A couple months ago (has it been that long already?), we had dinner at Pier W, an award-winning seafood restaurant on the shore (literally) of Lake Erie. Often referred to as one of the most romantic spots in Cleveland, it didn’t strike me as any more romantic than several other spots we’ve been. Don’t get me wrong, it was very nice, but didn’t exude “romance,” at least not my version of it. I’m thinking string quartet, dim lighting, hushed conversations… Pier W is a bit more lively, bright (due to all the windows), and the music was a bit poppier. This is not an indictment though, just my observation. They have probably one of the best settings in all of Cleveland, with the main dining area jutting over a cliff above the lake, with a beautiful view of the Cleveland skyline. We were fortunate enough to snag a window seat, but the layout is such that anyone in the house has a pretty nice view. It is a bit more upscale, but in a semi-casual sort of way, as if that makes any sense… Now onto the food.
We started with calamari – something we ordinarily don’t get, but since this is a seafood place, we went with some seafood. Fried perfectly, not at all chewy, with a nice combo of siracha aioli and sweet tamarind dip.
For entrees, S tried the diver scallops, with golden raisin and spring onion marmalade, peas, bacon chips, and garlic gnocchi. I tried the grilled swordfish, served with milk-poached white asparagus, new potatoes, vanilla rhubarb, and topped with a rhubarb Hollaindaise. Both dishes were quite excellent, and each had an impressive mix of spring flavors. I particularly enjoyed the mildness of the white asparagus with the subtle tartness of rhubarb. Rhubarb is an underutilized ingredient.
The verdict: Pier W earns 5 1/2 stars out of 7. While not as “romantic” as I was expecting (and again, this means different things to different people, so not a big deal), the food lived up to expectations, the service was solid, prices are a little on the high side (upper $20s – lower $30s on average), and of course, the view is breathtaking.