Scenic outdoor dining is difficult to come by in our neck of the woods, but it does exist. And although the patio at Ken Stewart’s Lodge is located alongside the parking lot near Cleveland-Massillon Road, the vine-covered stone walls surrounding the patio and the log beams overhead create a more secluded atmosphere that is an extension of the restaurant’s rustic interior. The outdoor fireplace also adds ambiance (and a bit of warmth for cooler nights), as do the heaters scattered in between tables.
Unlike Ken Stewart’s Grille, which has a more cosmopolitan feel, the Lodge features rustic but elegant touches (both indoors and out), including lighted branches, canoes, mounted animals and other accessories that make this restaurant look like an authentic Adirondack lodge. The décor is spectacular, but it’s really the food that takes center stage. And with a list more than 600 wines to sample, you’ll never lack the perfect complement for your dish.
During our visit, we sipped a 2005 Larochette Manciat, Domaine Pouilly-Fuisse Les Petites Bruyeres Chardonnay, which Parry Girves, Ken Stewart’s business partner at the Lodge, informed us was the favorite wine of Jackie Kennedy. With its balanced fruit flavors and light, clean finish, it’s not difficult to understand why.
The French white pairs well with seafood, so it only seemed right that we try the king crab cocktail — four of the largest, meatiest crab legs I’ve seen in my life, served over ice in an oversized martini glass with lemon wedges and a side of cocktail sauce. Be forewarned, however, that shellfish of this magnitude requires a bib. Thankfully, our experienced server, Julie, was kind enough to provide cloth napkins that blended well with our outfits.
Next we sampled the French onion soup, with a rich, dark broth, and the creamy tomato soup, which is topped with phyllo pastry and baked in a crock. Slices of homemade French baguette were the perfect accompaniment to these hearty soups.
For our entrees, we shared two dishes: New York strip steak salad and Japanese shrimp. With slices of cooked-to-order steak served over field greens and tossed with blue cheese, grape tomatoes and a balsamic glaze, this is not a salad for wimps. The Japanese shrimp features three jumbo shrimp wrapped in shredded phyllo dough, flash fried and served with Asian slaw and a soy glaze. Because of the airy nature of phyllo dough, the shrimp wasn’t as heavy as most fried fish, and the flavors of the dish meld together nicely.
Each course was sinfully good, and I’m already perplexed about what to order on my next visit. Do I go with one of the dishes I’ve already fallen in love with? Or do I venture out and try one of the many other entrees that caught my eye while I perused the menu? I’ll deal with that difficult decision when the time comes, I suppose. But one choice has already been made, and that’s what to order for dessert.
You can’t visit Ken Stewart’s Lodge without trying the s’mores. I know you’re thinking, “What’s so special about s’mores?” But trust me, they’re special here. Imagine sitting out on the patio, fireplace blazing, just after the sun has gone down. You’ve finished a delightful meal, and the only thing missing is the taste of something sweet. Just then, your server brings you a platter of graham crackers, hot fudge and marshmallows to roast at the table over your own little cast-iron pot of fire. It’s fun, it’s interactive and it’s completely decadent — the perfect ending to a delicious dinner under the moonlight.
Located at 1911 N. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Ken Stewart’s Lodge is open for lunch Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to
4 p.m. Dinner hours are Monday through Thursday, 5-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5-11 p.m.; and Sunday, 5-9 p.m. For reservations, call 330-666-8881