Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Special Request: Cleveland-Heath's Broccolini Salad Dish Is 'Tall and Elegant'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Special Request: Cleveland-Heath's Broccolini Salad Dish Is 'Tall and Elegant'

Article excerpt

Q * I grew up in Edwardsville, so we chose Cleveland-Heath to celebrate my 75th birthday. I'd love to know how the broccolini is done. Peg Roedel, University City

A * Back in 2011, Jenny Cleveland and Eric "Ed" Heath had culinary school and top-restaurant experience on their resumes. They yearned for a restaurant of their own, but everything in California, Cleveland says, was "expensive and cutthroat." So the business- and life-partners considered moving to the Midwest, including near Bethalto, Cleveland's hometown. "When the Edwardsville space opened up, we moved here in like two weeks. Cleveland-Heath opened six weeks later."

Cleveland-Heath serves "upscale modern-American bar food," part of a growing movement to make food more approachable, casual and comfortable.

Even with seasonal menu changes, Cleveland-Heath has become famous for its pork belly (fried crispy and served with a savory caramel sauce); a pork porterhouse (a chop with an egg on top aside cheddar-jalapeo bread pudding) and pulled-pork sandwiches. Cleveland laughs, "I promise, we do a lot more than pork."

One example is the restaurant's attention to vegetables, no mere after-thoughts. Heath calls broccolini "tall and elegant." After a few seconds in a fryer, the stems turn creamy and the tips crispy. Still warm, the broccolini is tossed with fresh mint, cilantro and jalapeo in a Vietnamese dressing called nuoc cham (pronounced "nook chom") and topped with bits of crispy farro.

Heath says customers wonder what makes the salad so good and credits the oil-free nuoc cham, a mix of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic and ginger. "It's become the house dressing, it goes on every plate."

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Special Request is written by Kirkwood resident Alanna Kellogg, author of the online recipe column KitchenParade.com and "veggie evangelist" at the food blog about vegetables, A Veggie Venture. …

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