Having gained popularity in Cleveland with his food trucks Hodge Podge and Dim and Den Sum, Chris Hodgson additionally earned fame with his impressive performance on Food Network’s 2011 Great Food Truck Race.
After returning home from the competition, Chris Hodgson partnered up with restaurateur Scott Kuhn, and together they opened Hodge’s on Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland, in the space previously occupied by not-so-successful Zinc Bistro.
Service & Atmosphere
The big comfy red chairs, the light up “Hodges” sign above the bar, and the sort of warm, rustic charm all help to make Hodge’s unique and relaxed. It’s an interesting mix of upscale and casual, a perfect contrast to Hodge’s modern spins on traditional comfort foods.
The service was excellent. Everyone was friendly and knowledgeable. Our glasses never went empty, we never felt ignored, and we certainly didn’t feel rushed. It was a great dining experience, reflective of the great job of the Hodge’s staff.
And the patio…if you find yourself wandering about downtown Cleveland on a nice day, stop at Hodge’s patio. There’s a spacious outdoor bar along with outdoor dining tables, and it’s nothing but relaxing, clean, and comfortable. It’s easily one of most underrated outdoor patios in the downtown area.
Hodge’s boasts a big variety of wines, with a selection of reds and whites by the glass, and then a more extensive list of wines available by the bottle. Bottles range in price from a $30 Demoiselle de By all the way up to a $225 bottle of Joseph Phelps Insignia.
If you’re not a wine drinker, Hodge’s also serves up a delicious cocktail menu that includes drinks like a Mulled Manhattan and a Beehive. One of these tasty concoctions will set you back at least $8, but they are oh-so-worth it if you’re in the mood to splurge.
Hodge’s beer menu, on the other hand, is fairly unimpressive: a lot of the choices don’t make sense and the selection seems like it was thoughtlessly slapped together–think 12 oz. cans of PBR and Miller High Life.
Hearing frequently of Hodge’s Tuesday two for $40 special, we decided to venture in and get a taste for ourselves. We enjoyed a bottle of wine, an appetizer, and two entrees–all for just $40.
We started with a bottle of wine, Vista Point Chardonnay, which was good enough (I’m no wine connoisseur), especially since it was included in the Tuesday dining deal. Then we were brought the chef’s compliment of the evening, sweet potato tater tots with a sriracha honey sauce–these things were delicious. The sauce was the perfect mix of spicy and sweet, and it perfectly contrasted the crispy tots. Once those were gone, our appetizer quickly made its way to our table. We opted for the Korean fried chicken ($9), a generous portion of chicken wings coated in a light layer of sweet and tangy Korean barbecue sauce. These were also tasty, and exceeded my expectations for a freebie appetizer. Then came my personal favorite: the cornbread. I’m a sucker for some sweet, homemade cornbread and this delicious stuff, served with a side of honey bourbon butter, definitely hit the spot.
I was already nearly full by the time our entrees arrived, but I of course dug in anyway. I opted for the curious-sounding French onion ravioli ($19.50): a huge helping of creamy ricotta and gruyere stuffed pasta served over top of what was basically a tasty French onion soup. Plus, there was a crispy bread served on top of that, covered in melted gruyere–a perfect compliment to the soupy pasta.
The other entree we chose was the grilled half chicken ($21), which was literally half of a chicken. While it didn’t look particularly appetizing, the meat was tender, flavorful, and delicious. It was served with asparagus, which was cooked perfectly, and mac and cheese which was, unfortunately, a little lackluster. I had high expectations for gooey, baked home-style mac and cheese; this side dish reminded me of something you’d make at home from a box.
Other favorites on Hodge’s menu include the hanger steak ($24) and the burger ($12).
All in all, our expectations were exceeded, and then some. If you have a chance, check out the two for $40–it’s an absolute steal. If you’re forced to pay full price though, it’s still absolutely worth it for the great dining experience!
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