We had the good fortune of celebrating my brother-in-law's birthday at Washington Place Bistro and Inn. Formerly the old Baricelli Inn, the space has had new life breathed into it. The new owners have gotten rid of the tired '80's/'90's decor, and lightened the mood a bit with a brighter, more contemporary, and less stuffy atmosphere.
One reservation I had was that the interior might be better, but the food wouldn't be on par with what Paul Minillo used to do inside these walls. Fear not. The quality of the ingredients as well as the thoughtfulness of the menu is superb.
I shared the Shrimp and Grits with my lady friend (my first wife) for our appetizer. Since she's a spice wimp she picked out the chirozo and gave it to me in a nice, neat little mini pile. Since I'm a shrimp wimp (okay, I'm not. In fact there's no such thing.), okay, okay, okay, I ate my share of the shrimp, too. Good dish, but what did you expect from a grits whore like myself?
Feeling particularly porkalicious, and always up for anything sweet and spicy (just like my women, er...woman), it was the cider brined pork chop with jalapeno and scallion spoon bread and Chef's Garden spinach. I thought that for $19 it certainly represented a good value. Regina actually said she wished she had ordered the pork chop as well. (She got scallops and thought they were okay, but not that exciting.) Well, duh, their scallops!
Since the dessert flight was going to be taking place back at my crib, we didn't get a chance to sample any of the desserts.
Clearly the new regime here on the Corner of Cornell and Random have done their due diligence. The restaurant has been updated all the way from the bathrooms to the deepest corner of the dining room. The quality of ingredients is top notch. Chef's Garden produce, Jeni's Ice Cream, Western Reserve Bakery bread are all being used on the menu. What I really like is the menu is affordable. It's someplace that you can come for a special occasion and everyone will find something they like. (There's no 'weird food' as my dad call's it.)
For all of the upgrades to the property, quality of ingredients, and quantity of food, I think Washington Place Bistro and Inn represents a good value.
Washington Place Bistro and Inn
2203 Cornell Rd
Cleveland, OH 44106