bar symon (will travel for food)

After patiently waiting to try Michael Symon’s latest eatery, Bar Symon, we decided to try it tonight for Jamie’s birthday.

Situated in Avon Lake, it’s about a 40 minute drive. The distance doesn’t phase us since we easily lose track of time playing the best real money gambling games at I also have two sisters that live out that way so I’m used to the trip, plus we’ll gladly travel for good food.

First, the decor. I’ve said it before: Those Symons have good taste. Situated in a strip mall, there is nothing strip mall-ish about this restaurant. Upon entering, you are greeted by lots of school house lights (a personal favorite), a never-ending bar donned with countless beer choices on tap plus a stainless steel counter and a mix of stone tiles and barn-wood siding. All of which help make this American Brasserie very casual and cool (the glass along the back with etched pigs is a fun element, too). It’s quite a contrast from Symon’s other restaurants, which are much more cozy, sophisticated and warm overall. But for this type of establishment it works, and works well. The only thing I miss which is consistent in his other Ohio restaurants, is the open kitchen (it’s a bit odd knowing the very talented and friendly chef Matt Harlan was in the back and we couldn’t see him,  like we were used to at Lolita).

The bulk of the menu centers around a wood-fire grill (its aromas greet you from the parking lot). Since it was his birthday, Jamie decided to indulge and try the fried organic chicken with truffle honey and rosemary. I opted for a bit of everything, including one goat taco, one duck confit slider with cilantro, pickled carrot and spicy mayo, the famous fried Brussels sprouts and a single order of the pork and fennel grilled sausage.

As Jamie put it, the fried chicken was the best he’s ever had – even better than his moms. And he was equally as happy with the creamed corn, which was super fresh and quite flavorful (though he felt it could have used a bit more bacon).

As for mine, I couldn’t have been happier. The  goat taco, a Tuesday night regular special, was wonderful – I practically inhaled it. Great pairing with all the cilantro. The duck confit slider was equally as satisfying. In fact next time, I’m ordering two. As for the sprouts, that classic Symon side dish, is always consistently good.

The only dish I wasn’t overly wowed with was the pork and fennel sausage. I enjoyed the presentation and accompaniments (three different mustards and grilled sourdough bread) but wasn’t impressed with the sausage itself. I ended taking the majority home.

Despite a freezer filled with Jeni’s Ice Creams (sweet corn might be a new fav), we couldn’t resist the molten chocolate cake. Decadent, rich and the perfect temperature.

One other thing worth noting – the menu is ridiculously reasonable, even more so than Lolita. Our total bill was $44! I even did a double take. And to round it all off was wonderful service – from everyone. Prompt, friendly, knowledgeable and pleasant all around. And if you happen to have little diners like us, incredibly accommodating for families.

Speaking of little diners, our trip to Bar Symon tonight now completes Natalie’s tour de Symon. At just 8 months old, she’s been to all of his Ohio restaurants. And if Jamie has his way, we’ll be heading to Roast soon, by way of a quick stop at the casino.


  1. Posted September 1, 2009 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    I can’t wait to go back.

  2. Steve
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Hi Michelle, Julie and I are going to Detroit this weekend for the annual Jazz Festival. Roast is on the schedule for Saturday night with 8 of our closest friends. Should be great, and we plan on hitting Bar Symon soon. The jazz fest is in it’s 30th year and we have only missed two.