Cleveland Chop House & Brewery – Cleveland, Ohio
824 W Saint Clair Ave
Visited on February 3, 2008
Sometimes, I can be a bit of a homer. And sometimes, my want to like a place influences my first opinion of a place. Case in point – the Cleveland Chop House and Brewery.
I’m not usually a fan of brewpubs that try to be super upscale and classy. If you want to be a little classy, or a little funky, and start serving pork belly or elk burgers on spent grain buns or duck fat fries; that’s all well and good. But for some reason, I’m just not a fan of steakhouses.
As far as steakhouses go, I’m sure this place is pretty good. But honestly, let me go to my butcher, buy a $10 steak and grill it up myself. It’ll probably at least close to the $30 steak served up here. In any event, the place is extremely nice – white table cloths and all – and probably is the most classy brewpub I’ve ever been to. The food is good and comes out in huge portions – though again I’m not a huge fan of steak.
The beer, however, was unremarkable. Looking back, I can’t name a single beer I had or flavor I tasted. What really marks a brewery with excellent libations is the test of time. And this place failed that test.
This brewery screams class as soon as you walk in the door. Located just minutes from the heart of downtown Cleveland, this restaurant is famous for steaks and filling your stomach. The exterior manages to be elegant and different despite being one of many similar-styled buildings. The interior features a bar room with a couple of televisions for after work drinks. The main dining room resembles a cavernous warehouse with huge tables adorned with white tablecloths. Basically, it’s quite obvious from the moment you step in that you’re in a nicer brewery than most, if not all, others.
The menu is not easy on the wallet, but you definitely get what you pay for, both in quality and quantity. An appetizer of sesame calamari will set you back $9, but its well worth it, even if you can’t finish your dinner afterwards. The main entrees (all steaks, fish filets, or other cuts of meat) cost between $20 and $40 dollars, but you get a huge salad, cast iron skillet baked cornbread, and at least 8 ounces of meat. The Filet Mignon Oscar my date had was exquisite; I never knew that crab and steak went together so well. My pepper crusted New York strip was delicious and absolutely cooked to perfection. The cornbread is delicious, the cheddar mashed potatoes are a meal in themselves, and I’ll have to try dessert another day, because I was absolutely stuffed!
Beer is the one weak link in this brewpub. The beer is not outstanding, and I failed to find even one worth staying an extra 20 minutes to enjoy. The brews are fairly bland, which is alright if you hate over-hoppiness, but it seems like they don’t use nearly enough variety of malts. The Irish Red wasn’t particularly sweet like the one’s I enjoy, the stout wasn’t very complex, and the pilsner wasn’t highly hopped. But with all that said, I would still rather have a pint of any of those over a pint of Bud. So come for the food, and enjoy the seasonal while you’re at it. The one redeeming quality, however, is that a sampler comes with about 6 ounces of each beer, which is more than enough to share and get a good sense of the beer at the same time.
Absolutely impeccable service. Sampler glasses were cleaned up as they were finished, the hostess was extremely knowledgeable both about the beer and the menu and gave wonderful suggestions, and she was extremely attentive and pleasant.