Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Posh on Prospect

Photo by Dustin Lopez

   The husband and I were among 300 plus guests at a private preopening event for Red the Steakhouse, which will extend the energy and excitement of East Fourth Street around the corner and onto Prospect Avenue. It was a lavish affair, done with impressive flair and opulence. The wine flowed, the hors d'oeuvres never stopped coming and the buffet tables heaped with platters of arancini, calzone, cheeses, tiny stuffed peppers, cured meats and other delicious expressions were always full. I watched Brad Friedlander and chef Jonathan Bennett graciously endure hours of backslapping, hand-pumping,cheek-kissing and enthusiastic hugging. Along with the two other principals in their restaurant group, Jon Gross and Peter Vauthy, they were marking their first foray from the eastern suburbs (where they also operate Moxie) into downtown Cleveland,  and the launch of the fourth location for their high-end restaurant, which began in Beachwood in 2004, and then expanded south to Boca Raton and Miami, Florida.

  The top-to-bottom renovation of the two-story building, once home to a thriving jewelry business that had gradually morphed into a pawn shop, and a couple of adjacent storefronts, has created multiple sleek and contemporary dining spaces on two levels. The rooms are done up in distinctive red, black and white, and luxe materials and finishes that define all the venues. Twenty tiers of bottles are on display in a glass enclosed walk-in for wine.

Photo by Dustin Lopez
  Bennett gave us a brief guided tour of the upstairs, which includes a second kitchen. There's the elegantly furnished VIP room and another outfitted with multiple flat screens that can be sectioned into separate, smaller places for meetings and private gatherings. These guys clearly know how to throw a great party, and that's what these rooms are meant for. By the time summer rolls around, there will be a rooftop patio too.

  The menu here will be identical to those at all the Red restaurants. Expect expertly prepared meat and seafood with a choose-your-own selection of sauces and toppings and a la carte sides, plus classic pasta dishes. Dinner service started Nov 17. Lunch is scheduled to begin by mid-December. With this group of seasoned and successful professionals in charge there is every reason to expect that food and service will be impeccable.

Photo by Dustin Lopez
   It's terrific that they've chosen to become a part of the resurgence of the city's center.  As we waited for the valet to bring our car, I remembered what it used to be like in this area when I arrived in 1971. The words sad and seedy came to mind.  The transformation took my breath away and the place literally and figuratively glows with energy. To all who paved the way and pioneered the resurgence of the Gateway District and to the most recent arrivals, I say cheers and thank you. To everyone else, my message is the lights are on, and there's a table waiting for you!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Prospect Ave. is still a sewer.