Not Quite Lakewood but Luxe Kitchen & Lounge is Worth the Trip
September 27, 2010 by coachz13
Filed under Best Cleveland Restaurant, Best Cleveland Restaurants, Best Cleveland Westside Restaurants, Cleveland Restaurants, Lakewood Ohio Restaurants, Lakewood Restaurant Guide, Lakewood Restaurants, Luxe Cleveland, Luxe Kitchen & Lounge Cleveland
Luxe Kitchen & Lounge: Cleveland Dining Excellence!
What can I say? I was thoroughly impressed with Luxe Kitchen & Lounge!
Luxe was recommended to me by a client some time back but I have been so busy I just haven’t had the time. I used to do reviews for various magazines, both online and offline, but not so much any more.
I am glad I made the time!
Frankly, I am on the road quite a bit and it seems someone is always recommending this place or that to me. Some of the restaurants range from OK to pretty good; and, many more, in fact the majority, are simply average. It is not often that a restaurant matches the recommendation.
Luxe Kitchen & Lounge is one of the true exceptions!
Luxe Kitchen & Lounge is located in a neighborhood referred to as The Detroit Shoreway. Luxe opened for business in 2008 on Cleveland’s Westside at W. 65th St. and Detroit Ave. The address is 6605 Detroit Ave. The restaurant is on the south side of the street in a picturesque old stone bank building refurbished to house Luxe.
The area, and the restaurant, are among the bright spots in Cleveland’s Westside Renaissance.
I must admit, it has been a while since I have been that far down Detroit Ave but the revitalization of the W. 65th and Detroit area is impressive.
Not only is the Luxe décor interesting and visually appealing, the sound system is first rate and the music selection creates a complete dining experience.
We sat in the lounge, recommended by the hostess, and we were not disappointed.
Seating - One negative, of two very insignificant negatives, was being seated on the crease of a cowhide bench mid-row. It was not the greatest spot and the bench offered a somewhat uncomfortable feeling, especially at first. However, the uncomfortable seating was soon forgotten, overshadowed by the shear excellence of Luxe dining and service.
Overall, the lounge seating appears comfortable and the atmosphere is very relaxed. I just drew the short straw and got the joint between two benches. Next time, and there will be a next time, I will know better.
I am like most when it comes to negatives, reviewing or not, I never complain, I simply observe, report, and then decide whether or not to return based on the total experience.
I must reiterate, the seating issue was soon forgotten and we felt at home!
Luxe’s service was stellar.
A restaurant owes most of its success to the wait staff! I have had incredible meals served in the most horrendous fashion and I have had average meals served in virtuoso-style. The latter always gets a second look while the former is written off immediately. The Luxe Kitchen & Lounge wait staff is absolutely committed to a completely positive dining experience. This one is a no-brainer. I shall return!
Oh my, did I just should like Douglas MacArther?
OK, back to the staff.
Not only was our waitress pleasant, and the term waitress really doesn’t do her justice, she was attentive throughout our entire stay. She was professional, friendly, and accommodating throughout, and not just when the check was offered.
There is no greater turn off than an inattentive waiter or waitress, one with an artificial smile evident once in the entire dining experience…when the check is presented. This is the case at far too many restaurants I have eaten in and reviewed over the years; and a real turn off.
The support staff was attentive and eager to please!
The water glass was never empty and our drinks were constantly refreshed without asking. When I first walked in I wondered how Luxe could support such a large staff but it is apparent that each and every person has a role to play and they all work well as a team to enhance the overall dining experience.
We were asked for our choice of beverage when seated. I was pleased to discover lime in my Diet Coke. I developed a taste for lime in most of my drinks after several seasons in the Caribbean. My dining partner was thrilled to discover they had her favorite adult beverage on tap. It is interesting how many restaurants in Cleveland go overboard with the whole micro-brewery thing in an attempt to appear with it. It is nice to discover a restaurant and lounge that offers both the old standbys, as well as an array of micro-brewery offerings.
We were given enough time to settle in, neither feeling rushed nor neglected.
We started our meal with 2 shared plates:
Crispy Calamari – sallions, spicy tomatoes & lemon aioli
Drunken Mussels – white wine, parsley butter, crusty garlic read
Both were exquisite…and that is an understatement!
The Crispy Calamari - The Luxe Crispy Calamari was prepared just right, not over or under cooked, and the accompanying dipping sauces made the dish. Incredible! The Luxe Crispy Calamari is without a doubt the best I have had in the Cleveland area, and some of the best I have had anywhere. If calamari is on the menu, I order it, wherever I am, and this is by far the best I have had. Sadly, most of the time it is overdone and dry.
The Luxe’ Drunken Mussels - The Luxe Drunken Mussels are, without a doubt, the best I have had in a long time, anywhere. The mussels were warm and wonderful, neither fishy nor sandy. Most of the mussels presented in this area are both, fishy and gritty, these were excellent. The white wine and butter sauce with lightly steamed onion created a wonderful taste experience.
