Last night was no ordinary Monday night for Hans and myself. As a part of a media preview organized by Michelle at Cleveland Foodie, we had the chance to get a sneak peek at Washington Place Bistro & Inn in University Circle.
From their website: Washington Place offers modern American fare featuring local cheeses, produce and meats. An eclectic yet affordable wine list and signature cocktails can be enjoyed in the new lounge or on the extended outdoor patio in the comfort of the Little Italy neighborhood. Our 7 room inn has been completely remodeled and features the most modern amenities available at an affordable price. Wall mounted televisions, individual pod coffee makers, glass showers, ipod alarm clocks, and high thread count sheets are just a few of the things you can expect when staying the night.
About 40 invited guests joined Proprietor Scott Kuhn and Executive Chef Jonathan Guest in the entrance/bar area of the old Baricelli Inn space. While I had never visited the space before, you could feel the excitement in the air that only a major rehaul and a fresh coat of paint can bring. The evening began with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at 6:30PM before the seated dinner at 7:00PM. CLE media folk and bloggers alike had a chance to chat while enjoying quite the assortment of what Washington Place has to offer.
The HORS D’OEUVRES menu included:
- Shrimp & Grits
- Goat Cheese Display
- Hanger Steak Crostini
- Goat Cheese Strudel
- Cheese Puffs
The TASTING MENU included:
- Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Salad: chef’s garden beets and greens, candied almonds, mackenzie creamery ranch
- Oxtail Pierogies: oxtail ragout, ohio city pasta truffled potato pierogie, caramelized onion, horseradish creme fraiche
- Roasted Root Vegetables with Oxtail: my gluten free version of the second course
- Dayboat Scallops: butternut squash risotto, pearl onions, apple cider beurre blanc, micro greens
- Braised Pot Roast: c.a.b., chef’s garden carrots, roasted garlic mashers, big red reduction
- Pan Seared Wild Pacific Salmon: cauliflower gratin, fine herbs
- Housemade Chocolate Brownie: chocolate jeni’s ice cream, bittersweet chocolate drizzle
MY THOUGHTS ON THE EXPERIENCE:
- Those pictures don’t do the food any justice. I need a new camera. Head over to Alexa’s or Suzanne’s blogs for better photo documentation.
- My official taste tester went home full and content. Hans tried all of the dishes presented and had nothing bad to say about anything. His favorites included the Goat Cheese Strudel, the Oxtail Pierogies and the Braised Pot Roast. The strudel came straight from the oven and oozed of cheese and chorizo. I lusted over that truffle infused pierogi, though my fellow diners noted they didn’t notice the truffle flavor very much due to the delicious oxtail ragout. As for the pot roast: by the time I could snap a photo and take my first bite, Hans’ serving was GONE. I had to stop him from licking his plate.
- My gluten issue wasn’t an issue at all. As I was honored to be invited to the media preview, I wasn’t sure how my gluten intolerance would hinder my experience. As the menu was a fixed tasting menu, I didn’t want to take the place of someone who could fully enjoy the meal. Fortunately for me, the chef was kind enough to make some substitutions to accommodate my dietary needs. While others enjoyed their pierogi, I was treated to a medley of Roasted Root Vegetables with Oxtail. Hearty and filling, this veggie option would be my preference on a usual evening. Instead of the cauliflower gratin with the salmon, my gluten free version subbed them with mashed potatoes. Speaking of, I highly enjoyed the pan-fried preparation of the salmon with the accompanying mushrooms. Another stand out for me – as for many others attending – was the Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Salad. All of the elements equaled perfection on the plate. I was tempted to ask for five rounds of that starter! The staff took extra special care to make sure I was content – believe you me, I was.
- The inn at the establishment shouldn’t be overlooked. While the team finalized the majority of the guest rooms, Scott showed us one room to give the attendees an idea of what visitors could expect. Calm and welcoming, I would recommend it to anyone looking for an inn-style overnight option in the area. Also, the rental rates are priced right – and include breakfast or brunch depending on the day of the week.
- I am constantly amazed by the warmth of the Cleveland community. It was fantastic to be surrounded by familiar faces while also having the chance to make some new friends. How lucky was I to sit down at a table with another long distance runner?! If you sat down at our four top, you would have thought we were long lost friends. I also want to note Scott’s welcome that started out the evening. His warm soul poured through his introduction and his love for this project shows. I would gladly spend an evening or two at Washington Place.
LONG STORY SHORT: As we drove home, both Hans and I noted how much we enjoyed the experience. We look forward to returning in the future – perhaps for their Wednesday night 2 for $40 promotion or just a nice night out in the Circle. I can’t thank Scott, Jonathon and Michelle enough for organizing this and providing such an enjoyable time. If you are in the University Circle area and are looking for a new take on some old favorites, definitely check out this restaurant today.