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Imagine my surprise when I heard that Chef Zach Bruell was opening an affordable French bistro on my side of town. If one is looking to eat French food in Cleveland there aren’t a whole lot of options. I can only do the trek out to Vermillion once or twice a year (preferably in the summer), to eat at Chez François.
Why “The Albatross”? From what I hear the golf fanatic chef named it after the term for completing a par five in two shots. This event is much more uncommon than even a hole-in-one. I saw a guy do it on the 11th hole at OSU Scarlet Course. It’s something very special I’ll remember for the rest of my life. When we were on the tee we were teasing him because he was using “La Jolla” brand woods. Unbelievable.
Housed in the old “That Place on BellFlower” on the Case Western Reserve Campus, L’Albatros is a very affordable night out.
We made our reservation on opentable.com. I used the app that it is out now on the iphone – ‘twas very easy.
So we walk into the restaurant and the kitchen is immediately off to the right, the bar and tables are in various coves to the left. If you haven’t been in this building before, there are nooks and crannies with seating tucked in everywhere. It’s cozy, but not NYC cozy. The tables didn’t have table clothes. Instead this white resin type material was used for the table. It didn’t require a table cloth, yet looked quite smart.
We kicked things off with the five serving cheese plate. The cheese service is actually a direct interaction with the cheese server, in this case Brenden. He happily went through all of the cheeses that were available and individually cut them off of the wheels, right at our table. He was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about what they had to offer. It was a lot of fun - highly recommended.
I ordered the Chicken Confit with spätzle, paprika, and roasted garlic jus. I thought it was good. The spätzle wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but the chicken was cooked perfectly. By the way his grilled chicken breast at Parallax is one of my favorites.
Regina ordered the Braised Leg of Lamb with pasta risotto and rosemary jus. The lamb was an appropriate size and also very tender.
Our desserts consisted of a Chocolate Brownie with walnuts, cherries, and vanilla gelato. I had the Espresso Pots de Crème. It was very rich and creamy with nothing left in the bowl.
If you’d like to view the menu, I robbed it from a link on Stuart Spivack’s blog, here it is.
I thought it was a really enjoyable dinner. For a restaurant that had only been open a week, I’d say it’s pretty far along. Affordable French – I think it’s a concept that is going to work great in “The Circle”. I eagerly await my next visit. Metaphorically speaking, this anything but an albatross.
11401 Bellflower Rd
Cleveland, OH 44106