Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: Excellent Vegetarian Eats at Hodge's

I've been hesitant to write a review of Hodge's for a couple reasons. 1. I was drinking a bit when I was there and took crappy pictures of my food. and 2. I don't think I'm a good enough writer to put how excellent this meal was into words.

I eat out.  A lot.  I'm not wowed all that easily.  In fact, I can be a pretty tough critic.  But I really can't think one one thing I didn't like about Hodge's.  I made a reservation for 4 using OpenTable (why every restaurant isn't on OpenTable, I don't know - I don't want to have to call to reserve a table) and although we arrived about 15 minutes early on a Friday night, we were immediately seated in the upstairs section of the restaurant.  (it was cool to get to look down at the whole restaurant) Within about a minute of sitting down we were brought water.  Right after that, our server came over to get our drink orders.  My boyfriend and I each got a Moscow mule, because, well, if I see a Moscow mule on a menu, I have to try it.  Our friend got a PBR in a can because it's not all that often that you see PBR on the menu in a "nicer" place.  Our waitress explained that we would be receiving fresh cornbread and an amuse of tater tots.  Being the squeamish vegetarian that I am, I asked if the tots and cornbread were safe to eat.  I expected the blank look that I normally get when I ask servers questions like this, but she didn't skip a beat.  She told me the cornbread was safe and that the tots normally come with bacon but she could leave that off.  She also told me that I should consider the 5 veg plate because it's a great vegetarian entree.  I was really impressed by that.  Considering that Hodge's had been open for less than a month when I was there, I didn't expect my server to be that on top of her game.  Kudos to Hodge's for being focused on good service right out of the gate.

My drink arrived shortly after I ordered it and it was great.  Not all bartenders can make a good Moscow mule, sadly.  But this one was really good.  My friend's PBR can was totally dented up, which we thought was funny, if not intentional.  The cornbread and tots arrived right before our server took our order.  I'm running like a fiend these days, so I ordered a salad and the 5 veg plate.  My boyfriend and our friends ordered a corn dog appetizer to share.  I've obviously never eaten a real corn dog, but I thought it was kind of inventive for Hodge's to offer a trio of corndogs - made of various meats, including lobster.  (although the meat eaters at my table said that the app was ok but not great - but for the novelty factor it was worth ordering)

My salad arrived promptly, too, and it was good.  I enjoyed a huge hunk of the sugary sweet cornbread with it. Heck, I could have eaten the whole pan myself it was that good.  But if you're not into sweet cornbread, you might not like it.  Tots helped to put Dim and Den Sum on the map, so they were obviously really good, too.

The bill comes in this envelope. Clever.
But now onto the highlight of the meal.  The 5 veg plate.  How awesome can a plate of vegetables be, you ask?  At Hodge's, it's amazing.  I've eaten many a vegetable plate in my day, but nothing compares to what they serve up.  Like I said, I had a couple Moscow mules that evening, so don't test me on the components of the dish (I actually think there were more than 5 vegetables), but there was potato, the best Brussels sprouts I've ever eaten, peas, carrots, and...damn, I'm not sure what that last vegetable was.  Parsnip, maybe?  But who cares what it was.  Every vegetable on that plate was fresh, flavorful, and filling!  Normally you eat a veg plate and think about how you're going to be starving in an hour, but this entree wasn't like that at all.  Someone put some great thought into creating a vegetarian entree that tastes good and is filling. 

I was too busy scarfing down my food to notice was everyone else was eating.  My boyfriend had some sort of deconstructed chicken something.  One of my friends had scallops and kept commenting on how she never would have put the components of the dish together and couldn't believe how good it tasted.  Can't remember what her husband had, but he also really enjoyed it.

I was completely satisfied at the end of my meal.  I think we all were, actually.  Service throughout the meal was on point and our meals couldn't have been any better.  I've been a fan of Chef Hodge's since the early days of Dim and Den Sum (and even more so after The Great Food Truck Race - we don't need sports heroes in Cleveland when we have superstar chefs like him), and I'm really happy that he has been able to open such an amazing restaurant in Cleveland.  I haven't been this excited about a meal or a restaurant in a long time and really can't wait to go back.  I'd love to check out the patio. 

1 comment: