Night on the Town: Pickwick and Frolic

Think crepes are just for breakfast? I did, and boy was I wrong.
Last night I finally had the pleasure of dining at Pickwick and Frolic on East 4th Street, downtown Cleveland, where my boyfriend serves and bartends. For a year, I’ve been listening to him rave about the scallops, so it was about time I put Pickwick’s food to the test, objectively, as someone who doesn’t receive a paycheck from them.
We started with the Caprese Salad, a starter that looks too pretty to eat. Slices of melt-in-your-mouth beets, fresh red and yellow heirloom tomatoes, and crispy-gooey fried mozzarella are layered atop a bed of greens and drizzled with EVOO and a balsamic reduction. The only bad thing is that it’s not big enough — I’d like a whole plateful of the fried mozzarella slices, please.
Then, much faster than I expected, our entrees were delivered. The Pan-Seared Diver Sea Scallops are seared to plump perfection, but what makes them delectable is the lemon-chive Beurre Blanc sauce. Really, I want to drink it. Another nice presentation, too, with the scallops arranged in a ring around a mound of orzo pilaf topped with spinach.
He ordered (and I tasted) the Tuscan Chicken, the closest thing to a French dish on Pickwick’s rustic menu. The meat rests on top of two crepes stuffed with ricotta cheese and lavender, and that’s all topped off with a “rustic floral” tomato concasse sauce. I know, it seems like that game on Sesame Street: “Which of these does not belong?” I never would have thought to pair lavender-cheese crepes with a tomato-based chicken dish, but it works — quite well. It’s a nice, light floral accent to balance out the hearty tomatoes.  
I know I was supposed to be blown away by the scallops — and I was — but it’s those crepes I keep thinking about.
All in all, a terrifically delicious meal in a luxurious environment. Pickwick has a lot to offer, far beyond the excellent food. The Pickwick part is the actual restaurant, and then there’s also Frolic Cabaret, The Champagne Bar, Kevin’s Martini Bar, and Hilarities 4th Street Theatre — all in one building.The establishment suffers from a bit of an identity crisis, with each room claiming its own brand, but it’s in a good way — like if each of your multiple personalities was a beautiful, rich celebrity each with a distinct taste in alcohol and humor. Every room has a retro film noir feel, making it seem like a club that would be better suited for Hollywood than Cleveland. What better way to spend a night on the town than treating yourself to a magnificent dinner followed by a comedy show at Hilarities?
We ended the evening in loge seats for Adam Ferrara’s show. I can’t say that I watch him on either “Rescue Me” (Denis Leary frightens me) or “Top Gear” (I don’t care about cars), but I will say he was quite funny. I felt like I really got to know him during the show because of the personal family stories he told, often pausing for very serious moments to reflect on his father’s death or how much he loves his wife. A good blend of humor and poignancy, and a good way to end a great night.

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