Get your meats & sweets on at Cleveland’s Cordelia

Cleveland’s 4th Street has been put on the National Register of Historic Places, cordoning off traffic for a restaurant and entertainment district. On a warm winter night (!) after a winning Cleveland Brown’s game, the streets were filled with happy, hopeful people. Cordelia is a newer restaurant in the district, all about local and seasonal meats and veggies. They butcher the cuts on site.

They have seating at a bar overlooking the kitchen and it was marvelous to watch the interactions of the chef, sous-chefs and runners. Do you watch those restaurant reality shows on tv? You’ll love this. Here is a video I took of all the action!

The decor is low-lit industrial and I noticed people were dressed for comfort. They have several long tables, perfect for families or groups of friends. These were all filled. Cordelia’s portions are extremely generous, so bring your friends: sharing is caring!

Starting off with their grilled broccoli, they make it into an enticing appetizer — much more than just a veggie side — though they list it in a category called “Eat Your Veggies!”. It’s flavored with a hint of fennel (not too licorice-y), presented on a bed of white bean puree and topped with grated cheese, adding richness. Cranberry and walnuts give it seasonality as well as a touch of sweetness. The broccoli loses that grassy quality that puts some people off.

The pork belly is a very rich, very sizeable entree: even hearty eaters can share it. They treat it lovingly: I was informed that the pork undergoes a lengthy marinade, then braised in red wine, sarsaparilla and butter. Then, it’s garnished with pickled mustard seeds. The slightly sweet sauce perfectly compliments pork. The belly is rendered super tender.

I was both surprised and delighted to find out that Cordelia has a pastry chef. The dessert recommended was absolutely the spot-on counterpoint for my meal: It was a blueberry granita with basil soft-serve ice cream and meringue pieces. It’s meant to evoke an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. Whatever — it’s great!

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