Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New favorite patio in Cleveland - L'Albatros

Last week my boyfriend and I decided to start out our long weekend with a trip to L'Albatros Brasserie and Bar. I'd read a favorable review on Yelp which indicated that there were "multiple" vegetarian options, so I felt I should give L'Albatros a try. (Especially after I looked at the menu online and saw that there's an entire section of the menu devoted to vegetarian items. Yay!)

So...I made my reservation through Open Table for 9:00 and arrived a smidge early. The hostess was extremely friendly and told us that it would be a few minutes until a a table outside would be ready and then escorted us to a really nice outdoor lounge to wait for our table.

I was really impressed with how nice the patio was. I really felt like I was in the backyard of a home pictured in Better Homes and Gardens or on a TLC show.

Needless to say, the ambiance scored major points with us.

We started out our meals with beverages. I had the L'Albatros - which consisted of absinthe, pineapple juice, lime juice, mint, and lemon lime soda. I think that combination of ingredients might be an acquired taste, but it wasn't horrible. My boyfriend had a beer. A beer is a beer to me since I don't drink them, so I have nothing to say about that.

Feeling extra hungry, I decided to order the mixed greens salad to start. It was a good salad. But I think it's fairly challenging to make a bad salad. When it came time to order our entrees, our waitress was extremely knowledgeable and helpful, asking questions about our preferences to see what entrees might best fit our taste preferences. My boyfriend got the hanger steak and frites and thought it was excellent. I decided on the root vegetable cassoulet, a creamy, mix of vegetables with goat cheese and breadcrumbs. It wasn't quite what I expected when I placed the order but it was definitely very good.

However, the highlight of our entire meal, besides the amazing ambiance and on the spot service was dessert. I've blogged about brownies more times than I can count, but I can honestly say that the warm chocolate brownie dessert that I shared with my boyfriend was the best brownie I've ever eaten in my life. Hands down. It was really a masterpiece. If it hadn't been too dark to take a picture, I may have framed the image to look longingly at whenever I'm hungry. Why was it so spectacular? First of all, it was a dark chocolate brownie, which made it extra rich. Secondly, it was perfectly warm - so the chocolate melted in your mouth leaving a rich chocolate flavor. Partnered with vanilla bean ice cream, the chocolate and vanilla flavors really left a great lingering sensation desserty goodness. That's the best way I can describe it. It was really quite incredible. Think delicious lava cake but a thousand times better.

I can definitely say that I'll go back to L'Albatros to enjoy the fantastic patio and the amazing dessert. I love supporting local businesses that recognize the importance of good service and also providing vegetarian options. (Hats off to you, Zachary Bruell!) If you're looking for a great place to have a relaxing and delicious meal, please run, don't walk, to L'Albatros.

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