Todd and Brad Buchanan's Inn at Turner's Mill (36 East Streetsboro Street, Hudson, 330-656-2949) hasn't suffered a bit since former Sous Chef Shawn C. Monday took over for departing Executive Chef Gary Bessette in August. While changes to the menu of seasonal American cuisine have been minor, Monday has tried to streamline the number of ingredients that find their way into a dish and to lighten up on the use of heavy cream sauces. A companion and I savored Monday's subtle touch when we both ordered the four-course tasting menu ($45 per person; $65 matched with wine), which included a different appetizer, salad, and entrée for each of us, as well as a sampler of three desserts. Among the standouts was an appetizer of lobster-stuffed spinach ravioli served in an out-of-this-world macadamia-and-Chardonnay butter sauce. Likewise, an entrée of succulent mahi-mahi, served with cinnamon-and-vanilla-scented mashed sweet potatoes on a zesty charred pineapple vinaigrette, nearly had us licking the plate. Monday was sous chef at the 10-year-old restaurant for four years before taking over the top spot. Prior to that, he spent several years in the kitchen of Hunter's Hollow and worked with Susie Heller at Stix.
Oh, for those good old days . . . Tim and Betty Brennan, owners of Brennan's Fish House (102 River Street, Grand River; 440-354-9785), recently celebrated their restaurant's 25th anniversary by rolling back prices at select tables to 1974 levels. Lucky customers were in for a treat, given that restaurant prices have gone up considerably since the '70s. For example, a bowl of clam chowder that goes for $2 today was a mere half-a-buck a quarter-century ago. Likewise, a fried fish platter, with shrimp, oysters, scallops, and perch, which now sells for $13.95, was only $3.50 in those golden days. The menu isn't the only aspect of the restaurant with a history. The building dates to 1849, when it was a boarding house for Great Lakes travelers, and it has also seen action as a saloon and pool hall. Today, the casual eatery is filled with nautical bric-a-brac as a backdrop to walleye and perch dinners, "greasy" fries, homemade crab cakes, and Betty's own banana cream pie. Winter hours, through February, are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Brennan's will be closed on Sundays until March.
Off to the Big Apple . . . Cleveland chefs Brandt Evans of Kosta's and Michael Symon of Lola may be flying the friendly skies even as you read these words. The culinary duo are being whisked off to N.Y.C. January 13 to show their stuff on the Food Network's 10 p.m. Cooking Live show. This evening's program is called "Cleveland Classics," and Evans and Symon have prepared a menu that lives up to the title. Symon will be whipping up lobster-and-potato pierogi and beef tartare, while Evans is offering a goat-cheese-stuffed venison chop with black walnut and sour cherry glaze. And for dessert, we're having a baked MacIntosh apple with triple-berry mascarpone and wonton crisps. Is this a great time to be a hungry Clevelander, or what?
Au revoir . . . The staffers of Vermilion's Chez Francois are taking their usual winter break. The classy French riverfront restaurant will reopen March 13, just in time for spring.