We’ve wanted to try some of Chris Hodgson’s comfort food since we watched him on The Great Food Truck Race.  We made it to his new restaurant in downtown Cleveland recently on a Saturday night.  It was a casual and lively atmosphere.  The place has a great patio, but the weather kept us inside for this visit.

He said…I love how they start you off with some crispy tater tots and sweet corn bread.  I had a Dark and Stormy while She had a French 70 Something.  The drinks were good, but I wish She would learn that every French 75 She orders (or in this case French 70 Something) never quite lives up to the one at the Velvet Tango Room.

pish sticks — crispy house smoked pork, cilantro, sesame, “tarter” sauce

He said…I really wanted to like these.  I loved the crunch, but the flavor just fell flat.  I didn’t like the tarter sauce as the accompaniment for this dish at all.  Our whole table agreed that these would be much better with a spicy barbecue sauce.  Also, I felt the pork was a little under seasoned.

lucky penny goat cheese + leek tart — onion jam, arugula, parmesan

She said…Most things with goat cheese usually get high marks from me and this dish was no exception.  It was creamy and flavorful, and I loved the onion jam which added just a hint of sweetness to the dish.

pan roasted scallops— sweet corn risotto, poblano pepper, grilled corn, cumin vinaigrette, corn shoots, and feta cheese

She said…A friend and I decided to share the scallops and the 6 veg.  The scallops were perfectly cooked, and I really liked the flavors in the risotto.  It was a winner in my book.

6 veg – potato shards, cumin roasted carrots, stewed greens, roasted cauliflower, snow peas, brussels sprouts

She said…This was a little disappointing for me.  The potato shards were delicious, but the dish went downhill from there.  The brussel sprouts had a nice flavor and I liked the golden raisins, but the sprouts were a little undercooked.  The carrots were also a little undercooked (like hard to cut into), and I really couldn’t taste the cumin.  The greens were soggy and swimming in vinegar.  The cauliflower and snow peas didn’t have a whole lot of flavor either.  I would not order this again.

duck breast – black barley ‘‘risotto’’, brussels sprout, golden raisins, bacon, thyme brown butter

He said…I’m a sucker for a good duck entree and was excited to try this dish.  However, I wasn’t crazy about the duck.  I prefer to have the duck fat rendered a bit more.  Also, the black barley risotto was a bit bland, which is surprising since there was bacon in the dish.  Overall, I was disappointed with the dish and probably wouldn’t order it again.

‘‘fluffer nutter’’
fried peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich, Mitchell’s banana ice cream

She said…Yum!  I loved it!  The crunchy outside, the gooey inside, and banana ice cream is generally not my flavor of choice, but with this…perfect!

He said…I really liked the dessert.  I love banana ice cream and the quality of the ice cream was excellent.  Who doesn’t like Mitchell’s ice cream?  It’s second only to Jeni’s in my humble opinion!

Overall, there were some hits and misses in our first visit to Hodges.  The service was great and Chef Hodgson was visiting tables throughout the restaurant.  We like the restaurant’s interpretation of comfort food, and we will likely give it another try.

Hodge's Cleveland on Urbanspoon


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