change of plans leads to sara’s place

I had big plans for yesterday. My husband and I both took the day off from work and were going to spend the day being tourists in our own city before we had to attend the ADDY awards in the evening (think Oscars for local advertising). We were going to check out the lunch tasting menu at Table 45, explore the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood (our friend owns the popular store, Room Service, and we’ve been wanting to check it out), tour the Pinnacle Building (not moving, but watched it being built when we lived downtown and curious to see the finished product), among other things. However, thanks to the bad weather early in the day, we had to put our play day in Cleveland temporarily on hold.

Since we still wanted to explore at least one thing new, we ended up slowly driving to Gates Mills for lunch at Sara’s Place, the fairly new restaurant by the people that own Gavi’s in Willoughby.

Admittedly, I was a little disappointed we were eating at Sara’s Place and not Table 45. I was curious to check it out, but the past few times we ate at Gavi’s we left disappointed (which is a contrast from when they first opened and I was a big fan).

Even though I was bummed the snow affected our original plans, it did make for an ideal backdrop to the restaurant. The entire street looked like a postcard, as much of Gates Mills does. I was expecting the inside to be very quaint and cozy, a perfect fit for its surroundings and beautiful exterior. While the interior had hints of coziness and was on the right track, something was missing. I liked the weathered hardwood floors, slate tile walls, slightly exposed kitchen and good use of windows. I’m not sure what it was, but the space lacked the warmth and charm I think the owners were going for.

For lunch, I ordered the chicken potpie (ideal given the weather) and Jamie had a cup of tomato bisque and hot turkey sandwich.

Jamie’s soup was good not great, although it tasted more like a bowl of marinara sauce instead of bisque. His sandwich, which he enjoyed but wasn’t wowed, was made with fresh roasted turkey that apparently is roasted every morning.

My potpie consisted of the basics – big chunks of chicken, peas, carrots, parsnips and celery in a thick chicken-based broth. What was unexpected was how it was served – in a deep bowl, crust less bottom with an oversized flaky square phyllo crust sitting loosely on top, making it healthier than its traditional counterpart. I really liked the presentation and this dish in general. It was flavorful, satisfying and the perfect antidote to the leap day weather.

Although we didn’t end up being tourists, it was still a nice day off. And while I really enjoyed my potpie, I’m not entirely sold on Sara’s Place and probably won’t be in a hurry to go back. Some things about the restaurant were good, but it wasn’t enough to fully win me over.


  1. maybellesmom
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    I have to say, I completely agree about Sara’s. My husband and I have given it a couple of tries. Their Sunday brunch was terrible–stupidly overly complicated. And as it was underattended, they don’t do it anymore. But, the lunch/ dinner menu isn’t bad, it just isn’t good. It was hard for us to figure out what is wrong, but we just have no desire to return. Interestingly, the last time we went was for my husbands birthday when there was a snow storm and we couldn’t really get to anywhere else.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted April 21, 2008 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    The chicken pot pie at Sara’s Place may have been an antidote to a snowy day, but it cannot be an “anecdote.”

  3. michelle v
    Posted April 25, 2008 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Yes, that is obviously what I meant. Thank you for taking the time to correct me…