Recently opened Sarava (13225 Shaker Square, 216-295-1200) has been getting plenty of props for its sassy Brazilian menu and sizzling decor. So why isn't chef-owner Sergio Abramof smiling? It seems that guests are still streaming into his other place, Sergio's on University Circle (1903 Ford Drive, 216-231-1234), seeking a taste of Brazil -- and getting steamed when they don't find it. "We actually had a couple walk out the other night," he laments. "People don't realize we've changed."
So here, once again, is the official word: Sergio's no longer features Brazilian cuisine. Instead, think of the food as "global," inspired by Mediterranean flavors and focused on seafood. The result is dishes like scallop lollipops with cilantro-soy dipping sauce and linguine pescatora with littleneck clams and shrimp.
An expanded international wine list, select beers, and a rotating retinue of fine artisanal cheeses are also new at Sergio's. According to GM Ryan Alabaugh, the long-aged Kerry Gold Irish cheddar goes great with a bottle of St. Peter's English Ale, as a starter, and Italian gorgonzola is super with a glass of after-dinner port. Judge for yourself each Monday through Saturday, beginning at 5 p.m.
Signs of the season . . . We stopped by Lakewood's Three Birds (18515 Detroit Avenue) just in time to catch the debut of chef-owner James Bell's spring menu. Among the standouts, we can happily recommend the wholesome -- but not too virtuous -- multigrain salad, a tender-chewy toss of quinoa, barley, wheat berries, tart cherries, and pine nuts topped with ultra-crisp, über-rich duck confit spring rolls, with a blueberry "glaze" for garnish ($8). And lush poached-salmon roulade, stuffed with fresh artichokes and oyster mushrooms, and served with sautéed spinach, slender asparagus, and a light, dill-scented red-pepper cream sauce ($21), tasted like springtime on a plate. Reserve a seat at 216-221-3500.
New beginning . . . Construction and training are ongoing, but Piatto Novo in Cuyahoga Falls (1989 Front Street, inside the Sheraton Suites) is open for business. "It will be May before we're entirely organized," says chef Roger Thomas. "But I'm happy to say we are already seeing a lot of old friends." The upscale Italian dining room is the successor to Piatto, Thomas' Akron restaurant that closed in October. Take a peek at the mouthwatering dinner menu at piattonovo.com. -- Cicora