Monday, September 29, 2008

Three Birds - 09/13/2008

18515 Detroit Ave
Lakewood OH 44107
(216) 221-3500

I've known of Three Birds ever since my first visit to Cleveland. Back then I was just learning to appreciate foie gras and Three Birds was the only restaurant that had foie on its menu online. The restaurant is supposed to have one of the better patio areas in Cleveland, but it was dark and rainy the night we went so the patio was closed. We entered through the back door, and while the door itself looked well-kept, the wall looked like it had seen better days. The restaurant itself is dimly lit, with an industrial interior feel and most of the light coming from the open kitchen. In the middle of the restaurant there is a little glass engraving of what else 3 birds.

The restaurant has custom labeled water bottles, that they leave on the table. Nice to be able to refill water without being at the mercy of the waiter. We were also brought a tin pail with two types of bread, sourdough and this sweet pepper bread that was quite good. The butter tasted strongly of herb and garlic and went quite well with the sourdough.

Amuse: Wild Rice Salad
I really could have done without this, dry, hard, and tasteless morsel.

Pan Seared Foie Gras - Puff Pastry, Peach Chutney, Ginger Gastrique
Once my favorite preparation of foie gras, searing has fallen out of favor and been replaced with terrine and au torchon preparations. Still this was a decent quality sear, the foie was soft and still maintained the intense fattiness foie gras is known for. The use of peach and ginger gave the right amount of sweetness to the liver.

Ceviche - Scallops, Shrimp, Baby Tomatoes, Avocado, Citrus Herb Marinade
I was a bit leery of ordering the ceviche because I wondered how fresh the seafood would be. The dish was made up of mostly shrimp, scallop, and avocado giving it a blunt dull flavor that overwhelmed what should have been a lively citrus marinade. The shrimp turned out decent enough even though the scallops were rubbery and flavorless.

Almond Orange Crusted Snapper - Purple Forbidden Rice, Green Beans, Orange Ginger Beurre Blanc
The snapper came out golden brown resting atop a bed of rice and green beans. The fish itself is nicely done flaky but not too firm, as if the butter sauce had seeped into the meat. Even though orange appears twice in this dish, the citrus flavor in both the fish and the sauce was largely a supporting element to the butter and almond.

Grilled Beef Tenderloin - Creamed Baby Spinach, Fried Garlic Butter Bacon Potatoes, Veal Demi
I appreciated two of the three elements in this dish. First the meat was tender and very flavorful, a bit more well done than I liked but still possessing a soft texture that is wonderful to bite into. The spinach was a nice accompaniment, slightly bitter it was a stark contrast to the richness of the meat. The potatoes were a bit overcooked and fried in oil resulting in very hard little squares that sort of oozed oil when you bit into them.

I am kind of ambivalent about Three Birds, while it didn't blow me away, the food was good enough. I felt most of the dishes were fairly standard, with nothing unique to make me identify it with the restaurant. The restaurant has some good points and I can see why people would think highly of it but I am not entirely sold.


Food, she thought. said...

I love the way you "stage" your food for the photos...your pic are fantastic. What do you shoot with?

Epicuryan said...

I use a point and shoot Canon SD600. Actually the really good pictures were taken by my girlfriend she is the one with the creativity