Food, Service Mostly Rise to Magical Setting of Jaja in Ohio City | Food News | Cleveland

click to enlarge Most of the food and service takes place in the magical setting of Jah Jah, Ohio City

To reach Jaja, guests first meet in a small foyer on the first floor, which is little more than a host stand and bench. After a short break, the group climbs into an elevator wrapped in the lush plant wallpaper made famous in the opening credits of White Lotus. During the time it takes to climb the first floor, diners are temporarily transported to a harsh, non-Cleveland setting. Outside: bricks, steel, bridges, chimneys, railroad tracks. Inside: Tropical greenery, warm fabrics, bold patterns and stuffed soup con.In a year full of drama-filled openings, Jah Jah walks away with the gold. For those of us who incessantly ask “why can’t we have a place like this in Cleveland” while traveling, the designer behind Intro’s latest addition has answered with a world-class piece of jewelry. Beneath a garland-wrapped pergola adorned with lights, there’s a cozy, whimsical and comfortable 90-seat dining room. Windows on three sides offer views of the city skyline and the clock tower of the West Side Market.

Given the open-fire grill that dominates the first-floor kitchen that Jaja shares with the Pioneer, the restaurant could easily have settled on a straightforward steakhouse theme in this extraordinary space. But to that “modern steakhouse” foundation, the owners have added globally-influenced vegetable, fish and meat dishes.

Guests are welcomed with complimentary kava tulips, which the servers call “Jaja handshake.” If there’s one restaurant where he doesn’t skip the cocktail course, it’s this one. From her stunning six-seat bar at the front of the room, you’ll find exciting productions like She Only Wears Green ($15) and She It’s Pronounced “How-Stun” ($15). The former weaves gin, chartreuse, honeydew and mint into an aquamarine dream, while the latter enhances the classic Manhattan with Amaro Her Montenegro and Vanilla Her bitters.

Given the tortuous nature of the menu, charting the courses takes time. It was helpful for our table to start by deciding which parirada (if any) to order. Two platters of mixed seafood or grilled meat include items listed elsewhere on the menu, thus culling the rest of the options.

While enjoying a cocktail, I ripped up a warm naan-like flatbread and scooped up some creamy burrata ($18) and arugula pesto. The fresh cheese was covered in salty parmesan crisps.Jaja made me an eggplant fan thanks to his roasted tomato spread with eggplant ($15). Subtly smoky, quite spicy and golden with a hint of labneh, the dip is a great starter.

High up on the food chain, the grilled octopus ($20) arrived with stunning char, perfect meat texture, and stacks of crisp potato slabs. We agreed that the pulp would have benefited from a more aggressive spice component. It was a small temperature issue that stood between good and great.

Our servers, arriving when we needed them and scaring us when they didn’t, could not have been more pleasant or attentive. It didn’t fall short and a fresh plate and silver appeared between the main courses. But that didn’t stop the food runner from delivering a plate of pasta when no one was at the table with plates or utensils.It was a tense few minutes. Happily, the Pappardelle ($22) – wide, fresh noodles drenched in a delicate cream sauce and covered with a forest of caramelized wild mushrooms – were still hot when we dug into them.

I decided to go with the seafood parillada, so I also ordered the steak a la carte. The menu offers eight cuts, ranging from an 8-ounce fillet to a nearly 3-pound Tomahawk ribeye. Our boneless ribeye ($72), sliced ​​and served with chimichurri, was tender, meaty, and medium shy. You would expect tougher char from a wood-fired grill, but our chops lacked such a crust.

There’s nothing more congratulatory than a sparkling seafood platter. Jaja’s platter is impressive. For $115, a hubcap-sized tray holds what looks like a half-dozen grilled oysters, four jumbo, deep-cooked scallops, a pair of grilled front prawns, and a pound of lobster, making the enjoyment easy. It was split, grilled, and cracked. Plenty of freshly baked bread, melted butter and a variety of sauces on the side.

A night at Jaja with cheesecake topped with Chantilly cream ($16), ice cream with espresso with shortbread cookies ($12) and a Hungarian dessert wine off Jaja’s serious list ($15) I imagined how magical it would be. A retractable glass roof makes way for the open sky.

2050 Gering Avenue, Cleveland

Coming soon: Cleveland Scene Daily newsletter. Every morning we bring you some interesting stories from Cleveland. Subscribe now so you don’t miss out!

Follow us: Google News | Newsbreak | Instagram | Facebook | twitter

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.