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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Diamond Deli

Place: Diamond Deli
Location: 378 South Main Street, Akron, OH‎ Google Maps

Quick Blurb:

Take a walk around lunch time on South Main Street, between East Exchange and West Cedar, and you will most likely see a bunch of people waiting in line outside a place called The Diamond Deli.

What is this Diamond Deli? Hands down, the best place to go for a sandwich in Akron. Go early or bring some good conversation as you wait in line; worth the wait.



Once inside, the hustle ‘n bustle of the sandwich creators, along with the diner décor, makes you believe as if you were in downtown Manhattan. Stacks of fresh bread and large pots of homemade soup line the ordering aisle. The chalk board menu listing the unique sandwich names has a familiar feeling. Despite the waves of people coming in and out, the place is always clean.


Genuine. Down-to-earth. Customer focused. The deli family is always eager to serve its customers with a friendly smile. If your order takes longer than it does to pay – grab a seat and they will personally walk your food to you.



My wife swears by their broccoli salad. I have tried it and agree it is delicious, but I do not have anything else to compare it to. If you enjoy broccoli salad, be sure to give this a go.


You can get almost every combination of cold cuts and veggies between bread at this place. They are reknown for their corned beef and from what I hear it is a fair statement. I’m not much of a corned beef person, so I’ve tested out other options:

1) Where’s Jason – Turkey, avocado, mayo, lettuce, cheese: Best turkey sandwich I’ve had. The avocado is fresh and sliced before your eyes. Heck, everything is fresh and sliced before you as you wait in line. It’s great

2) Malone’s Shuffle the Buffalo – Grilled chicken, Havarti cheese, Blue cheese, banana peppers, buffalo sauce, put in the Panini grill to melt the cheese. This has been my favourite for the past 5 visits. I can’t bring myself to eat anything else once I think about the melted blue cheese and havarti cheeses, buffalo chicken flavor and then the tart and bite of the banana peppers. Quite the combo.


Soft drinks are available as are some bottle beers and specialty sodas (eg Jones Soda).


Fan of carrot cake? Get a slice here and you’ll be “mmmm-ing” for a while.


If you go over lunch time, get there around 11:30 and the wait won’t be long. That said, if you see a line and think it’s too long, stand in it anyway; the line moves fast and the food is well worth it.

Oh, and if it’s your first time visiting, be sure to tell them when you get up to the ordering counter!

Diamond Deli on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pub Bricco

Place: Pub Bricco
Location: 1841 Merriman Road, Akron, OH 44313 Google Maps

Quick Blurb:

My first visit to Pub Bricco was for lunch before the Thanksgiving holiday. It was a mixed experience – friendly staff, pub atmosphere and a decent beer selection. The food, while trying to be moderately upscale, didn’t impress me much.

Taking home in the old Grotto restaurant building, Pub Bricco does give you a good pub atmosphere.

As you enter, the horseshoe shaped bar greets you with a variety of draft beers. There are both high top and typical dining tables. The tables are wooden and some seats are simply stools – which I thought was very neat and complimented the look and feel of the place. It does look like it could feel a little cramped if all tables were full, but seeing as it was lunch time, we had plenty of room.

TVs are scattered throughout, but unfortunately from where we were sitting, we had a hard time seeing them. I had to either turn around completely and ignore my company or lean back and squint.

We were greeted when we entered and seated promptly. The gentleman stuttered in deciding whether to hand us the beer list. It was obvious enough for another person sitting with me to notice. This is something that bothers me in restaurants. Who are you to decide whether I want to look at the beer menu or not. It’s exactly like some “Italian” restaurants where they prep the tables with wine glasses and as soon as you sit down, they take them away. I once asked the guy “oh, did you run out of wine?”. Took him a while, but he got it in the end.

Ok, moving along…our waitress was friendly and smiled often. She was also patient with us as we tossed around the idea of ordering a beer and which kind, etc. Throughout the rest of the lunch, she continued to be friendly, checking in when needed, but not attached to the table.

