Lakewood’s Venezia Takes a Vacation

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That bastion of quirky charm and first-rate food, Venezia (16300 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood, 216-226-0006) has closed for a brief remodeling. When chef-owner Moha Orchid reopens in mid-February, look for an updated menu as well as some interior improvements. “I got tired of fighting it,” says the eccentric Moroccan-born chef, whose resume includes stints in Paris and NYC. “So I swallowed my pride and added hamburgers and pommes frites. ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,’ right?” It’s a hard-won concession from the classically trained culinarian. But while we’ve rarely found anything on his mostly Italian menu that we didn’t adore -- on those days when he’s made chicken bastila, we’ve been nearly reduced to tears -- it’s obvious that Orchid has had a hard time building a business in Lakewood. Some of his trouble can be chalked up to chronically slow – and sometimes, downright odd -- service, which has driven off some potential regulars. But on the other hand, the small kitchen size precludes drafting much help, and the location does lack a liquor license. As a result, we won’t be surprised if Orchid eventually packs up his pots and pans and relocates. --- Elaine T. Cicora

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