Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Brunch in Cleveland
After 3 months in Cleveland, it was about time I tried brunch here. I recently went to 2 different places: Luna Bakery and Cafe and The Inn on Coventry.
First, Luna Bakery and Cafe is a relatively new spot in the Cedar-Fairmount area. It's hip, modern, bright, etc. The space is crowded, but the atmosphere is energetic. You order at the register and then fight for a table (on busy weekends). Or, while waiting for the table, you can watch the "chefs" make crepes and regret that you didn't order 10 more things... The menu selection is pretty diverse. There are no egg classics (benedict, etc.), but there are a variety of sweet and savory crepes and breakfast and lunch sandwiches. I got the dark chocolate crepe with fresh berries. Then, because the display was so tempting, I also got a green tea macaron, a chocolate-hazelnut macaron. Finally, I noticed the mushroom quiche and decided to try it as well. Never mind that I had already had breakfast that morning... So let's start with the quiche: it was incredibly smooth and melted in my mouth. The crust was still flaky and buttery. However, I wish that the mushrooms flavor was more detectable. I next tried the crepe. It was warm and thin. The chocolate filling was neither too much, not too little - it was in good balance with the crepe. And the berries presented a nice contrast to the sweet chocolate. I managed to save the macarons for home, but I quickly finished them, as well. They had good texture, but nothing special as far as macarons go. They were delicious, but the flavors were just average.
Only a couple of weeks after the experience at Luna, I went to the Inn on Coventry. We were a large group (8 of us), but didn't have a problem getting a table at 9:45 am. Unlike Luna, the Inn is old, dark, and crowded. It's an old establishment, and it feels like it has never been renovated. The character can be nice if the original features are done in the right way, but that wasn't the case with the Inn. Fortunately, the food was worth it. I got the Maryland crab cakes Benedict. I wasn't sure if getting seafood at that location in particular was a good idea, but it turned out ok. Well, the crab cakes didn't have that much crab, but they were ok. They weren't great, but they weren't a disaster. The eggs, however, were perfectly poached. The yolks were soft in the middle and ran on the plate as a nice rich cream. I love egg yolks! Who cares about cholesterol ;) The Hollandaise sauce had red peppers in it, which complemented the crab cakes well. On the side, I got grits just because I miss the South :) My first impression of the grits was that they were very bland, but I eventually got used to the taste. They definitely didn't have any cheese. At least they were still creamy...
Despite the old interior, I would have liked the Inn on Coventry if it wasn't for the service. They problems started as soon as we sat down. The waitress was rushing us to decide on drinks. I understand that she was busy, but she was almost rude whenever she had to interact with us. But the worst part was at the end, when we were done with the meal. The waitress simply set the checks on our table without asking them if we were ready. And then both her and the hostess kept coming over to our table to see if we were ready to leave. It did feel like they were making us leave. Yes, there were people waiting, but we got there early to get a table, so I feel like we had the right to stay. Plus, we weren't simply sitting there. We were already packing our things up. Maybe they got a little more revenue that morning by giving our table to someone else, but they definitely lost a customer in me.
Compared to the vibrant, happy and friendly atmosphere at Luna, the Inn on Coventry was quite a disappointment. But I'm looking forward to trying more brunch places. I hope that more of them will be closer to Luna rather than the Inn.