Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

December 12, 2014 11:53 AM

Restaurant: Giovanni Ristorante

Giovanni Ristorante

25550 Chagrin Boulevard
Beechwood, Ohio 44123
I went to this restaurant for lunch with Debbie, Chris and William.

As you enter the restaurant the reception desk is straight ahead, immediately inside the front door. To the right is a private dining room that seats 16 people. The walls are lined with filled wine racks. Directly to the left are a series of tables seating various numbers of people. The tables wrap around a U-shaped bar with high stools that seats about 14 people. At the end of a corridor to the right of the reception desk there is a large dining room with tables that seat 2s, 4s, 6s, and at least one eight.

Debbie had made a reservation for a table in the bar area. The hostess suggested we not go to the left because it tended to be noisy, especially because the first table was occupied by a group of men who would likely by there for a while, playing cards and talking loudly. (As we left after our lunch, they were in fact playing dollar bill poker, otherwise known as liar's poker. If you are unfamiliar with the game, check Wikipedia for a description.)

Our table ended up at the opposite end of the bar, against the wall.

The restaurant is interesting for a number of reasons besides the food. Most of the guests appeared to be regulars. And, there was a whole lot of kissing going on between the manger and serving people and the guests, particularly those seated at the bar.

The serving person who had our table was as good as any we have experienced. She took our order and the orders for several other tables at the same time without taking a single note. The order delivered, including mine which included a variety of changes from descriptions on the menu, was exactly correct. She could not have been more welcoming and pleasant.

The lunch menu included a separate menu of specials for the day and a printed menu of 8 antipasti, 8 insalata, 5 pasta, 7 second and 2 panini.

Chris selected the Trio of Composed Salad; a tasting of our lobster salad, chicken salad, and Swiss chard. Debbie opted for Giovanni's gyro; house made gyro, iceberg, tomato, red onion, cucumber, local black pepper feta, made to order pita, thrice cooked fries.

William had Ohio Amish chicken parmigiano, capellini, slow roasted marinara, bruleed fontina. I selected the pickled beets, chefs garden greens, lemon-basil vinaigrette (sans the goat cheese that is otherwise included). The pickled beets were the best I have ever eaten. I followed the beets with a classic BLT! House-cured Berkshire pork bacon, iceberg lettuce, house brioche, house mayo (sans the heirloom tomato).

The restrooms are outside the restaurant in the building in which the restaurant resides. For whatever the reason the men’s and women’s restrooms are at opposite ends of the restaurant.

As you enter the men’s room, immediately to the right are two black ceramic washbasins in a great figured marble top. To the left are two completely enclosed commode rooms with louvered dark wood doors. Further ahead on the right are two black ceramic, hanging urinals without any form of divider between them. The floor is covered with large grey figured tiles as well as large white tiles around the edges. The walls are covered with black figured tiles.

There is plenty of parking in the lot around the building.

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