What do Japanese Pancake and Foie Gras Short Stack have in common with Deviled Eggs and Chicken Wings? They are starters at Cleveland-Heath, a creative comfort-food restaurant in downstate Edwardsville, Ill., a short drive from St. Louis.
Offering a mix of innovative global cooking and traditional American fare is essential for Jennifer Cleveland and Eric Heath, who co-own and operate the place.
“We have old-school diners who love meat and potatoes and large entrées and other people who follow the food movement and go for small plates,” says Heath. “We really want to please them both.”
One of the novelties is Japanese Pancake, a take on okonomiyaki. It is an egg-rich batter studded with royal red shrimp, crispy bacon and cabbage morsels, flipped on the griddle and anointed with housemade barbecue sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, sesame seeds, green onions and bonito flakes.
More familiar, yet still distinctive, are Deviled Eggs spiked with Frank’s Hot Sauce and laced with Parmesan. “It’s a flavor combination you can’t quite figure out,” says Heath.
He admits that managing the extra inventory and labor of small plates can be challenging.
“But for us small plates have so many positives,” Heath says. “We get to play with ingredients we would not normally use. We are not confined to a veggie, a sauce, a protein and garnish like with an entrée. They also make it easier to feature items that are hard to sell, hard to get, less popular or more expensive, because people aren’t so afraid of them in smaller portions.”
Menu Sampler: Cleveland-Heath
- Foie Gras Short Stack: Seared foie, flapjacks, maple syrup, candied pecans, $15
- Chicken Wings: Crispy, sweet and spicy, $7
- Chips & Salsa: House-made flour tortilla chips and Cleveland-Heath black bean salsa, $6