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Bistro on main scallops
Grilled scallops, one of the top appetizers at Bistro On Main.
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Bistro on main bar
Nondescript on the outside, contemporary inside.
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Bistro on main asparagus breadsticks
The asparagus breadsticks.
When a storied local publisher first recruited me to Akron, he told me I was moving from California to a secret paradise. Even today, I am often pleased when I tell someone where I live, and they acknowledge the fact that we have some great restaurants in this, the hometown of several Fortune 500 corporations.
I have been fortunate to travel. I have seen some of the world, and many of its best places to get a good meal. I have seen the French Laundry in California under its original management and under the hand of Thomas Keller. I have tasted Charlie Trotter’s food in Chicago and Patrick O’Connell’s at the Inn at Little Washington. In Cleveland, I have had my share of Michael Symon and Parker Bosley. In other words, I think I know what I like, and what gets the attention of other “foodies”.
Bistro on Main is at 1313 West Main Street in Kent…really almost in Stow between Fishcreek Road and the auto mile. Brothers Aaron and Jason Ruggles opened about five years ago. Aaron is the executive chef while his wife Jennifer expertly runs the front of the house. Chef de cuisine Jason worked locally at the Inn at Turner’s Mill in Hudson. While Jason also worked at Piatto and other Akron restaurants, Aaron and Jennifer spent time in San Francisco and Arizona before returning to Kent.
The Ruggles say their cuisine is “rustic American”, and to me that translates into fresh local ingredients used imaginatively sometimes combined innovatively. We have tasted char grilled filet mignon with shepherd’s pie, broccolini with tomatoes and a Worcestershire glaze; braised Colorado lamb shank with roasted root vegetables, Parmesan mashed potato and orange-mint glaze; lemon pepper and rosemary chicken with garlic mashers and quickly sautéed vegetables; herb crusted pork tenderloin with baked green beans and fingerling potato sauced with a cherry-pinot noir reduction; and a seared monk-fish special served with grilled artichoke hearts, fried spinach leaves (wonderfully crisp, not greasy), on tri-colored orzo.
I tend to judge restaurants by soups and starters. Bistro on Main has some stars including an excellent tomato bisque, asparagus breadsticks (!) with a white cheddar-jalapeno dip, and pan-seared scallops on butternut squash risotto with sage brown butter sauce. This stuff sounds good just writing about it!
A restaurant experience is also more than the food. It is ambiance and service. The Bistro on Main also excels at both. The lounge bar area serves up great Martinis at fair prices, and is an informal dining room. The formal dining area is perfect for the upscale luxury experience, and the menu and prices are the same in both rooms. Prices are contemporary ranging from $14 to $31 for dinner entrees, quite a bit less at lunch.
Here's a link to the web site: www.bistrokent.com/