Sure, we grieved when chef Steve Parris left his post at the Fulton Bar & Grill (1835 Fulton Road, 216-694-2122) earlier this year. But a recent visit to the funky little Ohio City restaurant and bar helped turn our frown upside down: When it comes to exciting, unusual, and creative fare, the Fulton's new executive chef, Brian Doyle, walks in nobody's shadow.
Doyle, former executive chef at Lure Bistro and a veteran of Donna Chriszt's kitchens at the former Jeso and J Café, has preserved many of the culinary traditions that made the Fulton sizzle: a global flavor lexicon (with everything from samosas to salmon on vanilla-scented grits), an emphasis on healthy preparations (with mostly organic meats and greens, plenty of vegetarian options, and a minimal amount of added fats or oils), and presentations that are handsome, artistic, and often whimsical (like the luscious shrimp in a Oaxacan Cocktail, interlocked like pieces of an edible puzzle).
Doyle's menu will change with the seasons, and while his summer offerings included lots of familiar dishes (including Fulton signature items like Caribbean Seafood Boulie and Sweet & Spicy Soba Noodles), he promises that the autumn menu, debuting later this month, will be a riot of "knock-'em-dead" flavors and ingredients. He's especially proud of his newly developed recipe for Crispy Lobster, cosseted, fritter-like, in a rice-flour batter with kafir lime leaves and served with Japanese hot peppers and a pomegranate-and-ginseng reduction. "I'm still thinking about other ways to expand the flavors on that one," he muses, rather unnecessarily.
Among the sweet endings, traditionalists will be happy to find the Fulton's famous Liquid Center Chocolate Cake remains as irresistible as ever. However, Doyle's Irish Car Bomb (warm whiskey bread pudding, drizzled with Bailey's and topped with Woo City's Guinness ice cream) seems likely to heat things up.
Chicken out . . .
Leave it to Executive Chef Warren Dolata and his staff at classy Mosaica (23800 Detroit Road, Westlake; 440-250-5550) to turn the plebian clambake into an upscale feast. That pale, stringy chicken is out at Dolata's table; a 20-ounce whole lobster and an 8-ounce top sirloin steak are in, along with two dozen clams, clam chowder, clam broth, corn on the cob, a sweet potato, and cole slaw. The meat-eater's mega-meal is available every Monday through the end of the month. Cost is $65 per person, and reservations would be wise.