***Thanks to Beth for guest blogging for Why CLE? while I’m on vacation! I love finding out people’s unique answers to Why Cleveland?***
So this isn’t the blog that I had told CLEgal that I would write, but I think it’s more interesting and fun!
A little bit about me as an introduction—I am a self-proclaimed foodie, but a nurse practitioner by profession. I am not a native Clevelander, I was born and raised in Dublin, Ohio, outside of Columbus, but have come to love this city and call it my home. I am engaged to a wonderful first-generation American with a strong Italian heritage and in the midst of planning a large Italian wedding. CLEgal is my closest friend and, as you have witnessed, also an excellent writer. ***CLEgal note: Blushing! Thanks! Your current guest blogger is the best friend a CLEgal could ask for!***
As a person who has studied the sciences through most of my schooling, my creativity is a bit rusty, but I would love to get back in touch with that side of myself. I initially had told CLEgal that I would write about fitness in Cleveland, and will likely do so in the future, but wanted to try to stretch myself a bit further for this guest blog. My fiancé and I went to dinner last night at one of our favorite places and I think it is definitely blog-worthy.
Bruno’s Ristorante is located at 2644 W. 41st St. in Cleveland and unassuming from the outside. It is small and therefore requires a reservation, but it is one of the best places to get Italian in Cleveland. It is family-owned and very unique. ( The number of places in Cleveland that fit that description, by the way, is a testament to its uniqueness and one of the many things I love about this city.) You can tell from the moment that you walk in the door that it is a beloved home to lovers of Italian cuisine, whether they are families, couples looking for a romantic night out or out for a corporate dinner. The size of the place and décor infinitely adds to its charm. The first thing that hits you after you park your car is the seductive smell wafting from the restaurant. When you walk through the door, the antique bar and authentic gold espresso machine catches your eye. The dining room is quaint and intimate and tantalizing with the food selections seen at neighboring tables. Portions are quite large as you will see from the photo of my half-portion of Veal Milanese Caprese, our entrée.
We started out with the appetizer special called “Clams Oregano”. As a lover of shellfish, but not always clams, I was a little hesitant at first, but won over by the flavorful tender and large clams brought to us in steamy garlicky wonderfulness. (Yes, so good that grammar must be compromised and even made up). The warm crusty on the outside and soft on the inside Italian bread was a wonderful complement to the appetizer as was the wine that I ordered. The featured wine on the menu was a Sauvignon Blanc from a vineyard called Tin Roof and one of the best Sauvignon Blancs that I have had. The complexity of flavor, citrus undertones, and light crispness was a perfect complement to seafood.
After our appetizer, we had choice of soup or salad. This is going to be a difficult choice after having tried both. The salad was fresh with perfectly ripe tomatoes (not an easy feat in Cleveland in the winter), pasta, and a light tart garlic balsamic vinaigrette. The Italian wedding soup was full of vegetables with homemade pasta and meatballs inside. The best Italian wedding soup I have ever had—flavorful, savory and comforting. I ordered a glass of the featured Cabernet Sauvignon to go with dinner which a very robust, full-bodied, dry red which perfectly complemented our veal entrée.
Our entrée was the Veal Milanese Caprese.
The veal was crispy and tender, very thinly sliced and lightly breaded, with fresh tomatoes and slightly melted fresh mozzarella on top. The whole plate was then drizzled with a sweet balsamic reduction sauce that brought out the flavor of the other ingredients beautifully. With the entrée we also received a side of homemade linguine and marinara sauce. As the fiancé of a very Italian individual, I have tried my share of marinara sauces, and used to think this was a pretty basic staple without much pizzazz. This sauce puts others to shame. It is obviously made with fresh tomatoes rather than canned stewed tomatoes, and is tart and tangy without being overly spicy.
We finished dinner off with Bruno’s signature tiramisu.
I am a huge fan of tiramisu and could eat it every day of the week. My fiancé also makes tiramisu that is out of this world, so I’m a bit of a tiramisu snob. While I love the liqueur and espresso-laden classic masterpiece that my sweetheart makes around Christmas, this was also delicious and very different from ones I have tasted in the past. It was light, fluffy, and creamy with a light spongy cookie layered in between and no overwhelming coffee flavor. The spongy cookie that was used instead of the traditional lady fingers had a nutty flavor to it which gave the tiramisu an almost “torte-like” feel. My fiancé informed me that this was actually a quite authentic take on a traditional Italian tiramisu, despite being different from what most of us think of as tiramisu. We did not get coffee with our meal as we were already so full, but Bruno’s also makes incredibly cappuccino drinks for those who favor coffee. As far as service, the meal was served efficiently but not in a rush, and service was friendly and excellent. I look forward to another great experience at Bruno’s soon!