Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Accent Rockin the Robata

Normally when a new restaurant opens up, I avoid them like the plague for weeks if not months. I like them to have time to get the kinks out so I don't have to suffer through the craziness of new staff, new menu and general craziness. But some friends of mine were going and the temptation was just too great. Well, I broke my rule for Accent and I'm happy I did!
Sasa's Scott Kim has a gorgeous space that is perfect for the location in the newly branded Uptown District. We could see the red glow from across the street and it was a welcoming beacon in the Hurricane Sandy inspired blustery night.

My friends used to work with Accent's Chef Michael Lyon back when he was a seemingly ordinary guy in their office. They had a glimpse of his culinary skills back in the day and couldn't wait to see his dream come to fruition. We all agreed, he was rocking the chef's coat and the kitchen!
He treated us to platters of mixed pickled vegetables that whet our appetites while we waited for our drinks.
The star of the plate was the yellow 1/2 circles that look like yellow squash. They tasted like butternut squash but were actually a type of daikon radish. They had a meatiness that was unexpected and addictive.


The cocktail menu is full of surprises too. I had a hard time choosing but finally opted for the Sweet Heat based on our server's recommendation. It's a blend of peppercorn simple syrup, Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey, and fresh clementine juice with a peppercorn sugar rim. And if you think that sounds good, you should taste it. It was the perfect mix of fresh juice and warming whiskey with just the slightest kick. This is my new fall drink of choice for sure! And the Tennessee Honey is soon to be an addition to my home bar as well - yum!
I also tried the Bourbon Stinger (bourbon, honey and cinnamon simple syrup) and it was a close second. There's a delightful lime cocktail (forgot to write down the name) on the menu that's really really good too.

We shared the famous Sasa fries to start off. Then we had to make the hard decision on what to order. Accent features two unique cooking methods not utilized in any other Cleveland kitchens. The Robata Grill reaches 1,000 degrees and this high heat ensures that the food's exterior is crispy and the interior isn't overcooked. The Josper Oven combines a traditional oven with the characteristics of charbroiling. 

I had my heart set on trying the Robata grilled items but found that they are on the Tapas dinner menu which ended up being a bar only menu. They offered Robata whole snapper and scallops on the dinner menu but I was really in the mood for grilled meat. They were really nice and let me order them but make sure you sit in the bar if that's what you are looking for.

I ordered the mixed veggies and was swayed by the server's high praise of the turkey ribs and ordered those.
The veggies received ended up being yellow and green squash only and I would pass on those next time. They are good but nothing special. On the other hand, the turkey ribs were incredible! Besides being unique (who ever had a turkey rib before?!) they were meaty and delicious. Definitely order these - you won't believe how good turkey can taste.
the secret? the "ribs" are actually the collarbone
I also ordered the kim chee and beef bulgogi flatbread with goat cheese. I am a huge fan of all three main ingredients so I couldn't resist.
As an appetizer, you definitely want to share. Even though it was my entree, I still shared. I expected it to have more punch because of the kim chee but it was mild so don't be afraid to order it if you don't like too much spice. It was a huge hit at the table.

Thankfully my friends let me sample their selections too:
shitake and tofu ravioli - gluten free and vegan!
Robata cold smoked pan seared scallops with yam puree and roasted veggies and katsu sauce
The Korean Celebration of Nine was something I was going to order until my friend did. Check out this assortment of goodness:
In the center are mung bean pancakes with thinly sliced daikon in between each. You could make tiny little wraps or just eat each element separately. You might share this with a friend but you would both be fighting over the pork belly, shrimp and scallop because they were so good and the portions of these were small. 

Our table also ordered the hanger steak with chimichurri sauce and roasted fingerling potatoes. While I may have forgotten to take a photo, I won't forget how good it was. It proved again that Accent really shines when it comes to meat.

We finished off the meal with an order of the S'mores.
This was a unique and fun preparation (less messy too!) of a traditional campfire favorite. Each marshmallow is skewered, rolled in chocolate ganache, rolled in graham cracker crumbs and then blasted in the Robata. They were gooey and a nice sweet bite to end the meal.

My heart was set on the pumpkin bread pudding but they were out. Much moaning and whining ensued but the S'mores helped ease the pain. The other choices were a creme brulee and a molten chocolate cake. I would really like to see some other choices that match the creativity of the rest of the menu.

Especially considering that we dined on day 2, most everything went smoothly. Besides being out of the bread pudding and the short ribs, and running out of some ingredient in the lime cocktail, the only misstep was the slowness of getting our drinks out to us. The lag was really long especially considering that they weren't busy. The waitress had a fairly good understanding of the menu and made two solid recommendations so I think that they are off to a great start!

We all loved Accent and will definitely be back. It's a perfect Happy Hour spot for sitting in the bar and trying all the Robata items. I can't wait to see what they do with the beef brisket and the egg and prosciutto. What a perfect stop after hitting the newly opened MOCA!

This new Uptown District is looking like quite the hip destination thanks to Accent, MOCA, a new Jonathan Sawyer restaurant in the works, the 2nd ABC the Tavern location and more. 




4 comments:

  1. It was a perfect night-- and the cocktails (while taking 20 minutes each to prepare) are truly amazing! I recommend ordering the second one when the first one arrives and the timing will work out well. My hanger steak was cooked perfectly and it was delightful to sit with friends and try so many different dishes.

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  2. I was bummed when I was unable to make the preview a few weeks back and was going to wait a while to make reservations until they worked the kinks out. Good to know I can head right over. Everything looks fun and delish!

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  3. This is my first time hearing about this new restaurant, but I can't wait to hear more! It looks like a great addition to the general scene and a really nice option when visiting that specific area.

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  4. I would go just for the smores alone! Everything else just sounds like an added bonus! Thanks for sharing!!

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