Frankly, we could have made a meal out of the two share plates, they were that good!
After the shared plates, the appetizers mentioned above, we had a light, yet wonderfully tasty and well-presented mixed green salad with pine nuts, feta cheese, and raspberry vinaigrette. It was quite good and a nice break before the main course.
I enjoy a good salad and Luxe did not disappoint!
The Luxe Kitchen & Lounge Main Course - Luxe offered, as one of the specials, a Hanger Steak Platter with Horseradish Potatoes. The hanger steak is a cut that is prized for flavor and, once again, Luxe did not disappoint. In fact, not only was it prepared properly, medium rare for both myself and my dining partner, it was warm and so tender I cut it easily with my butter knife.
The Luxe Hanger Steak was superb!
Mashed potatoes are mashed potatoes. Profound enough?
It is hard to mess up mashed potatoes. Incredibly, I have seen it done, and tasted the resulting disaster, more times than I care to count. However, the Luxe’ horseradish potatoes were full bodied, warm, and with just enough horseradish for them to be interesting without being overpowered by the horseradish. The hanger steak was served in layered cuts across the bed of potatoes and garnished with perfect strings of cold, green beans.
The Luxe Kitchen & Lounge Hanger Steak with Horseradish Potatoes was a delight!
The Luxe Kitchen & Lounge Sides - Luxe offers several sides, all appear interesting. I tried the Blue Cheese Gnocchi and my dining partner had Penne & Red Sauce. Both sides were delicious, plentiful, and hot. We ended up taking a good amount of the sides home, along with one of the desserts, simply because we ran out of room.
The sides were just as good re-heated later. Like cold pizza, the true test of a good side is whether of not it can be eaten the next morning…for breakfast! Back to my old college days, I suppose.
All kidding aside, the Blue Cheese Gnocchi was really quite good and the Penne & Red Sauce, while appearing quite plain on presentation, was really quite good.
The Luxe Kitchen & Lounge Dessert - I am not a dessert person, as a rule. Frankly, by the time I get through with the meal, particularly when sampling various dishes for a review, I am just too full to eat dessert. Interestingly, my dining partner is a dessert fanatic and loves sweets. However, this evening our roles were reversed. My partner was full, it may have been the horseradish potatoes or perhaps the side of penne & red sauce that did her in. Whatever the reason, I was craving sweets and she was too full to try…so I ordered one for the dining room and another to take with us.
Dessert for now and later!
The Luxe Lemon Curd Cheesecake on the menu had been displaced by the Luxe Chocolate Cheesecake with raspberry sauce, whipped cream, and a large quartered strawberry. The cheesecake was smooth and chocolaty, neither too rich or too cheesy, just right. The raspberry sauce was drizzled on the plate and the cheesecake set on top with the whipped cream placed to the side and a mint leaf on top. Visually pleasing and, even for one who rarely eats chocolate, and almost never takes time or has room for desserts, I was thrilled with the dessert.
In the words of my dining partner, who had her Luxe Chocolate Cheesecake later:
The Luxe Chocolate Cheesecake was to die for!
All-in-all, Luxe Kitchen & Lounge was a hit.
Luxe Kitchen & Lounge – The Downside: Two negatives, both having nothing to do with the food or the service, must be mentioned in order to be fair.
One: The first, mentioned above, is the bench seating. And to be fair, if you didn’t sit in that exact spot, and how many employees from the wait staff to the Executive Chef and general manager would, you wouldn’t know about that one spot.
Like I said, I drew the short straw!
Two: The second is the lack of adequate restrooms for diners, at least adjoining the lounge. It was unclear from the sign posted next to the restroom whether or not there are other restroom facilities in the restaurant. My dining partner was a bit bashful about asking and there appears to be just one restroom for the lounge and dining room. If Luxe Kitchen & Lounge continues to grow, and their is not reason to believe they won’t, more rest facilities, or better marked facilities may be in order.
OVERALL – I give Luxe Kitchen & Lounge 4.5 out of 5 Stars!
I will no doubt add Luxe to my regular stops for dining out. Not only was the food first-rate but the service was the best I have experienced in the Cleveland area in quite some time.
Every once in a while I get pointed to an incredible dining experience. Luxe Kitchen & Lounge is one! If my praise seems effusive or over-the-top? It is because this sort of excellence is rare…anywhere! Luxe Kitchen & Lounge was a pleasant surprise and an experience I am happy to write out…and that too is rare!
I want to thank my staff at Lakewood Restaurant Guide for asking me to contribute this review. It is not often the boss gets to put his two cents in around here…but I am sincerely thrilled to be able to contribute and to recommend Luxe to our readers. More to follow!
It has been a pleasure!
The Ultimate Internet Image
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
Please to review:
Luxe Kitchen & Lounge
6605 Detroit Ave
Cleveland, Ohio 44102
PS, Watch for our review of The Greek Village Grille. I hope you are as impressed as I was with this review.