Table 45 Restaurant and Bar is a cosmopolitan dining concept in the heart of Cleveland at the InterContinental Hotel, only minutes from downtown and University Circle. A Zack Bruell concept.
Table 45 menu in Cleveland goes to Cuba, Morocco, Portugal and more
Chef Matthew Anderson spent four years of Coast Guard duty in the Caribbean, often docked at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He was the 70-foot ship’s cook when they made kitchen supply runs to Jamaica and other islands, but he never once got into civilian Cuba.
“If we left the base we’d be shot,” he said of his tour in the early 1990s. “And if anyone tried to come in, they’d get shot, too.”
Anderson, 45, is finding some irony in one of the projects of his new job as chef de cuisine at Zack Bruell’s Table 45 at the InterContinental Hotel in Midtown Cleveland. He’s developing the menu for a new global dining tour and contest at the property on the Cleveland Clinic campus.
Each month, one cocktail, one appetizer and one main dish will reach for inspiration to another, less-explored cuisine. Morocco, Israel, Portugal, Ethiopia, Peru, Taiwan and Yucatan are among the ports of call. First stop, though: Cuba.
For the rest of October, Table 45 will be pouring Cuba Libre, a drink of white rum, cola and a twist of lime named after the island’s break from Spanish rule in 1902.
Thin, long strips of plantain, both the starchy and sweet versions of the large bananas, will be the fried base for nachos. A grilled pork loin will top rice, beans and stewed tomatoes brightened with cilantro, cumin and lime.
When Anderson could not rely on his own Cuban experience for inspiration, he did research, collaborated with Bruell and sought out advice from a Cuban member of the hotel’s staff.
“I asked him, ‘What’s for dinner at your house? What food makes you feel good?'”
The global reach of the InterContinental, as well as his own staff, has led him to a cache of sources for on other countries.
Bruell, his boss, might have the final say on a dish, but Anderson says the relationship feels more like a collaboration.
“We speak the same language,” he said. “I think Zack’s flavors are clean and offer twists on the play of salty, sweet and sour. He looks at what I’ve done and we talk and I get what he’s saying. He gets where I’m going. It’s fun.”
Anderson’s arrival at Table 45, the hiring of European-trained Michael Swann as executive chef of all the restaurants in the Cleveland group, and the new International Cultural Celebration can be seen as an awakening of the original theme of world cuisine at the restaurant.
Anderson, who trained at the New England Culinary Institute, arrived in Cleveland from the Washington, D.C. area where he worked at several restaurants and even owned one. He and his wife Andrea, who grew up here, settled in Shaker Heights with their two daughters.
He started here at Sapore, the Italian-style, student-run restaurant in Chesterland, owned by cooking school founder Loretta Paganini.
“We did everything from scratch. If I could have squeezed olives for the olive oil, I would have done it,” he said.
Then he opened his own restaurant, Umami, an Asian fusion spot in Chagrin Falls, which continues under a new owner. Most recently, he ran Crop Kitchen in the University Circle area, which closed shortly after he left.
“I was working a lot of hours and they weren’t getting any less,” he said.
At Table 45, with a full staff, he’s able to focus less on the day-to-day operation, he said, and more on the bigger picture. The global reach of his parent company has got him thinking about a civilian trip to Cuba.
“I’d like to see it now, before you have the romance of the culture affected by outside influences,” he said of the slowly dissolving travel restrictions. “I just hope they can keep that feeling going.”
Chef’s Table at Table 45
“I was invited, along with a few select others in the food media world, to taste the changes Chef Bruell is making under new Table 45 Chef Matthew Anderson, and new Executive Chef Michael Swann. New and exciting details of this year’s Tour de Bruell were also revealed (keep reading!)” Read More »
Zack Bruell nominated for 2016 James Beard Foundation ‘Best Chef Great Lakes’ award
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Chef Zack Bruell, who operates 10 Northeast Ohio restaurants, has been nominated for a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award.
The nod from the Beard Foundation, which confers the culinary world’s most respected honors, is in the “Best Chefs: Great Lakes” category for Bruell’s flagship restaurant, Parallax .
“Of course I’m honored – and I’m especially proud to represent Cleveland. And a nomination like isn’t just about me, this is really about my staff.”
A win for Bruell would make him the third Cleveland chef to receive one of the food world’s top honors. In 2009 “Iron Chef” Michael Symon received the honor, and last year Jonathon Sawyer won the same prize.
Bruell is one of 20 semi-finalists in the category. The owner of Cowell & Hubbard, L’Albatros Brasserie, Chinato, Alley Cat, Kafeteria and Dynomite locations is one of three Ohioans to be recognized for their work in the Great Lakes region. Anne Kearney of Rue Domaine in Dayton, and Jose Salazar of Mita’s, in Cincinnati, are also among the first-round honorees.
Twelve of the other nominees each represent restaurants in Illinois, almost all of them in the Chicago area.
According the Beard Foundation’s guidelines, honorees in the regional chef categories are “[those] who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years with the three most recent years spent in the region.”
A list of finalists will be announced on Tuesday, March 15. Winners will be named at the James Beard Awards Gala on Monday, May 2 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago