Sarah and I recently visited Taste (which is about a half mile from our house) and enjoyed our experience there. I’m currently reading The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz (a very funny and informative book) and was excited to try some good French food.

The décor is really cool—stylish but not too formal, with a lot of muted deep red. There are also plenty of vertical lines—tall baskets, for instance–that give the restaurant a sense of openness. The silverware was even sleek looking.

We started out with the charcuterie plate, which included salami, very spicy proscuitto, motadella, a couple slices of crusty bread and some greens (largely frisee). Everything was very good.

For our entrees Sarah got the New York Strip Steak:

It was perfectly cooked to medium rare. The sweet potatoes were rich and lightly fried, and the vegetables alongside had a refreshing, slightly pickled flavor.

I ordered the special, a red snapper over fennel with a mild curry sauce and balsamic vinegar:

The curry was more floral than spicy and infused everything with a pleasing but subtle flavor and aroma. The fish was perfectly cooked–soft and flakey–and the skin added a crispy texture. The fried (?) tomato skin was a great touch that brought a sharp acidity to the dish.

I had a Pinot Gris (a wine I particularly like, rarely offered by the glass), which worked well with both the snapper and our appetizer.

For dessert we split the chocolate mousse with hazelnut ice cream:

The ice cream was particularly impressive—soft, creamy and thoroughly infused with hazelnuts. I have tried repeatedly to make a good hazelnut ice cream and have never approached the quality of this one. The mousse was light but rich. Sarah said it was like something I’d make, i.e. it tasted like pure dark chocolate.

The service at Taste is also very good. Our waitress was friendly, attentive and very knowledgeable of the menu. Some reviewers have mentioned the smaller French portions, but perhaps the owners have worked on that to cater more to American tastes. We had plenty of food, perhaps even more than is typical for fine dining in Cleveland.

Taste is definitely a great restaurant to visit, and one can tell that the chef cares deeply about every element of his dishes.

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