Sarah and I had planned to eat at Spice Kitchen and Bar with Jonathan, but a last minute sleepover invitation gave us an opportunity for a date night (which just happened to fall within a day of our tenth wedding anniversary). We couldn’t have picked a better place.
Ben Bebenroth, the owner of Spice, has long been know in Cleveland for Spice of Life Catering Company, which prides itself on locally grown ingredients. The same philosophy holds true at his restaurant.
We started with drinks. Sarah got the White Sangria (a daily special) and I had a Bell’s Oberon.
I am not typically a fan of White Sangria. Most whites I’ve had lack the body and depth of flavor found in the more traditional red version. Spice’s rendition is a notable exception, with lemongrass and rosemary infusions combining with mint to make the tastiest and most refreshing glass of sangria I’ve ever tried. I really hope they make this a permanent addition, at least for summer.
For our appetizer we had the Mushroom Beignets ($6), light and airy balls of mushroom mixture lightly fried to the perfect crispiness and paired with a tangy crème fraîche dipping sauce. These were excellent and generously portioned (enough for 2–4 people). We heard raves from other tables about them as well.
For her entrée, Sarah ordered the vegetable couscous ($16). She really liked the nice variety of textures and flavors and didn’t feel at all like she was missing meat. We especially liked that the local vegetables were more prominent than the starch.
I had the seared walleye special, which was outstanding. The fish was crispy on top but tender and flaky underneath with a generous portion of flavorful julienne snap peas and carrots. The citrus sauces on the side had a sharpness and depth of flavor that paired perfectly with the fish.
For dessert we ordered another daily special, a sundae with homemade peach ice cream, local strawberries and chocolate-covered nuts. It was really, really good. The portion was small, but it more than made up for its size in its great flavor.
Spice has a relatively small menu that changes regularly depending of availability of ingredients. The small menu is no problem, though, when there are so many good choices on it. And, despite the catering company being called “upscale,” the prices at the restaurant are extremely reasonable, especially considering the quality of ingredients. Our service was also excellent, knowledgeable and very friendly.
We very much look forward to return visits to try more of the menu.