Monday, November 10, 2014

Food Review : The Red Chimney

On our first date, Adam and I checked out The Red Chimney in Cleveland's Slavic Village. I'm pretty sure I found the place via googling somehow. I always end up finding a lot of "Best Of" lists (where that awful native Clevelander, Michael Symon, shows up so fucking frequently). Once I've sorted through the Michael Symon restaurants (ugh), I tend to find some good options. However, a lot of the "Best Of" lists feature places in Hudson or Independence or some other suburb that is just not very Cleveland. So I somehow found The Red Chimney and suggested it. Adam and I agreed to try it.

It was hard to know what to expect, seeing as The Red Chimney has no formal website. If you follow the link above to the Yelp review site, it's not really very helpful. The reviews are mixed and even the people who seem to love the place call it a "dump" or a "dive". Luckily, Adam indulges my explorer tendencies and isn't held back by such factors.

Ok, first of all, finding a cash only place in Cleveland or anywhere in NEOhio is not at all surprising. I often encounter a cash only place out in my adventures, and generally find that they know where the nearest ATM is and don't mind if you have to run it. I don't know, that just doesn't seem like such a big deal when I'm trying to find really good, local, homemade food that isn't from a chain. As for the place being a "dump," that's a straight lie. Like, I don't know what qualifies as not a dump. You've got old buildings everywhere in Cleveland, so even new places are stuck in old buildings that, short of totally gutting, are going to look old. I didn't walk into this place and think that they clearly stopped maintaining the place after its first decade of business. It was clean, as was the waitress. It was really quaint and cute. It was not a dump at all.

I think most people just want something else. But I just want Cleveland. I like when I go somewhere and hear something other than English being spoken. I like when the best items on the menu are ethnic foods, in particular, Eastern European. I like when things are homemade and an old building has been preserved instead of torn down. I don't like going to strip malls or chains to find food, and I don't need the places where I eat to be fancy. If I wanted fancy bullshit that felt like everything Cleveland isn't, I'd go to one of Michael Symon's restaurants. But I don't. I want Cleveland.

As for the food? Oh man, SO GOOD! These are definitely some of the best pierogi I ever had. I won't pretend they are the best, because I won't even pretend that you can categorize all the pierogi in Cleveland. I've had homemade pierogi cooked by a grandmother from Poland and gourmet pierogi full of interesting ingredients and pierogi from food trucks at festivals and from carnival food trucks at carnivals. Pierogi is a go-to dish for me, and I love to try out when I see a new place to have it. But this pierogi is worth going back for! It was served just right: with onions, sour cream, butter, and apple sauce. It was positively decadent! The pierogi were definitely some of the fattest I've ever had and left me very full. I cannot recommend this place enough, and I suggest you!

Adam had the cabbage...whatever that was happening. I'm not such a huge fan of cabbage, so I tend to go for pierogi over a cabbage dish any day. But he said it was yummy, and I have learned that he has really good taste.

What I'm saying is, A++, for reals. This place is awesome and is tucked away in a little neighborhood of Cleveland, being totally awesome. If you're from Cleveland, you need to go. And if you're not, then please come visit me and we'll go!

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