W sails in to port with sleek new look
By Cynthia Schuster-Eakin
Published Sept. 7, 2005
W, a Cleveland landmark restaurant for more than 40 years, returns
to port after undergoing a $3.5 million makeover. The 150-seat restaurant
has been closed since November to allow for the renovation.
12700 Lake Ave.
Major credit cards honored. Reservations recommended.
from the cabin of a pirate's ship, the interior of Pier W is now
reminiscent of an elegant luxury liner. From the expanded windows
to the cloud-like ceiling, every element of the restaurant has been
completely renovated. "Opinions of boat interiors have been ratcheted
up considerably because of the Europeans approach to designing,
building and sailing passenger ships," said Ronald Reed, principal
with Westlake Reed Leskosky, the Cleveland-based architecture firm
that headed up the renovation.
With location their prime consideration, the architecture firm chose
to summon the lake into the space using water as the main theme.
""Our interior design and choice of sophisticated materials is evocative
of water in various states," Reed said. Sections of glass in a watery
rippled texture are suspended from the ceiling to create a visual
divider between the wine cellar and the lounge. The blue floor is
meant to create a sense of flow with the lake. Seating has been
reconfigured so that every table enjoys a spectacular view. "Prior
to the makeover, the view was a surprise and was not totally available,"
Reed noted. Instead of descending into a dark interior, diners now
step into a glass elevator that lowers them past a salt water aquarium
to be greeted by a maitre d' standing at an ice-like station.
The transformation did not stop with the appearance of Pier W. During
the restaurant's reconstruction, Executive Chef Anthony Phenis worked
with world-renowned food consultant Tim Cushman to remake the menu
into a trend setting culinary presentation. Together, they created
seafood, meat and pasta dishes that have elements of classic French
style, infused with the flavors of Italy and the Pacific Rim. Menu
highlights include simply prepared fresh seafood. The kitchen even
boasts its own refrigerated fish cutting room to maintain freshness
and proper temperature. Chef Phenis recommends the Peekytoe crab
Louis appetizer with avocado and scallion oil ($9.50). Pier W serves
the true species of crab that can only be caught off the coast of
Other items on the appetizer menu include fish tacos prepared with
halibut, avocado, salsa and micro cilantro in a crisp wonton shell
($8.50), pan-seared blue lump crab cakes ($12) and fried calamari
served with a sweet and spicy tamarind dipping sauce ($9.50). Ahi
tuna and smoked salmon tartare ($9) is flavored with sesame seeds,
citrus aioli and yuzu, a Japanese fermented orange juice. Wood-roasted
heirloom beets are paired with goat cheese, aged balsamic vinegar
and dill oil ($8).
A new entree that has already emerged as a favorite is the Great
Lakes walleye Meyer lemon tempura ($24). Georges Banks cod is paired
with Portuguese chorizo sausage, mussels and clams ($24). Pappardele
pasta is enriched by the addition of chunks of fresh Maine lobster,
roasted red peppers, French green beans and a light cognac cream
sauce ($28). A 16-ounce prime center cut strip steak is served with
braised spinach, oven-roasted Yukon Gold potatoes and a red wine
sauce ($39). All entrees include Pier W's mesclun greens salad with
sesame soy vinaigrette dressing.
Chef Phenis, a 1997 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America,
became executive chef at Pier W in 2003. He has worked as a chef
at other restaurants in Chicago, Boston and Baltimore. "Everything
I've learned, practiced and envisioned during my career culminates
in the reopening of Pier W," he said. "I'm honored to be at the
helm kicking off another 40 years of incredible cuisine."
Pier W, located at 12700 Lake Avenue at Winton Place, is open for
dinner on Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday
and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight, and on Sunday from 5 p.m.
to 10 p.m. All major credit cards are honored. The restaurant is
wheelchair accessible. Phone (216) 228-2250 for recommended reservations.