There was four of us for lunch and we ordered two plates to snack on while waiting for the mains.

- House made chips with peppercorn ranch

- Chorizo beer cheese fries topped with tomatoes, scallions and a side of sour cream

The house made chips were very good. Cooked well and with a peppercorn dipping sauce made them an instant hit – especially with a Great Lakes Christmas Ale pairing.

The beer cheese fries left a little to be desired. The cheese was reminiscent of nacho cheese from a sports stadium except it was lighter in colour and just as light in taste. The cheese made the fries soggy and eating with a fork was necessary. The fries weren’t cooked as well as the chips. Some were barely browned and combined with the sogginess, created mush. The whole plate was overpowered by the taste of the chorizo, which was nothing more than tiny pieces scattered here and there. Finally, the sour cream was a dull choice of dip – not much flavor and mushy fries don’t do so well trying to dip into sour cream. The peppercorn ranch sauce was a preferred choice, as was ketchup which had to be asked for afterwards and came in a little dish. This is a pub, where’s the squeeze bottle?


8oz Beef patty with buffalo sauce, provolone and peppercorn ranch on a Kaiser

The sandwich section of the menu allows you to choose an 8oz beef patty, two 4oz beef sliders, or chicken/turkey/veggie burger. Then you choose one of a multitude of sauces. This instantly reminded me of a Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares episode where he went into an Indian restaurant where they allowed you to have any meat with any sauce. The result was a mediocre restaurant with the kitchen always busy making different combinations. I feel the same could happen here.

Four guys, four sandwiches (all 8oz Beef patties), 40 minutes for them to be cooked and brought to the table – and we were one of maybe five tables seated. The waitress asked how I would like my burger to be cooked and I said medium-rare. I did indeed receive a medium-rare burger, however, it may as well have been the two 4oz sliders as they cut it right in half to make sure they cooked it correctly. I’ll give them some credit, they tried to hide this fact by putting on a large layer of cheese on top. In 40 minutes, I’m sure they could have looked up how long it takes to cook an 8oz burger to medium-rare and used a stopwatch.

The meat was very good – great quality and cooked well. I unfortunately didn’t taste much of the buffalo sauce as the peppercorn ranch was a little too overpowering.

Unfortunately, as I was driving home for the holiday a couple hours later, I kept having indigestion and had to take a couple Rolaids to calm it down; doesn’t give me much desire to eat another burger. Unfortunately, that’s all they have besides salads and soups.


Great Lakes Christmas Ale – Draft

We never did get to see the beer menu – maybe it’s only shown for a select few, but by the quick glance at the bar, there seemed to be plenty of choices.


I really enjoyed walking into the place and looking at the décor. However, after the cheese fries and the butchering of an 8oz patty, my stomach told me that it wasn’t happy. I think this could be a fun place to go to for a game – if you get a good spot with view of a TV – and order some drinks and house chips. I could go back just for that and probably will. I’d like to give it another shot. I like pubs and I like food – if this place could pull it off, I’d be a big fan. But at the moment, there is some room for improvement.

Pub Bricco on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Moe's Restaurant

Place: Moe's Restaurant
Location: 2385 Front Street, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221 Google Maps

Quick Blurb:
I highly recommend going to Moe's Restaurant. Whether you are looking for a romantic night, a celebration, or just a place to go out with friends and have fun, Moe's can provide. With the formal dining area and the tavern side to choose from, you can decide what type of atmosphere is for you.

The staff is excellent, the food is outstanding, and the drinks are made to perfection. Once you try Moe's, you'll find yourself wanting to go back again and again.


From the outside, Moe's doesn't look like much. I like the simplistic look: A stand alone building that looks somewhat out of place amongst car dealerships. There are two main doors - one to the formal dining area and one to the tavern.

The formal dining room is comfortable, not crowded with tables and dimly lit, but enough to read the menu without troubles. Even though it is connected via a corridor to the more boisterous tavern side, you are not distracted by the noise and still have the serene and romantic vibe of a formal sitting.

