldn’t bare much more than a few bites of the slaw. We ate all the wings and left the majority of the kim chee. We didn’t want to overwhelm our taste buds so early on.

Hans started his meal with the APRICOT GNOCCHI with Shaved Asparagus and Parmesan:

Whoever is making the pasta at AMP150, I give you a standing ovation. The se were the definition of a perfect gnocchi. Like my previous experience with their cavatelli, a little starchy pillow of heaven was balanced perfectly with the apricots. The dish wasn’t over the top in sweetness, which I appreciated. Hans wished he would have ordered two more servings of this small plate – it was that good. I’m sure if you asked your server for an entrée size, AMP150 would accommodate your request.

I started my meal with the Fennel, Figs and Grapes Salad with a Champagne Vinaigrette:

I did ask for my salad to be dry, with the dressing on the side. Unfortunately, the salad came out dressed with additional dressing on the side.I didn’t want to be difficult, so I enjoyed the salad as the kitchen intended it to be.  I’m what you would call “sauce sensitive”, so it was a bit soggy for my taste, but normal human beings would have been pleased with the pre-dressed salad.  In the end, I was perfectly fine as I highly enjoyed the vinaigrette’s taste.  Since it didn’t overpower the salad, it didn’t kick up the already sweet pairing of the grapes and figs.  While I normally don’t lean towards sweets in my dinner selections, this was a nice change to my normal starter choice.

My friend Mary started with the WATERCRESS SALAD with Lake Erie Goat Cheese, Strawberries, Toasted Almonds and Balsamic:

…and she ordered the PASTA PRIMAVERA with Handmade Herbed Pasta, New Vegetables and Ricotta for her main dish:

Mary noted she enjoyed both offerings. She said that the watercress was “a bit much” for her. I think it was attacking her as she tried to eat it. As for the pasta, she liked how she could add her ricotta as she wanted as she worked her way through the dish. She was very pleased with her selection. Considering I almost ordered the same dish, I knew I too could order it and be content.

For my main, I ordered the BLACK MUSSELS with Ginger & Lemongrass, Spicy Chili Broth from the Starters menu:

My first note is that a dish like this screams for some grilled bread or toasts – something to dip into all that glorious broth. I ask my server for a piece or two of bread, which she happily provided.I really enjoyed the broth combination and the amount of spice in the dish. Unlike the kim chee in the wings, I wasn’t being bulldozed by spice. I may have attacked myself while trying to open up one of the mussels with my thumb.  Hey, sometimes a good dish is worth a little blood, right?!

Hans ordered the BRAISED LAMB with Chili Spiced Grapes. He subbed the GRILLED ASPARAGUS with House Made Duck Prosciutto, Shaved Parmesan for his side dish.

I did snag a bite before Hans licked the plate clean. On our previous visit, Chef Ellis gave us the full run down on how he prepared the lamb. Since we knew all about the extensive steps taken in the preparation of the dish, it was no surprise that the lamb was outstanding. It was perfectly cooked so that it melted in your mouth. I was amazed by how tender it was. Hans also enjoyed his asparagus and was pretty proud of himself for such an excellent meat and side pairing!  By the end, he had stolen some of my left over bread and was sponging up any drizzle of sauce left on the plate to savor every single bit he could.

LONG STORY SHORT: We once again enjoyed our experience at AMP150 Bar & Restaurant that Thursday evening.  It was filled with outstanding food and excellent service, and that combination is always a winner. I was also glad to see the bar hoppin’ that evening, as there were several groups of young professional enjoying the fun atmosphere.

I look forward to returning this week: our monthly CLE Blogger get-together will take place this Thursday the 24th at AMP150.  This month, we’re taking everyone to the West side of town! (Don’t worry Eastsiders: we’ll be heading out that way in July!) If you are interested in joining the fun, let me know! You know you won’t regret your meal selection!

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5 comments

  1. Liz says:

    I, too, would consider myself “sauce sensitive”. I always ask for any salad dressings on the side and seem to run into more problems with it at higher-end restaurants than any place else. I’ve heard how a side of dressing takes away from the salad as it was intended, or how they really, really don’t put *that* much on…but it’s almost always too much for me, even though I realize the salads would be considered lightly dressed by most diners’ standards.

    Anyway, I’m glad to find another foodie who feels the same way! :)

  2. Sue says:

    It was great to meet you at the blogger dinner the other night. Thanks for the blogging tips! Your story is really inspiring. You should be applauded for doing it the right way. It is really all about healthy lifestyle.

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