It’s taken the better part of a year to transform the infamous Speak in Tongues nightclub space on Lorain into a place safe for food preparation and consumption, but the doors officially have swung open at Herb 'n Twine Sandwich Co
. (4309 Lorain Ave., 216-465-9600). The big day was ushered in on December 16th.
Owner Brendon Messina, who last worked with chef Jill Vedaa at Rockefeller’s in Cleveland Heights, describes the shop as a casual quick-serve stop for local residents, commercial tenants, and anybody else looking for a wholesome, delicious lunch or dinner.
Post renovations, the storefront space is rustic and plain, with an open kitchen, wood floors, exposed brick walls and yards of gleaming white subway tile. Exposed ductwork and electrical conduit give the space a slight industrial feel. A handful of high-top tables offers seating for a dozen guests, but Herb 'n Twine is mainly a grab-and-go (assuming you called ahead) sandwich shop.
Messina’s menu features a half dozen made-to-order sandwiches, a few salads and a soup. Daily specials in each category bumps that number up by one or two.
The Korean Fried Chicken ($10) features two fat white meat filets that are deep fried to order, tossed in a sweet and spicy glaze and layered into a hoagie bun with Asian slaw and fresh herbs. It's a big, meaty and well-executed sandwich. Others on the regular menu include a toasted grilled cheese ($8.50) sandwich that pairs nutty fontina and gruyere cheeses with sweet fig jam. The sandwich can be made with or without bacon. I'll be back to try the Porchetta ($9.50), the chef's brined-cured-roasted-and-sliced pork shoulder dish, which is made with crispy pork rinds and "chilichurri" sauce.
Oddly enough, the Chop salad is not a chopped salad; it's the House salad that features chopped romaine. The Chop ($5.50), instead, is a big, fresh and Chef-like salad flush with two types of greens, house-smoked bacon, hard-cooked eggs, a bunch of shaved veggies and a creamy but light buttermilk dressing. Like most items, the salad is large enough to share with a companion.
On its own, the tomato bisque ($4) is nice and tomatoey - but the soup improves dramatically after dropping in the accompanying blue cheese croutons. Daily soups have run the gamut from spiced carrot and curry lentil to creamy tomato with roasted Brussels sprouts.