Calling a restaurant quirky is usually a subtle warning to keep a safe distance. But when we say that Hudson's new Indigo Luna is quirky, we mean it in the nicest possible way.
Sure, owner Francis Hsiao's rambling menu is more enthusiastic than enlightening. And it doesn't instill confidence when Hsiao, a Taiwanese native who arrived in Cleveland by way of Hong Kong and Honolulu, cheerfully admits that his culinary chops are mostly self-taught. And then, there's his concept -- high tea by day, "exotic" fusion fare by night -- that has caution written all over it.
But the bottom line is this: Hsiao and his staff dish up creative, palate-pleasing, and reasonably priced food, and -- if the friendly, laid-back vibe is any measure -- are having a helluva good time doing it.
Certainly, we had a good time eating it. From the fragrant mango marTEAni -- a sweet, chilly shake-up of green tea, jasmine, and fruit purée ($2.50) -- to the strangely compelling pork roll, with crisp meat, fried egg, jicama, and marinated veggies ($6.25) to the lush South Ocean lamb chops draped in a spicy aromatic jus (a steal at $18), the food far surpassed our expectations. The only dud was the bland linguine, enlivened not a whit by steamed veggies, bits of tofu, and slivers of sun-dried tomato.
While there's no liquor license yet, the tea menu offers dozens of green, black, herbal, and infused possibilities. And although the space (the former Mister Teriyaki) is small, the decor is pretty and serene.
Indigo Luna (180 West Streetsboro Street, in the Acme Plaza; 330-342-0532) is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday; high tea is served from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.
New kid in town . . . Fresh from a four-year run at Vaccaro's Trattoria in Fairlawn, chef Pete Schellenbach is now the top toque at Jac's (1303 West Sixth Street), the recently opened restaurant in the Warehouse District, and he's just debuted a mouthwatering menu of carefully crafted, contemporary Mediterranean cuisine. Divided into small, medium, and large plates, possibilities range from a simple $4 crostini to a $28 veal porterhouse, served with acepe di pepe risotto and finished with an olive-rich marinara. The kitchen is open from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For reservations, call 216-298-4125. Moody Blue