Restaurant: Deagan’s Kitchen & Bar, Lakewood, Ohio
Sometime the best laid plans fall through and you have to find a plan B.
Welcome to my world on the night of The Monkees concert up in Lakewood, Ohio. Now, I have a friend who lives in Lakewood and we had made plans to all meet up prior to the show for dinner. Our original spot of choice was somewhere I found on Find Me Gluten Free. A little joint called Tommy’s Pizza and Chicken. Sounds like a dive, yes? But sometimes dives have the best food.
Unfortunately…we never found out. Upon arriving at Tommy’s, we could see that it was more of a carry-out sort of place than an eat-in. That wasn’t going to work…at all. It definitely was a dive. And after a couple of texts with my friend in the area, Cathy (yeah…2 Cathy’s…try to keep them straight), we laid out a couple of alternatives. Get gluten-free pizza to go and bring it to her place. Check out Aladdin’s (they serve up Lebanese/American food). But, with a little magic from my Yelp app on my phone under the gluten-free friendly tag…I discovered Deagan’s Kitchen & Bar, a gastropub that wasn’t too far away. It had good ratings. I suggested it. We all agreed to meet there.
Deagan’s was a happening place that night. Very busy. Very lively. We stepped inside and were greeted by the hostess. I said that there would be five of us so they went to prepare a table. We ended up being positioned near one of the windows in the front…but in a quieter side room. That was definitely a good thing. We were given menus to look at and brought some water to start with. Although tempted with the drink menu, we forwent that. Cathy (the roomie) got a Diet Coke for caffeine purposes, but Jenn and I stuck with water. I explained to our waitress, Anisa (she’s awesome, BTW!), that I was a gluten-free vegetarian. She said they had a special menu for me and would swap mine out with it. She returned a moment later with a menu with certain items highlighted and little notes written on it for how to make something gluten-free (like no pita bread). She said there were some vegetarian options on there as well. It was nice to have that kind of peace of mind.
Cathy (the other one) and her sister arrived soon after and got settled in with drinks and menus. We talked and talked and talked and finally decided that we should probably order since we did have a concert to make. Anisa returned ready to take our orders.
Cathy (the roomie) ordered her standard, must-have, when it is on the menu. Fish and chips ($18.00). Jenn decided to try one of their small plates and ordered the Polenta Croutons ($8.00). The polenta croutons are cubes of fried polenta served with sauteed mushrooms, Parmesan and parsley. It was different and it looked really good. And Jenn even tried to eat the mushrooms…but in the end, they were left behind. The rest, however…she devoured. Cathy (the local) ordered the small plate of Mac and Cheese ($11.00), which was a rather big bowl of noodles, Gruyere cheese and chives. She got it with a side of the Brussels sprouts ($ Cathy’s sister, Sarah, ordered the small plate of Seared Scallops ($12.00), which consisted of two large scallops and was served with shaved Brussels sprouts with grapefruit and pomegranate. She got a side of the House Fries with it. As for me…I decided to go with a salad in the end. I chose to go with their Arugula Salad ($8.00) and, since it was marked gluten-free, give their House Fries ($7.00) a try.
Anisa went to put our orders in and for the rest of the time before food arrived, all of us were chatting up a storm. We talked movies, books, music, concerts, work…you name it. And conversation continued even when food arrived to the table. It took some time. I was okay with that. Again, I don’t mind having to wait on my food. It means that it is prepared fresh and to order. Not sitting under some heat lamp somewhere or getting to know a microwave.
My Arugula Salad was stunning, by the way. Simple. Very pleasing to the eye. Not a lot of color, but what was there popped. Deagan’s Arugula Salad consists of arugula, shaved fennel, Parmesan and pine nuts. It is lightly dressed in a lemon oil. Now, normally I find arugula to be too peppery on its own…but with the saltiness of the Parmesan and the pine nuts, it all balanced out. The lemon oil, however, is what really tied it all together. While the salad looked simple, the layers of flavor in there seemed complex. It all worked. It was fantastic and delicious. And I enjoyed it more than I normally enjoy a salad at restaurants. Honestly. This one was really good.
There were a lot of House Fries in my side order, so I shared with Jenn and Cathy (the roomie). They were fantastic cuts of potato that were topped with shaved Romano cheese and truffle oil. It was served with a spicy mayo. Oh. My. Potato. Gods. These fries were really good and really addictive. No joke. The simple addition of shaved Romano cheese and a hit of truffle oil just took them from standard fries to something that was out-of-this-world good. And different. The spicy mayo that it was served with was delicious and I took great pleasure in dipping my fries into them. Yeah…for a different twist on fries…I highly recommend these.
In the end, we all agreed that Deagan’s was the perfect place to end up when all was said and done. Our waitress took fantastic care of our table. We all enjoyed and devoured our food. Cathy (the local) had left over mac & cheese…which she took home in a box. There was a lot in that bowl they brought her. She and Sarah ended up splitting the special dessert of the night, a bread pudding with caramel and pear. It sounded divine…and looked it too.
Afterwards, we paid our checks and headed out. Cathy and her sister were heading back to her place. We had The Monkees to go and see. In the end, I am happy we ended up at Deagan’s. Sure…this meant I didn’t get my traditional gluten-free pizza the night before a big race (yeah…I was running a 15K the very next morning back down in Columbus, Ohio)…but I did get some carbs (thank you gluten-free House Fries) and had great company and amazing food. I’d go back to Deagan’s Kitchen & Bar in a heartbeat next time I’m in the area. Sometimes the best laid plans have to change to lead you to somewhere even better.