This week was my birthday, and of all the wonderful restaurants in Cleveland, my choice was Washington Place Bistro in the University Circle/Little Italy area.
This was my third visit and I was also surprised by a Wednesday night special that they have of 1 appetizer, 2 entrees and a bottle of wine for $40. For the appetizer, I got the carrot ginger soup which had little crispy carrot strings on top (sorry I forgot to take a picture!) and was all around fabulous. Note to self: try some carrot ginger soup recipes.
Then I got the vegetable tamales for dinner. I’ve had traditional tamales before and I have to say I’m not incredibly enthusiastic about corn cakes. These are nothing like those. These were tamales because they came wrapped in a corn husk, but inside the corn husk was a beautiful mixture of diced squashes. It was served with a side of basmati rice that tasted smoky somehow and was mixed with spinach and mushrooms. Perfectly cooked asparagus was artfully placed on top of the rice and there was a generous dollop of roasted tomato sauces underneath it all that just blended all of the smoky, roasted flavors together. It was really out of this world.
One of my favorite things about this dish is that it really showcases vegetables and brings out their lovely flavor. It doesn’t have some overly processed meat substitute and it doesn’t try to be something it’s not. The head chef came around to the table to say hello and to wish me a happy birthday.
If you haven’t already been to this restaurant, you should go right away! My prediction is that the Executive Chef, Melissa Khoury is going to be Cleveland’s next Michael Symon. Although I wish that every restaurant were fully vegan, I will admit that it’s nice that this one has lots of food for anyone, vegan or vegetarian or omnivore, so it’s a nice place to take friends and family.
I can’t miss mentioning the atmosphere. It is in an old, grand house with beautiful woodwork and spacious rooms with fireplaces everywhere. It’s the perfect atmosphere for a celebration, even if it’s just to celebrate that it’s Wednesday 🙂