I wasn't the only one who harbored mixed feelings toward Vue (49 Village Way), the upscale Hudson restaurant that opened a little more than a year ago. It was love at first sight for the luxurious appointments, the artful decor, and the polished service, but the high-priced menu -- designed by then-Executive Chef Gregg Korney -- was too muddled and excessive to be taken completely seriously ("Steep Vue," August 17, 2005).
So it seemed promising when Robert Ledzianowski took over the kitchen in January. Most recently chef de cuisine at Cleveland's One Walnut, Ledzianowski introduced a streamlined menu of contemporary Mediterranean fare. And now I'm sorry I waited five months to visit. Ledzianowski's creations -- featuring a tightly composed interplay of seasonal, artisanal ingredients and imaginative seasonings -- have put Vue's food on equal footing with the surroundings.
Prices still aren't cheap -- a couple can easily drop $100 for dinner and a few glasses of wine -- but dishes like creamy asparagus bisque, garnished with crème fraîche and a nugget of lobster claw ($7), or heirloom beet salad, with pristine greens, white asparagus, and big crumbles of creamy goat cheese ($9), serve up quality and value, as well as good taste. (A less expensive "bistro menu" is served in the lounge.)
Among entrées, an opalescent filet of wild Alaskan halibut ($27) had such delicacy that we feared a disapproving glance might dissolve it. And moist pork tenderloin enrobed in spicy ground chorizo ($22), served with fresh fava beans, a cilantro-rich salsa verde, and an uptown version of mofongo (with whipped plantains, hard-cooked egg, garlic, and shallots), proved smart and coherent, yet spirited.
Eleven desserts incorporate fruits, nuts, custards, cheese, and spices in some novel combinations. We hit the sweet spot with a chocolate-mocha torte ($7.50), garnished with a bit of orange-fennel marmalade and cardamom-flavored mascarpone.
Other amenities include a distinguished international wine list, a sophisticated sidewalk-dining area, and Sunday brunch. To make reservations, call 330-650-1883.
Fresh Korney: Since leaving Vue, Korney has been fashioning Velocity American Bistro, his new restaurant at 10427 Clifton Boulevard on Cleveland's western edge. A grand opening is slated for this week.