Who: Dana C. Crawford, PhD
What: Larchmere Tavern
Where: 13051 Larchmere Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44120
As I probably have mentioned in previous posts, my husband Steve loves a place that’s close by where you can pop in at will to have a decent meal. No excruciating or awkward long waits by the hostess stand. No need for reservations weeks in advance. No long trek by car after a long day at work.
Unfortunately for Steve, most places where I like to eat do not fit this description. Indeed, many places that fit this description for Steve are not what we call “Dana approved.”
In an attempt to show me the err of my ways, Steve introduced Mom and me to Larchmere Tavern. We tried our luck for dinner on one nondescript Friday night. You know, prime time for waiting at other popular restaurants. Larchmere Tavern is located, as you might guess, in Larchmere, a mere five-minute jaunt for us.
The tavern has been in Larchmere in some form or fashion since the 1940s. I have to admit that the tavern has some curb appeal and looks like an inviting neighborhood watering hole. The tavern inside is actually split into an old-style bar/pub area with dark wood and a more formal, white linen or linen-like “finer” dining area. That night, the bar area was packed so we were seated in the finer dining area.
The menu and food for the Larchmere Tavern is what you might expect for an old-fashioned American pub. We started with the chicken livers (yes, I know, this is not for everyone) followed by New York strip steak open face sandwiches (Figures 1 and 2). The food was just OK, which is fine for a quick meal close to home. What shocked me was how bad the wine and beer selections are. Mom puckered when she sipped her Pinot Grigio, and I am not quite sure how to describe my glass of red. The beer list is my nightmare of a server rattling off the bad list by memory: Bud, Bud Light, Miller, Miller Light…There are two Great Lakes beers listed as well as Sam Adams, so I suppose technically they offer a microbrew or two. But, for goodness’ sake, where are the IPAs? Cleveland is full of great, local beers, so there’s really no excuse.
Overall, our dining experience was OK but bordered on disappointing. We all acknowledged that the finer dining space is not where it’s at, so next time (if there is a next time) we’ll try to sit in the bar. Still, what’s the use of a bar if you don’t want to order any of their beers?