Thursday, January 5, 2012

Flour Rustic Italian Kitchen in Moreland Hills

After being open now for several months and with new head Chef Matthew Mytro at the helm, we decided to check out Flour Restaurant in Moreland Hills.
With so many menu choices, we decided to do dinner a little differently tonight.  Flour offers you two choices in size for the past and entrees. Instead of getting a single full dish, we each decided to each get two halves, which would allow us to try more food.

My fiancee's first choice was the Local Greens salad.  In addition to the fresh local greens it came topped with radish, carrots, tomato, baby cucumber and a roasted shallot vinaigrette. The baby cucumbers were perfect size for the salad and the salad dressing was very refreshing.
I picked one of the three specials for my first choice.  It was black pepper papardelle, served with preserved tomatoes, quail confit, roasted parsnips, and a chestnut cream sauce.  The pasta was cooked perfectly, and the richness from the chestnut cream sauce paired perfectly with the quail confit. I also loved how the tomatoes added a contrasting flavor of sweetness.  The last tasting note that I took away from this dish was how the chestnuts were used two ways.  Not only were they cooked down in the cream sauce, but they were also used in their raw state. I thought this was a smart use because it added a little more texture to the soft pasta and quail.   I would order this dish again, and I'd probably order the full because it was so tasty.  Finally, even the half size of this dish was pretty substantial because this style of pasta is very filling.
For my fiancee's second dish she ordered the half portion of the Pumpkin Risotto.  This risotto came with roasted Ohio pumpkin, thyme, cinnamon, and clove. The pumpkin flavor was very mild but married well with the creaminess of the risotto. The risotto was garnished with roasted pumpkin seeds which added great texture.
For my second dish, I decided to try one of the wood fired pizzas. I love crispy wood fired Italian style pizza, so I picked the Romana. This pizza came with crushed tomato, garlic, kalamata olives, chili flakes, and anchovy oil.  The first thing I always look at when I get a pizza like this is the crust.  The outside part of this crust was cooked well, but the middle half under all of the toppings still could have used a bit more cooking because it was not crispy enough.  (Edit: To clarify this statement, the center should be softer than the outside in this style of pizza, but the center still needed a few more additional minutes of cooking.)  I enjoyed the contrast in flavors between the olives and the somewhat spicy chili flakes, but the anchovy oil didn't do much to add to the flavor.  I also noticed that the sauce and tomatoes were so much in the background compared to the other flavors they were almost tasteless.  This wasn't a bad pizza, but I was expecting an even, crispy crust with more well balanced flavors.
Overall, three out of the four dishes we ordered were very good.  My fiancee had a good overall meal and I was extremely happy with my pasta dish.  We will go back to Flour based on these three good dishes, and I will order another pizza to compare with this experience. 

Flour offers a full service bar with an extensive wine list.   Wine by the glass starts at $7.00 and bottles start at $30.  They also offered just a few craft beer options.  When we visited there were four draft options available. Great Lakes Dortmunder and Christmas Ale were on tap along with Thirsty Dog Old LegHumper Porter and Labrador Lager.  Outside of these choices they had a few standard Italian beers such as Moretti and Peroni. 

Atmosphere and Service
The look of Flour is very modern and sort of a shock for a rustic Italian kitchen concept.  It was not what I expected at all in terms of design, but it was a very inviting space.  I really liked how the kitchen was an open concept for the customers to see.  There was even seating that would allow almost a chefs table experience. Our service for the evening was average at best. Our waitress seemed to be just going through the motions and really didn't want to offer up any solid opinions even when we asked her.  In fact, at one point when we asked her what some of the most popular dishes were she responded with "It is hard to say because we just opened 8 months ago."  To me, in 8 months a restaurant and the servers have a very good idea what is popular, and she should have been able to offer up some information when we asked her.  The food did come out in a very timely fashion, but it took her quite a while to check to see how our food was and if there were any problems.  Overall, I'd expect a higher level of knowledge about the menu, and more willingness to offer suggestions at a restaurant like this.  We'll likely go back because most of our food was good, and I'd like to see if our experience is the same or better than this time.

Flour on Urbanspoon


Crystal @EatDrinkClev said...

The pasta with chestnuts and quail sounds fantastic! I'm looking forward to returning since the chef change is official now. When I went, it was right at the transition point and I know the menu has changed since then. I loved it when I went and it sounds like they have some interesting new dishes to try. I look forward to doing a Flour review part 2!

Heidi Robb said...

I'm a huge fan of the pizza at Flour. And what you described are characteristics of a true Neapolitan pizza - crispy at the edges with a softer, more pliable center.

Journeyman Cook said...

Nice review, Brad. Renee and I have eaten at Flour and enjoyed it very much. The food and wines were exceptional and our server was very knowledgeable about the menu, pairings, and recommendations on dishes. Definitely worth a return visit.

Brad said...

Heidi, I totally agreew with you! It was hard to describe the texture of the center. I should have written it as slightly undercooked instead of saying "not crispy". Another 1-2 more minutes in the oven would have left it perfectly pliable with just a hint of texture to stand up to the toppings.

I miss my grandmother making fresh Neapolitan Pizza fresh for us every week. Being 89 years old now, she just can't do it anymore.

Renee said...

I've been looking forward to Flour ever since Heidi first posted photos of their pizzas! I tried to visit once, but arrived just as the lunch service was ending and at that time they closed in the afternoon.

Chestnut cream sauce? This review just sent Flour back to the top of my list. I cannot wait to eat there! (I'll thank you after I visit!)

Alicia at Poise in Parma said...

That salad has my name all over it. Everything looks great in terms of food, but I've heard the similar though on the restaurant's decor considering it is supposed to be rustic Italian. Not sure if going so far in the modern direction was the best.

I've driven by that corner plenty of times but I've just heard a lot of mixed review about it. I think with this review, I just might have to make a stop for a meal soon. Thanks again for your honest reviews!

Stephanie Hovan said...

Cannot wait to check out Flour, especially since Mytro took over


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