This is the way we usually choose a place for dinner.
Me: “I’m making (fill in no effort, unexciting meal) for dinner.” Him: “Hmm…. what about going out?”
One of us: “I’m already sipping a (whiskey, beer, glass of good wine) – so it has to have a good selection of (same beverage)”
And that’s the end of it. No mention of what kind of food – most any place we go in Cleveland is going to be good stuff.
This particular night out was our first snow of any significance in the city, and we knew we were wanting to stay close, so we decided to head to Bar Cento in Ohio City for wine and hand tossed pizzas. (Shock – we were both sipping a glass of pinot noir when we had this conversation)
I knew the wine list was good, and thin crust gourmet pizza just sounded yummy.
When I say we went early, it was probably 6:30pm when we arrived and there were only a handful of people in the front room or in Bar Cento itself. The server was prompt and helpful – even if she did talk to my partner about the wine selections as if I wasn’t sitting there. Bless her heart.
Our wine selection was Steltzner Claret Bordeaux ‘08, at $35. A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc – its a pretty big wine, with well balanced tannins. Nice cherry, cinnamon and clove on the palate. Its spent 22 months in Mixed French Oak, so this is oakier than I usually like. But with our Big Board – charcuterie, cheeses and house pickled vegetables for $18, it was an excellent balance. We loved the 2 different patés on the board and the cheeses were very well selected. Nothing commonplace.
I was impressed with the upper end of their wine list. Their higher end wines are less than 2x retail. For restaurant service, and comparable to some places in town… I was impressed. The lower end isn’t quite the deal on pricing, but nothing was in my “are you kidding me?” range.
Chef Adam Lambert was out and about in the dining room. One of the things that really stood out was that Chef was outside the kitchen talking to the servers and taking one last look at each plate that went out. It was obvious that quality and presentation were his highest priorities.
The pizzas were ordered and arrived just as we finished the Big Board. We got the Bianco with sausage and the Olive. The man can put away some pizza, but with the two good size pizzas and the Big Board, we had about half of each to take home for lunch. Both were delicious. I’m a WineOH who is always looking at ingredients because I have an MSG allergy. Anyone sharing this sensitivity will be happy to know that Bar Cento is 100% MSG free, including the sausage. (always a concern)
Final Comments: Nice wine list, great service, food served with the highest quality in mind.
We’ll go back. And if you are looking for a nice meal with your honey, it makes the grade.
* Cuvée – a blend of several grapes, versus a single varietal. For MissWineOH, this is a blend of topics that will occasionally pop up when a single category is not appropriate.