Monday, October 5, 2015

#CLEfood - Alley Cat Oyster Bar

The Flats are back. After years of hoping and waiting and wondering, this waterfront entertainment district is back in business, better than ever. Gone are the old refurbished warehouses - they've been replaced with modern spaces built to take advantage of their prime location. If you haven't been there since your last visit to the Basement or Fagen's, you need to check it out.

There are a lot of new restaurants in the area, but Alley Cat Oyster Bar is the jewel, perched seductively along the Cuyahoga, loaded with windows that open wide to catch the breezes and multiple levels of decks to take full advantage of of it's prime location.
Alley Cat, Zack Bruell, cleveland flats, restaurant
Before dinner we took advantage of the beautiful night and walked along the boardwalk. We got there right at sunset and the views were gorgeous.
#ThisisCLE, waterfront dining, Cuyahoga River restaurant
It was our second anniversary, and my husband knew that reservations at Alley Cat would make me a very happy girl. It was a Monday night but the restaurant was packed. (Pro tip: Make reservations well ahead of time if you want to eat during prime time.)
The multi-level structure offers up great views from most areas. There's lots of wood and windows with a rustic vibe. Our only complaint about the space that we had was the noise. We were right under a speaker originally and the volume was high - it was super annoying because we found ourselves shouting. We asked to be moved and the server easily obliged and even remarked that he had just asked the manager to turn down the volume because he thought it was super loud too. After our move and the sound adjustment, we were able to relax just in time for our food to come out.

We started with the hush puppies. They are a side, not an appetizer, but I couldn't resist. They are one of my favorites normally but these were bland and greasy. Skip those and try the charred broccoli caesar or BLT mussels instead.

The menu is broken up into appetizers, oysters (a dozen varieties!), salads, entrees, sides and the Catch of the Day which offers seasonal fin fish entrees.

Mr. EDC ordered halibut in a dashi broth with foraged mushrooms and a variety of summer squash. Thankfully one of our waiters thought to bring a spoon so the delicious broth could be fully enjoyed.
My choice was the walleye served with smashed cauliflower, rainbow carrots and asparagus with a cherry reduction. If this is ever on the menu when you go - order it! It was some of the best fish I've ever had but the veggies totally made the dish. 
We absolutely loved our meals and our service was good. We had a seasoned server as well as several trainees - and they were all friendly and attentive.

If you love Zack Bruell restaurants, you won't be disappointed. If you've never been, this is the perfect excuse to try out one of his great spots and see what the new Flats looks like too.

Alley Cat Oyster Bar  
1056 Old River Road  
Reservations: 216-574-9999


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