I am not much of a writer/reviewer, but I am an eater. I've discovered that Cleveland (and NEOhio) has many ethnic restaurants that I have never even noticed and it has become my mission to try them all.
This all started when I discovered an outdated Ethnic Restaurants in Cleveland 2005 book at the flea market. I figured that for the asking price ($2), the book would be worth it even if most of the places were out of business. I started with Rachel's Caribbean Cuisine (Cleveland Heights, Jamaican cuisine, delicious), Marcelita's (Hudson, Mexican, very unique and upscale), and Corky & Lenny's (Woodmere, Jewish, awesome, casual, mostly meat options), all of which will be undocumented but remembered forever.
Most recently I checked out Frank Sterle's Country House in the heart of Cleveland, right by the lake on E 55 & 90. I had been curious about Hungarian/Slavic/German food and this place caught my eye because I heard they had live music and polka dancing on Friday & Saturday nights.
Sterle's Country House is dark, warm, and inviting despite the fact that my friend & I may have been the only people under 65 & older than 6 that were dining that night. The inside was charming, the waitresses wore awful pseudo-German outfits and the walls were covered with crests and big countryside scenes. We were lucky enough to be given a very romantic seat on the river:
The menu was very meat heavy (okay, I should have known this based on the ethnicity, but I was still surprised) and the options were mostly dishes with veal, different sausages and some chicken and lamb. There was ONE vegetarian option, and that was an omlette with green pepper or mushroom. I was very disappointed with this at first, but I sucked it up because I am not a particularly strict vegetarian, anyways. We started the night with one of the two or three Slavic beers that were offered. My friend ordered one of the "family style" options, which basically means soup, salad, three different meats, two vegetables, and dessert, all in large portions. My meal was also very large and it came with salad and delicious buttery potatoes (which may have been my favorite part of the meal, actually).
Admittedly the food was kind of simple, but very good and we left with enough leftovers to feed another person. All of this was as expected, but I thought the live music and dancing was what would get me. The music was nice, traditional, and slow. Many of the older couples got up to dance but no one appeared to be dancing polka in the way that I know it. (I learned to polka about a year ago- its really fun!) We didn't stay long enough to see if the band picked up the pace later in the night.
I would love to go back for some real polka dancing! But at this point, I would be more interested in trying other restaurants and food of that region, especially ones with a slightly less meat-heavy menu. Any suggestions are welcome!