out to lunch

The question of where to have lunch is a simple one, or so you would think. The majority of the time, people are working and can only spare an hour. But that doesn’t mean lunch should be something you settle for, or worse, through a drive-thru.

Most days I bring my lunch in, or grab takeout from Pacific East (you can’t beat two rolls, soup and salad for $8). But when I go out, I like to have options. And when I have flexibility with my schedule, I like to head downtown, or at least beyond a five-mile radius of my office

Here are three good choices for lunch:

I first went to Umami last month for Metromix. I was so impressed, I went back last week with a coworker for lunch. It’s a good choice for lunch – the service is quick, it’s quiet so we could work and the food is good, really good.

We shared the Umami roll, with ahi tuna, whit tuna, shiitake and tobiko. Then I had the miso soup with crab and black pepper shrimp with lemongrass and papaya. Needless to say this was too much food, but everything, just like my first meal there, was incredibly fresh and delicious. The giant bowl of soup could have been a meal all its own and wins easily for best miso soup. The roll was rolled super tight and with such precision, it impressed us both.

Crop Bisto
Last week the dining editor at Cleveland Magazine suggested we meet for lunch. I’ve been writing for them for over two years now, and it was nice to finally put a face to a name. When she asked where I wanted to meet, I suggested Crop.

I like Crop for lunch when I’m downtown. It’s a good menu, good location and I always luck out with street parking (and thankfully, thanks to the Indians’ game today, there were no cops around to give me a ticket when the meter ran out).

I had the carrot soup with ginger topped with sesame creme fraiche and the Caesar with shrimp and corn bread croutons.

The soup was pretty good, although not as good as I anticipated. It had good carrot flavor with just a hint of ginger, but was a little spicier than I expected – almost a little too much heat. The salad was enjoyable – nice sized shrimp, great dressing and the best part – the croutons! I loved the fact that they were corn bread and wanted more.

I’ve written many times about Parallax and how much I enjoy this restaurant. Now, you can enjoy it during the day because after five years in business, the restaurant is now open for lunch. I first learned of this this morning via my friend Kyle, then through Zack’s friendly PR person.

The majority of items are under $10 and include entrees like blue cod with black garlic vinaigrette, tempura fried chicken with mashed potatoes, braised pork belly with Szechuan sauce, sushi, salads and even a chili dog and Parallax burger.

Another first for the restaurant – happy hour. Parallax is finally on the early bird bandwagon offering 10 menu choices for under $8


  1. Girl About Cleveland
    Posted May 13, 2009 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I remembered you mentioning Umami and we actually got to take a look at the menu when in Chagrin Falls last weekend.

    We definitely want to go there!

    I still have so much love for L’Albatros so I’m also trying to get to Parallax.

    Thank you so much for the suggestions!

  2. Ryan
    Posted May 14, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Which Pacific East do you frequent? I work at Eton so having their Chagrin location right down the elevator from my office is very convenient. I tend to eat there once a week, but other days I’m a Trader Joe’s DIY luncher.

    I’ve been to Parallax and had Crop’s food at an event. Both are very good. I’ll have to check out Umami.