Cleveland Restaurant Tour: The Market Garden in Ohio City

If you’re a Greater Clevelander, y0u know what a real gem and treat Ohio City is, and what a wonderful place to walk around and soak up the sites and sounds of the big city in a quaint small town feel and atmosphere. It’s just a cool place to be and has a cool foodie type vibe. There are dozens of great restaurants to enjoy there, and on this particular day we took our talents to The Market Garden right on the main drag.

The day we were there, it was for lunch and the place was a madhouse. It was absolutely slammed, jammed and packed with patrons enjoying a pint or two at the bar and filled with those grabbing lunch — oddly on this day, the patrons taking up half the space was the Hillary Clinton press corps as she was just up the street giving a speech. Unfortunately, that fact is going to slightly skew this review as you really can’t plan for Hillary Clinton and the press corp showing up for lunch. The place was woefully, woefully, woefully (yes, three times in a row) understaffed so the service was horrendous, but we’re actually going to give them a pass on that — they were trying and the staff was running around like crazy people trying to get things sorted out.

Now, if you haven’t been, The Market Garden is a local Cleveland brewery that boasts a number of great proprietary brews. As it’s the fall, I try to go with as many local Oktoberfest type beers as I can, and this was no exception. It was excellent, as have been all the brews I’ve tried at the gaaaaden. The bar is rather large, an ‘L’ shaped expanse on the back of the entry point featuring several high top tables and booths. The back is also available for lunch and dinner, although on this day it was closed off (and folks walking in and out had to go through security and metal detectors — including the staff). Outside is group seating, which again on this day was a little strange as you were literally sitting with other people so there was no “one on one” conversations, it was indeed family style and shared conversations with complete strangers. If you’re cool with that, it’s cool. Now, to the food. We started off with an appetizer — one of my very favorites and something you don’t see very often — a Scotch Egg. If you don’t know what it is, you’re missing out on a treat. If you do, you didn’t want this one.

Wildly overcooked, it was a dry, crumbled mess. It also clearly sat for quite a while, so while we had the pleasure of a dry crumbled mess, it was also cold. It was gross, and unfortunately not a good harbinger of things to come. So, we waited and waited. Sitting outside in the direct hot sun in business attire — not fun. It was warm and there was no shade, and no service, so no drinks. Finally, our lunch arrived. We had salmon and a chorizo taco.

Now, for something positive. The salmon was cooked perfectly. It was moist and delicious with an excellent flavor that was accentuated by a near perfect sauce on a nice bed of tender greens and root veggies. It was very good. The soft tacos were bland and seemed to desperately cry out for all the extra flavors from the ramekins to be slathered over the dry weirdness in the actual taco. It didn’t work, and this wasn’t even good “bar” food — frankly, it was hard to eat. We give those a resounding F. Now, there are several items on a fairly comprehensive menu that features standard and some creative fare, so maybe this was an off day because we like The Market Garden and what they’re trying to do but this experience we’d rather soon forget.

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