Sugar and SPICE and everything nice; at least those were my sentiments as I walked into the cozy, yet earthy Spice Kitchen & Bar in the Gordon Square Arts District. As the second year of the Sassy Ladies Supper Club commenced, we randomly selected Spice as our first restaurant for 2014. Sandwiched between Happy Dog and Latitude 41°n on Detroit, I had heard rave reviews about this restaurant but hadn’t committed to trying it out. If you didn’t already know, I’m a lifelong vegetarian (technically a pescetarian*) and wasn’t impressed with their choice of meatless selections. Turns out I was wrong, as I had plenty to choose from and it was all scrumptious.
I arrived at 5:30 p.m. on a Thursday and was surprised to see only a handful of people. That was probably attributed to the ridiculous cold temperatures we’ve been experiencing, but I took advantage and grabbed a table in their bar area so that we could indulge in both happy hour specials and food from their main menu. Although I typically gravitate toward beer, I occasionally enjoy a good glass of wine or cocktail. That being said, Spice has a $6 happy hour “Chamomile Cooler” that knocked the crabbiness of the work week right off. Typically not a gin drinker, I was a little apprehensive as that is the main liquor in this drink, but the chamomile syrup and citrus persuaded me to try it. I was not disappointed; it was a refreshing and light beverage that quickly quenched my thirst.
Once the booze was freely flowing, we dove into some of their delicious appetizer options – polenta chickpea fries with a tasty spicy remoulade ($8, $6 happy hour) and mushroom beignets with honey goat cheese crème fraiche ($7). We happily indulged in our appetizers and never once felt rushed to order, yet always had full glasses. For dinner, I selected the mushroom ricotta ravioli with spinach and smoked parmesan cream on top ($20). My only complaint was the portion size, but that is the price you pay for fresh, local and incredibly delicious food. Supper club friends also recommended the mushroom soup on special ($8) and steamed mussels ($11).
Named Cleveland’s best new restaurant in 2013, it is no wonder I give this restaurant a 4.5 out of 5 for great food, a delightful ambience and their support of local farmers. Spice aims to source at least 80% of their ingredients from small family farms that practice sustainable forms of agriculture within 100 miles of Cleveland. The beauty of using local food, combined with a revolving seasonal menu, is that you can always expect to get something new and fresh at Spice!
Spice Kitchen & Bar, 5800 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland OH; Tuesday – Saturday 5pm-11pm and bar 4pm-2am.
*In case you are wondering what the heck a pescetarian is, it basically means that I am a vegetarian on all fronts, with the exception of seafood. Although I rarely indulge in seafood as I do believe it is an animal, I have been known to love shrimp.