“The music is loud, and the walls are covered with paintings of luchadores (Mexican wrestlers),” reads the text under the Hot Ten list of contemporary Mexican restaurants around the nation. “But there is nothing unruly about chef Eric Williams’ modern dishes, like seared sea scallops with hominy croqueta and jalapeno creamed corn.”
For Williams, the recognition is “absolutely just great.”
“Any mention in a national magazine is fine by me,” Williams said. “I think it’s outstanding – very excited, very proud and the staff is quite happy.”
Best of all, he added, “It’s another accolade for Cleveland.”
By the way, if you have yet to check out Momocho’s tequila dinners, the next one is March 19. It’s a great deal, a fun experience, and oh yeah – the food is amazing.
Crea also points out in the article that both Lola and Table 45 are on the preliminary list of nominees for James Beard Foundation Awards. This is the second year in a row Michael Symon’s Lola has been nominated. Good luck!
UPDATE: From Elaine Cicora over at C-Notes:
Checking in at 23 pages, the lengthy ballot of the nation’s top chefs and restaurants is only a preliminary document, from which Beard-appointed judges will chose a final five nominees in each of 19 categories. Those finalists will be announced on March 24. A winner in each category will be announced on Sunday, June 8, in a New York ceremony that’s just like the Oscars, only with a way better dessert bar.
If you doubt Cleveland’s growing culinary cred, take a look at rundown of local nominees …
Best Chef – Great Lakes Region: Zack Bruell (Table 45) and Michael Symon (Lola, Lolita). This marks the second consecutive year that Symon has been nominated. He reached the final round in 2007, before losing to Chicago chef Grant Achatz (Alinea).
Rising Star Chef (chefs age 30 or younger): Jonathan Sawyer (Bar Cento) and Cory Barrett (Lola).
Best New Restaurant: Dante (Valley View) and Table 45 (at the Cleveland Clinic).