It’s not often that I do straight-up restaurant reviews – I prefer to leave that to my favorite foodie CLEbloggers – and it’s even less often that I have two in a row. But, CLEguy took me to a fantastic “hidden gem” of a restaurant on Monday night and I just had to share with you, dear readers. After all, one of the best answers to Why CLE? is our amazing food scene, right?
Match Works Tavern in Mentor bills itself as “Casual Atmosphere with Serious Food,” and that is just what CLEguy and I found. Set in the historic brick Matchworks Building, Match Works Tavern has relaxed, low-lit indoor seating as well as a spacious patio. Chef Tom Quick, who opened Zinc Bistro, is at the healm, along with his wife Denise. And the quality of the food and wine at Match Works is a welcome addition to an area that can be dominated by chain restaurants and sports pubs.
Match Works has an extensive menu of bar snacks and small plates and I probably could have made meal on those, considering how many sounded delicious. CLEguy and I ordered the duck pierogi and the Bahn Mi sliders.
The duck pierogi was an obvious choice for me, as it had 3 things I can never pass up: (1) duck, (2) pierogi, (3) goat cheese. The pierogi was fantastic – the dough was firm, but not too heavy, with just a slight crisp to the outside. The pierogi was stuffed with a hearty portion of duck – no filler here! Add in a garlic thyme confit, goat cheese, and carmelized onions and you have an absolutely fantastic dish.
The Bahn Mi sliders had a generous amount of pulled pork, plus cucumber and carrot to add texture. The hoisin and sriracha sauces added just the right amount of heat and tang.
We took a ridiculous amount of time deciding on our entrees, as everything sounded amazing. I selected the sesame-crusted ahi tuna. The tuna was perfectly cooked and the sesame coating was delicious. This dish was served with jasmine rice, topped with seaweed salad and micro greens. Light and fresh and perfectly summery!
CLEguy chose the veal meatloaf, with truffle mashed potatoes, wild mushrooms, and marsala sauce. The meatloaf was moist and tender and the sauce and mushrooms added a wonderful earthy flavor to this hearty plate. He almost finished it all – an impressive feat!
For dessert, we both easily agreed on the chocolate stout brownie with chocolate mousse. Thank goodness we decided to split this dessert…
The cake was dense – almost muffin-like in texture – and studded with chocolate pieces. The mousse was creamy and light. And the blueberry sauce drizzles over the entire cupcake sandwich took this dish to the next level. Definitely save room for dessert!
Match Works Tavern offers friendly service, a relaxed atmosphere, and truly amazing food. Plus, supporting owners who have spent their careers contributing great food to the CLE restaurant scene is always a good thing. And until the next time, I’ll be dreaming about that duck pierogi…