Mia Bella – Little Italy, Cleveland

Mia Bella. Lovely night.

Food review is marginal but overall experience was good. Great atmosphere and good drinks. Two weeks in a row, the bartenders correctly translated the ‘twist’ as in ‘Hendricks martini, up, extremely dry and with a twist’. For some reason, many bartenders in this area hang a hunk of lemon off the side of the glass instead of the correct method of simply adding a small shaving of the lemon peel.

This was a along and emotionally exhausting week, so I was really ready for my martini.

The bartenders were excellent. Very attentive and knew their craft. No nonsense and no talk about hand-crafted this or that—just leaned in and make a couple of great martini’s. Or Abby did. My first was Hendricks with a twist and single drop of Lillet Blanc. And then, I doubled down but this time Ketel One also with Lillet Blanc. Very nice. Very well done.

Dinner was average overall.

First course was Caesar salad. The dressing was just okay. But I ordered it with anchovies, and as seems to be the fashion these days, it came with white anchovies. I suspect that some years ago someone decided they wanted to distinguish a dish by using white anchovies instead of regular brown anchovies. And from there, it perpetuated. And now, restaurants are jumping on this bandwagon even though the truth is that white anchovies really suck compared to the normal anchovy. They are far inferior in flavor. I do agree they look better and have a better texture, but not enough to warrant the substitution. And yet they prevail. And this is part of the problem with the modern food scene—chefs blindly copy other chefs; they follow trends without proper evaluation or understanding.

Second course. Terrific calamari. Really terrific. Pan seared in olive oil and tomatoes with thinly sliced cucumber and onions and in a light broth. It was by far the best part of the meal.

Third course. Filet with truffle mash and asparagus. This was their special. Filet was terrific. Really tender and perfectly cooked. But the mashed potatoes were really bad. Amateurish. Watery and way too much truffle oil and ironically, void of flavor once the truffle was factored out.

So overall an average meal but a nice evening just the same. I needed some good solo time after the intensity of the week. Time to think, reflect, dream, and plan.

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