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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Cabin @ Mario’s Spa

Place: The Cabin @ Mario’s Spa
Location: 30 E Garfield Rd, Aurora, OH 44202-7958 Google Maps

Quick Blurb:

The Cabin is a little out of the way from Akron/Cleveland area, but worth the trip for some great food. The service, while not bad, isn’t the greatest. Concentrate on the food and you’ll be happy.



Visiting in the winter added to the rustic atmosphere of The Cabin - dim lighting and exposed beams. 1800’s décor surrounds you as you enter and both the Lounge and Dining areas are very fun to sit. We were sat in the dining room as there was no place left in the lounge (despite us being told during reservations that there would be no problem to have a table). We were seated near a window, which was a little chilly, but heating was not a problem (to be expected in such an old building). The smell of fire and food made you feel very comfortable in a formal setting.


Overall – OK. As mentioned above, friends of ours who made reservations had asked if it would be possible to sit in the lounge area. They were told it would not be an issue, however, upon arriving, the hostess simply said “No, sorry no room. But your table is here”. No remorse, no pausing to take a look to see if there was anything she could do, nothing. Not exactly the best start to the evening.

After being seated we were greeted by our waiter. Don’t blink, in case you miss him smiling. He was very dry and tried to act too proper. Perhaps it was the character he was trying to portray as he put on a faint British accent and had a grey pony tail to boot. I’ve been to formal restaurants and the staff always is lively and polite and enjoyable.



The drinks were good. The ladies had a glass of champagne and we had martinis. The champagne was very nice and the martinis made very well. This started to make up for the initial greeting.


I went for the Torta di Granchi – aka Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Roasted Fennel, Sundried Tomato Relish, Aioli. Let me start by saying that I am a fan of every ingredient listed. Usually when places list fennel on the menu, it has no taste and is just on the menu to sound fancy; not so here. I could taste the anis and it complimented the relish and crab so that the combined flavor was unique, delicious, and also distinguishable; you could taste each element. Most restaurants typically have aioli as the highlight of their crab cake dish; The Cabin has chosen to make it what it is, in my opinion, and that is a complimentary dip and not the focus – this is good! A garlic, olive oil mayonnaise-esque dipping sauce should not be the feature of a dish, but instead it should be a tasty option as it was in this case. The crab meat was excellent – fresh, sweet flavor paired with the tart of the relish – delicious!


Tell me how good this sounds:

Spaghetti Fruitti Di Mare

Shrimp, Scallops, Lobster, White Wine, Garlic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I couldn’t resist…

I would like to stress a couple of things about The Cabin and I feel now is the best time. Their food is excellent – cooked perfectly and as fresh as you’ll find.

Now onto the main course – the first thing that I noticed was that I had to search for the pasta beneath all the seafood. Yes, that is written correctly. How many times are you able to say that you had seafood with pasta rather than pasta with seafood?

I had at least five large scallops that were not cooked beyond recognition, but rather seared properly. The Shrimp were abundant as was the lobster. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. I was also pleased that there was not an obnoxiously heavy cream alfredo sauce drenching the food – which again is usually what you find elsewhere. The garlic and olive oil is plenty tasty and not heavy on the stomach – leaving more room for the seafood!

Now usually no one really talks about the pasta – pasta’s pasta, right? Well, I don’t think so. I think pasta is usually over cooked at restaurants and is cheap. Again, The Cabin serves up quality – the spaghetti was cooked a perfect al dente and had a very different flavor than compared to the San Giorgio pasta you pick up in the stores. It tasted real…I know that’s an unusual way to describe something, but just think about it and go and have a taste!


While they hand you a semi-extensive wine list, we were knocked down twice with our selection. We asked for two wines, neither ridiculously expensive, nor cheap, and both “they were just out”. The last bottle of wine we asked for happened to be “the last one” and we were meant to feel lucky as a result. This was a continuation of the not so great service that I talked about earlier. If you are out of bottles of wine, then let people know prior to handing them the list. Another option is to not try to carry such an extensive wine list. Additionally, act a little apologetic when you have to tell people for the second time that you do not have their selection – being disinterested isn’t the reaction that pleases people.


As you know, I’m not much of a desert person and I was quite satisfied with the meal. I opted for a simple bowl of their ice cream – and it was equal to the quality of the crab cake and pasta.

The Cabin serves excellent food – and ranks up there in places I’ve been to since moving to this area. However, the service just isn’t up to par. And when I go out to eat, I want the entire dining experience to be enjoyable. It’s part of the atmosphere and pleasure of dining.

I say give The Cabin a go – the food is excellent. And perhaps they have improved in the service area since we’ve been (just before the Christmas break 2009).



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