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HOB Cleveland Restaurant review

Jambalaya | Jan 25, 200505:26 PM

OK, I know its a chain and I'm not a fan of chains either, but as these types of restaurants go I actually think this one is worth the visit. Stopped in before a show on a Saturday about 7 PM, it was crowded but they were only quoting a 30 or 40 minute wait. Since I was by myself, I quickly got a seat at the bar. Service there was slow, but once the bartender realized I was there for an entire dinner, I really did not have a problem.

A word about all the staff there. They bend over backwards to make sure you are taken care of. I was very impressed with all the workers there.

The menu is a bit limited and I started with a cup of the gumbo. Let me tell you its the real deal, which up here on the shores of Lake Erie is hard to get. It had a nice dark roux with a rich and complex flavour. If you have never been to the Big Easy and want a taste of what you can expect to get down there, definitely have this dish. I got a bonus, since when the bartender brought me the dish, it looked to me like an entire bowl and I mentioned this but she told me it was the cup. After, she admitted it was in fact the bowl, but since I only ordered the cup, just charged me for the cup.

For the entree I got the jambalaya. This is another one that no one, I mean no one up here gets right. Well, they got it. They do a creol style that has a bit of tomato in it, but the taste is very good. It contains chunks of chicken, andouille, shrimp and even about three whole chicken drumettes. This was kind of unusual as jambalaya goes, but I liked it.

This stuff can be a little spicy, in fact it comes topped with an orange colored pepper, which was not shaped at all like a habanero, but the bartender said that is in fact what it was. So I approached with caution, cut a piece and just touched it to my tounge. This excercise left no doubt it was a habanero. I took the pepper off and added a few drops of Tabasco instead, but after getting into the dish got the impression it already had some heat added. So, if you're a tender mouthed type, go easy at first until you determine the degree of heat.

I'm a large eater but I could not finish it. In fact I could have made another full meal out of what was left over. It could actually have fed three average or less agressive eaters. Another unusual thing, I had absolutely no room for desert after this effort. In short - lots of food for a reasonable price.

All in all, the experience at the restaurant was quite good and I recommend the place for at least these two dishes. They are both the real deal. In fact, I found the food better here than at the HOB I have eaten at in the Quarter.

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