When we made plans to attend the PlayhouseSquare Cinema at the Square sing-a-long of West Side Story at the beginning of this month, my mom, Aunt Kathy and I tossed around a few options before agreeing on a pre-show meal at Hodge’s Cleveland. The restaurant located on Euclid Avenue opened by Chris Hodgson (of Dim & Den Sum and Hodge Podge food truck fame) and Scott Kuhn (of Washington Place Bistro & Inn fame) has gotten a lot of buzz this year. I’ve been trying to get there for several months now so I was especially looking forward to our meal that Thursday evening.
With three rambunctious ladies on his hands, our server Nick was quite the sport during our dining experience. He was incredibly well informed and able to answer any question we threw at him – even the not-so-serious ones. After some more interrogation, we ended up with the following array of items on our table…
pickle jar made with house-made pickled vegetables:
I ate the jar by myself. Looking back, I’m not even sure I offered to share! I loved the array of seasonal veggies. I forgot how much I love beans this time of year.
big dipper AKA lobster corndogs served with chipotle aioli, “tarter” sauce, smoked apple + red pepper jam:
This wasn’t Mom’s favorite dish of the night, but Aunt Kathy seemed to dig it, especially the dipping sauces. Nick explained that they take three different parts of lobster meat as well as some rock shrimp to create something of a lobster mousse for the filling.
Hodge’s infamous cornbread:
The definition of cornbread perfection.
ohio tomato + buffalo mozzarella salad with marcona almonds, purple basil, red onion, balsamic
Compliments of the chef, we all loved different components. For me, the onions were quite addictive.
lucky penny goat cheese + leek tart served with onion jam, arugula, parmesan:
Another offering from Chef Hodgson, both Mom and Aunt Kathy were greatful for the gift. (Although who in their right mind is going to turn down the gift of goat cheese?!)
chopped wedge with avocado, cherry tomato, red onion, olives, sweet corn, parmesan, kimchi blue cheese dressing and grilled chicken breast:
We all know I love a large salad. Well, this salad was ginormous – even for me. For those looking for a serious entree salad, look no further. That kimchi blue cheese dressing was seriously something special.
hanger steak with tomato creamed heirloom beans, potato shards, salsa verde:
This was Nick’s choice for Aunt Kathy (someone was being indecisive) and he did not steer her in the wrong direction. Another fine choice from the dinner menu that I plan to suggest to others on future visits.
pan roasted scallops with sweet corn risotto, poblano pepper, grilled corn, cumin vinaigrette, corn shoots, and feta cheese:
When asked which were his favorite entrees, Nick first suggested the scallops. My mom was sold – and then didn’t talk for a good five minutes when we started eating our entrees. I managed to get a scallop for myself and I could see why she was so silent. They were excellent.
On our way out, my mom saw some familiar faces on the line in the kitchen and was happy to find out our meal was crafted by some of her previous employees. Good people making good food – now how do you go wrong with that?
LONG STORY SHORT: As we rolled ourselves down Euclid Avenue towards the Theatre District, I thought of two things: 1) just what a wonderful meal we enjoyed and 2) when I could bring Hans back for another visit. With the thoughtful service and scrumptious offerings, I can promise I won’t wait nearly as long to find myself back at Hodge’s for a second round of good eats.
Disclosure: The goat cheese tart and the tomato salad were complimentary offerings during our visit. We paid for the rest of our food and beverages that evening. My thoughts – as always – are 100% my own.