Cedar Creek Grille–the recently opened restaurant in Beachwood’s La Place where Mélange used to be–did not intrigue me upon first glance. While tastefully designed on the outside, the menu didn’t seem particularly unique, mostly steak and seafood. But, on a last minute whim as Jonathan and I were returning from a camp out, I booked a table for our family’s Saturday dinner. We all ended up very much enjoying our visit.

The inside of the restaurant is well-decorated, warm, upscale and inviting with plenty of gold hues, high ceilings and a large open window to the kitchen.

We ordered the Deviled Eggs ($7) for mine and Jonathan’s appetizer (Sarah doesn’t like boiled eggs). They were excellent–creamy with just the right amount of mustard–and Jonathan filled up on them. Half of the eggs had a piece of smoked salmon on top, which added a nice flavor counterpoint.

Next, Sarah and I split the arugula salad with lemon, Parmesan and fried onions. The lemon flavor was intense but balanced–a bit like something from a Zach Bruell restaurant–the greens were perfectly crisp, and the onions were crunchy and tasty.

Cedar Creek has a pretty good craft beer list (we didn’t try wine). I had a draft GLBC Christmas Ale while Sarah had a Peroni.

I ordered the crab cakes ($23) for dinner. They had a great fresh crab flavor with very little filler, with red peppers adding some sweetness. The shoestring fries were outstanding, crispy and perfectly seasoned. The coleslaw was also excellent, generously portioned and crunchy and with just the right amount of dressing (i.e. not much).

Sarah had the cedar plank salmon ($20), which was also perfectly cooked and flavorful. She subbed the spicy green beans for the fries. While the pancetta in the beans was a nice touch, they had absolutely no heat, a bit of a disappointment considering “spicy” was part of the description.

Jonathan ordered the mac and cheese ($7) which was creamy and tasty. He didn’t eat too much, though, because he’d had so many of the yummy eggs.

Our server was friendly and attentive, and we didn’t have room for dessert.

While I didn’t exactly misjudge Cedar Creek’s goal–a fairly commonly found menu of steak and seafood–I forgot how good these could be when prepared well in an enjoyable setting. The feeling is slightly of a chain restaurant, but a much better one than any you might envision. Plus you’re supporting a local establishment.

We look forward to our next visit.

Cedar Creek Grille on Urbanspoon

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