Wednesday, July 9, 2014

First Look: 111 Bistro

The Vibe: Tucked inside the Montville Centre shopping plaza along state Route 18 in Medina, this spacious new American restaurant boasts a gastropub feel with a large wood bar, brick walls and draft lists written on chalkboards. It's welcoming whether you want to grab a spot at the bar, cozy up in one of the booths or hold court at the 16-seat, family-style table near the open kitchen.

How Ready Are They: Three weeks into the restaurant's opening, the wait staff is still getting acclimated to the menu and the pace of dinner service. Our server was cheery and knowledgeable — though she admitted she hadn't tried certain dishes. The biggest blunder was how fast our food was served. We barely took a bite of our appetizers when our entrees arrived at the table.

We Tried It: Executive chef and co-owner Anthony Scolaro must have a thing for duck. You can find it throughout the menu from bacon on the DBLT (a twist on the classic BLT) to wings. We opted for the latter and enjoyed the six plump duck wings ($9) — definitely larger and meatier than the plain-old chicken variety — coated in a mild chili sauce with a dash of citrus and topped with green onion.

We also tried the pork cheek pappardelle ($15) with guajillo cream, chihuahua cheese, creme fraiche and cilantro. With the guajillo cream, we'd hoped for a little more flavor but the overall effect was somewhat flat and could have used a touch of salt (worth a mention: salt and pepper shakers are absent from the tables).

What We'd Like To See: Walking the line between fine dining and upscale gastropub, a few more burger options than the 111 Burger — an appealing version with smoked gouda, lettuce, tomato, onion and house pickles on an egg bun — would help round out the menu.

If You Go: 111 Bistro, 2736 Medina Road, Medina, 330-952-1122,

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