After watching the rest of the White Sox/Indians game in our hotel, we started out on the evening portion of our trip. The idea was to go to dinner then hit up another “bar” for dessert.
I found a place just outside of the city that looked amazing. J and I were both excited. After a couple quick showers, we weaved our way around downtown Cleveland construction and traffic to get back on I-90 and headed towards Lakewood.
The restaurant we were trying to go to is Melt Bar and Grill. It’s a pretty popular place. Too popular. We pulled into the back parking lot just before 5:00 on a Sunday night. We headed inside to find a massive wait. We were told it would be at least an hour and a half. J was ready to go right then, but I really wanted to stay. She begrudgingly agreed. I headed to the bar to get a couple drinks. It took my ten minutes just to grab a Sprite and an Oberon (yup, they had Oberon). To make matters worse, even the benches in the waiting area were full and J’s feet weren’t going to hold up much longer. As much as I wanted to eat there, I finally came to the realization it wasn’t going to happen. I had to find a Plan “B”.
Well, Plan B became Great Lakes Brewing Company. J made me call first to make sure they were open. Good thing. The restaurant isn’t open on Sunday’s. Now, we’re on to Plan C.
The original plan was to eat at Melt then head back downtown for dessert. The place I found is called The Chocolate Bar. It’s on Euclid Avenue at the corner with 4th Street in the Gateway District. After two strikes, we decided just to eat dinner and do dessert at the same place. We’ll see less of Cleveland but we were both hungry, hot, and tired.
The restaurant is on the bottom floor of the Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade. There’s an outside entrance as well as an entrance from the hotel. We headed inside to find a host station near the door. I looked around and was happy to see a few empty tables. The decor is pretty modern with deep brown’s as the main colors. There are a few TV’s in the dining areas that play Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on a continuous loop. The lighting is kept dark and windows that overlook Euclid Avenue let in the majority of the light.
The host that met us asked if we wanted a table or if we were just looking to sit at the bar. We wanted dinner so we requested a table. He ran to a two top on the upper level of the two tier dining room and cleared it off for us. As he was taking us there, two waitresses were arguing on the steps leading up to the table. He walked through but J and I stopped…and stood there…as they continued their converation…without moving or acknowledging that we were there. The host waved us through and we actually had to walk in between them on a narrow staircase to get to our table. Lucky for us, one of these rude waitresses was our waitress.
We were also fortunate enough to be seated next to a large, obnoxious group who complained about everything with a small child who wanted to run around the restaurant. We weren’t at Applebees. I was actually a little uncomfortable at first thinking I was under dressed. Once a small kid started running around and screaming, I knew the way I was dressed wasn’t a problem.
We had plenty of time to look over the menus. It was ten minutes before our waitress came to take our orders. We put in our drink orders for a Coke and an Iced Tea. If J could drink, we probably would have ordered off their large chocolate martini menu, but at this point, I just wanted something, anything to drink and thought a Coke would be quickest.
We were fortunate enough that our waitress asked if we were ready to order before she walked away. We had more than enough time and were more than ready.
J decided to stick with a grilled cheese since that’s what she was hungry for. The Smokey Grilled Cheese is smoked Gouda and cheddar cheese with applewood smoked bacon and tomatoes. The cheeses were separated by the bacon and the tomato which each cheese distinguishable with each bite. The sandwich was served on a nicely toasted bread with potato chips. She ate around to the edges and had a few chips, but she saved room for dessert as well, so I got a few bites as well as some chips before our plates were taken away.
There was no burger on the menu but there was a macaroni and cheese. The Mac-N-Cheese Bar comes with two choice of toppings. I got the grilled steak and bacon. The bacon and the steak were both delicious. The bacon was very crispy bits that were served on top. When mixed with the mac and cheese, it made the pasta very tasty. The steak was served the same way. It was a little more than bite size, so I had to cut up the strips and mix it with the pasta. On it’s own, the pasta was pretty bland. There wasn’t much in the way of cheesy flavor. There wasn’t much in the way of flavor at all. It really needed the toppings to give it any sort of flavor.
After dinner, we asked for the menu back to look at the chocolates. That’s the whole reason we picked the Chocolate Bar and we were hoping to make up for a lackluster meal.
I ordered the Peanut Butter Mud which is blend of peanut butter mousses mixed with peanut butter cups and peanuts. It’s served with real whip cream on the side, a strawberry slice, raspberry sauce, and a small cream puff. The slice was full of peanut buttery goodness and the peanuts that were held on to the mousse with a layer of chocolate ganache added a delicious crunchy layer.
J’s selection was the Triple Chocolate Mousse. This is a circular tower of dark, milk, and white chocolate mousses. It’s plated with all the same accoutrements that were on my plate. She was really happy with her choice. We were hoping for a winner with the dessert menu and I think we got it. J remarked several times that she liked the dessert part of our meal and was disappointed with everything else.
Our bill, with dessert, was a little over $35. I really wish we could have stuck to our original plan because we were both happy with dessert, but very disappointed with the service and the meal. I really wish I would have read Urbanspoon reviews before we left because it would have warned me about the slow service. We were really hoping for a place like Mindy’s Hot Chocolate in Chicago or Bailey’s Chocolate Bar in St. Louis. We definitely didn’t get that. The problem probably lies in the fact that this place is franchising. That’s not usually a good sign and should have been a warning sign for us. The overall verdict is we’d go back for dessert, but that’s about it. Too bad. I really want to like this place.