Thursday, July 16, 2009

I wanted to love The Greenhouse Tavern

Now, as a vegetarian, I realize that going to a restaurant like East 4th's new hip and trendy hotspot known for its delectable meat dishes - The Greenhouse Tavern - is like ordering spaghetti at a Chinese restaurant, but I still hoped to have a halfway decent experience, considering that "vegetarian entree" is listed as an option on the online menu. But I was SO wrong.

I went to The Greenhouse Tavern on a happening Thursday night (the live entertainment on E. 4th on Thursdays is pretty awesome)with my friend for her birthday. We'd heard such great things about the restaurant, and we thought it would be a great place to try out.

We got seated in perhaps the worst table in the house, in some sort of little nook. Good thing I'm not claustrophobic! After what seemed like forever, our server came over to take our drink orders. I had the Sun Dried Martini ($9), which ended up being the best part of my meal.

Again, we waited for our server (who had an odor about him - he'd served us a few months ago at Cefe Tandoor and had been super creepy) to come back to our table. In the mean time, we were brought bread with some sort of pork butter. My friend tried it and said it tasted like bad tuna salad.

My dining companion decided on the foie gras and clams ($13) and the tomato soup ($6). We got an order of the $3.00 bread and butter to split. After asking our waiter about the mysterious "vegetarian entree" listed on the menu, he described the two options available - vegan and vegetarian, and I decided to go with the vegan option ($15).

It's a good thing I had a snack before dinner. It took forever for our food to come out. The bread and butter? Burned. My meal? Not at all like what the waiter described. I'd expected to get some fresh veggies over fresh white beans. I got a couple tomatoes, some olives, and a hodge podge of other things on top of some random greens. It was mediocre at best and the portion was comically small. My friend really enjoyed her soup - it was the best part of her meal - but our server brought her mussels instead of clams. She had to convince him that he's brought her mussels and not clams (although the two look nothing a like). Once she got her "real" meal, she said she did like the clams better than the mussels.

Overall, it was a really disappointing meal. Maybe it was an off night, but the service and food just didn't live up to the hype surrounding this new restaurant. Considering that the restaurant wasn't all that busy, I would have expected much better service. I'd also expect a server to be able to describe a dish to someone correctly. Personal hygiene is also an important factor for waitstaff. I can say that I'll probably never be back to The Greenhouse Tavern. I respect the concept and the vision behind the restaurant (green), but I can't bring myself to spend money in a place where service is so terrible.


  1. Hello Roxetta

    I am sorry about your experience at our restaurant. Please give me a call at your earliest convenience, I would love to speak with you. 216 443 0511. Thanx

    Jonathon Sawyer

  2. We've eaten at The Greenhouse Tavern several times since it's opened, and we have to disagree with you. Every dish we've tried has been excellent! Chef Sawyer is very accommodating and wants patrons to have a positive experience. I think you should give it another try.

  3. Chef Sawyer - thank you for taking the time to read my post. I really do think you're a phenomenal chef and really respect you for opening a "green" restaurant in Cleveland. I'll be in touch soon.

    Anonymous - Thank you for sharing your opinion. There are a legion of fans of The Greenhouse Tavern, and I had really hoped to be one of them. I'm convinced that I must have been there on an "off" night.