The tavern side has a great look to it. The long bar to the left has a lot of character, as do the bartenders that serve you. There are plenty of seats along the bar as well as both booths and tables to sit. TVs are located in various places making this a great place to enjoy delicious food while watching a game. While it is loud, I don't find it to be at that obnoxious level that you find in some bars/restaurants - It is a friendly loud.

Each and every time I go to Moe's, the staff is...well, put it this way - I don't think I could find a flaw even if I tried. They always have a smile on their face and are upbeat. They take the time to go through the menu with you and answer any questions that you may have. I have never once gotten the claustrophobic hovering feeling at Moe's. Nor have I ever been frustrated in getting the attention of our waiter/waitress. There is a good balance between enjoying your food with your company and ensuring that everything is going well.


My Wife: Steamed Prince Edward Island mussels, orange, basil and wasabi butter
Myself: Tempura scallops wrapped in salmon on a cucumber-seaweed salad with chili caramel

The first thing I noticed was that the seafood was fresh. The scallops tasted like a fresh scallop - as it should be. There wasn't that hidden taste of bleach that you sometimes have in other restaurants - which is disgusting and results in my never going back. My scallops were perfectly cooked and the cucumber-seaweed salad was something that I could have kept on eating. The chili caramel glaze was similar to a sweet-chili sauce. It complimented the scallops and seaweed well. The tempura batter was nice and light - as it should be.

My Wife: Goat cheese, mixed field greens, dried cherries, candied walnuts and walnut vinaigrette
Myself: House salad

I opted to not upgrade the house salad and it was one of the best 'house salads' I've had. The lettuce was a good mix - not just chopped up romaine that has no flavour. The dressing was sweet with a little sour mixed into it. I did hear a lot of "Mmmm"'s coming from the other side of the table re: the Goat cheese salad.

My Wife: Grilled beef tenderloin smashed red skins, spinach, “Diane” sauce and onion rings
Myself: Garlic scampi and grilled scallops on escarole, chorizo and white bean risotto with a tomato broth

I went for the sea again for my main course. I have not had scampi and scallops paired with chorizo before and wondered how the flavours would interact. The chorizo lent its flavour well while not being overpowering. The scampi and the scallops, again, were cooked perfectly.

I am not a risotto lover, most likely due to having it cooked poorly too many times, but I ate every bite. I enjoyed the escarole; I don't see that too often on menus and I like the flavour. Overall a great dish that I would get again.

Split: Cannelloni

My wife liked the cannelloni a lot. I thought it was a little too fried - I tasted the outside more than I did the ricotta cheese in the middle. As a result, I didn't eat too much since I was rather full from the previous courses and the fried flavour wasn't sitting well with me.

My Wife:
Glass of St. Supery Sauvingnon Blanc (w/ mussels)
Glass of Shingleback Shiraz (w/ beef)

Vodka martini
Gin and Tonic (driver)

I normally enjoy a good glass of wine with dinner, however, the martinis where big and the GnT was potent. I thought it'd be wise to go easy and drink the gin and tonic throughout the meal. I did have a taste of the Shingleback - it was very good. I am a fan of Shiraz (my favourite Shiraz is Penfold's Koonunga Hill - excellent wine at only $10 a bottle). The Frenchtini got an approval from the missus as did the St. Supery.

The meal was delicious. I would have liked to have enjoyed a glass of wine with the dishes, so I'll have to remember that for next time. I would have liked a better ending to the meal; I'll most likely pass on the cannelloni next time and opt for another option.

As I have said earlier, we've been to Moe's numerous times and never have had a negative experience. Actually, I should rephrase that: we have never had anything but a great experience. Whether it is for lunch or for dinner, the quality has always been outstanding and the food always enjoyable to eat.

If you still have some doubts about trying Moe's and don't want to splurge the first time, you should stop in during the weekend for lunch at the Tavern. Their lunches average $10 for sandwiches or salads and will give you a good sense of the atmosphere, the staff and the food.

Moe's on Urbanspoon