I love getting together with my friends, but sometimes it’s the scheduling that takes the fun out of the process. Luckily, I discovered Doodle awhile back and it has become my saving grace in selecting dates for meetings, photo shoots and, most frequently, girls’ nights. After our last girls’ night out at a local Indian restaurant, we were soon on the hunt to find a date to check out one of Cleveland’s newest hot spots: Zack Bruell’s Cowell & Hubbard.
Cowell & Hubbard opened in early February 2012 at the corner of East 13th and Euclid in Cleveland’s Theatre District. As a previous employee of the district, I was incredibly excited to see the vacant space finally being put to good use – by one of my favorite CLE chefs nonetheless.
While we picked the date because we all were available, it happened to also be during Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week – the best week of the year for a CLE foodie! Participating restaurants provide great dining deals for both dinner and lunch, giving you the chance to get more bang for your buck along the way.
One interesting note was the theatre crowd’s abrupt departure around 7:15PM. If you’re looking at dine at Cowell & Hubbard before a show at Playhouse Square – plan accordingly. Once curtain time hit, the restaurant calmed down drastically. Keep that in note if you’re looking to avoid a buzzing dining room experience! Personally, it was exciting to see the restaurant packed to the gills when we arrived!
The menu at Cowell & Hubbard was quite extensive, so it took us awhile to decide on our meals. In the meantime we ordered appetizers for the table, including the Roasted Pepper stuffed with shrimp and lime butter:
…the Butternut Squash Ravioli with greens, jalapeno and prosciutto:
…and the Fois Gras “Donuts” with a black pepper and orange gastrique:
The ladies enjoyed the ravioli (which smelled delicious) and the “donuts”. I stuck with the roasted pepper, which had a rich flavor and a lovely citrus punch.
While a few of the other ladies received a salad of mixed greens to start, I ordered the Soup du Jour, which was a tomato and eggplant soup finished with a balsamic reduction:
This soup was served at the perfect temperature (hot but not too hot) and had spice to it – probably from a nice dose of garlic – which was barely cooled by the addition of what I believed to be crème fraîche.
From the Restaurant Week menu, the other five ladies all ordered the Beef Shoulder served with kale, braised pork & au jus:
Jen kindly shared a bite of the kale, which again had a kick but still had a great texture and flavor from the beef. Considering all five ladies happily finished their entrees, this choice was a big hit.
I ordered the Russian Salad with tuna, fennel, red pepper aioli, potato, cucumber, egg, celery root, olives and carrots:
Crystal asked me what was in my salad and I couldn’t really remember that crazy list of ingredients, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t work together. There was a lot going on but they all balanced one another. I really loved the additions of tuna and the fennel – an ingredient I always find in my dishes when dining at a Zack Bruell restaurant, which I appreciate. I’d easily order this filling salad upon another visit to the restaurant.
To round out the Restaurant Week menu, the majority of the ladies ordered the Blondie with chocolate ice cream:
The ladies enjoyed the blonde, but I couldn’t turn down Crystal’s offer to share her ice cream. The chocolate ice cream was divine – perfectly rich and decadent. A few spoon scoops was all I needed to cap off my meal.
LONG STORY SHORT: We spent three relaxed hours at Cowell & Hubbard, chatting the night away. Their staff didn’t seem to mind as we were happily attended to the entire evening. I never felt rushed and always felt right at home. The food itself stood up to my high expectations for a Zack Bruell establishment and I look forward to scheduling more meetings there in the future. Between the downtown business lunch crowd and all those theater go-ers, I foresee Cowell & Hubbard being another successful piece in Chef Bruell’s Cleveland proper empire.