Dining » Dining Lead

Cambodian Buzz

Two Ohio City spots swap their food and drink.

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Can an elegant Belgian brewski find happiness with a fiery Cambodian crêpe? "You'd be surprised," laughs Mike Foran, manager at Ohio City's McNulty's Bier Markt (1948 West 25th Street).

Foran promises that the nontraditional pairing can bring fulfillment to both patrons of the Belgian beer bar and diners at Phnom Penh (1929 West 25th Street), the Southeast Asian restaurant that recently opened across the street. "It makes all kinds of sense. They have a full kitchen, and we don't. But we have a full liquor license, and they don't." Bier Markt customers can order dinner from Phnom Penh's menu, then have staffers pick it up. And thirsty diners on the way to Phnom Penh can grab a bottle of wine or a six-pack at the Markt to enjoy with their spring rolls or pho.

Of course, it may last only until the Bier Markt's own kitchen and dining room are running. Slated to occupy space adjacent to the bar, the restaurant will serve lunch, dinner, and late-night noshes. An executive chef should be onboard this week, and the eatery -- which Foran says will be the largest in Ohio City -- is set to open this summer.

Italian in Theory . . . Tremont's former Theory (2221 Professor Street) won't be empty much longer. Restaurateur Fabio Salerno, of Little Italy's Gusto!, has just announced plans to revive the late upscale steakhouse as a "contemporary Italian-concept restaurant," serving pastas and thin-crusted pizza. Jeff Fisher (Sushi Rock) has been tapped as executive chef; opening is set for July 1.

Feel-good gluttony . . . Eat, drink, and claim a tax deduction: That's the beauty of spending dining dollars at local fund-raisers. Among the upcoming possibilities, check out the Let's Get Fresh blowout for the North Union Farmers Market. The April 24 benefit will feature food from 23 top restaurants, including Parker's, Flying Fig, and Moxie, as well as wine, live music, and a silent auction. For info and tickets ($70-$150), call 216-751-7656.

On May 2, raise a glass to the Cleveland Institute of Music, whose Uncorked benefit will spotlight nearly 30 international wineries along with fare from One Walnut, Three Birds, and more than a dozen other cool spots. Tickets are $75-$150; call 216-791-5000.

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