Report Card: House of Blues

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Crossroads at House of Blues on Urbanspoon

www.houseofblues.com

Overall GrubGrade B

 

The Breakdown:

Atmosphere:  Grade A-:  Conjure up in your mind what you think a bar/restaurant named House of Blues should look like.  Do you have a picture?  Okay, that is exactly what the House of Blues in Cleveland looks like.  This is definitely a rock n’ roll establishment.  The interior is decked out in rock n’ roll memorabilia, and the outside was basically a street party.  We initially thought we would have to wait a while for a table, but there was plenty of seating available inside (it would appear as though the rest of the Cleveland natives preferred to eat outside).  We generally do not take outside tables, as we prefer not to share our meal with the various critters and crawly things that are always hanging around outdoors.  The inside was clean and relatively quiet, but one could imagine how loud it would get with a band playing on the stage or if the outdoor partiers decided to move inside.  As it was, we had a pleasant atmosphere in which to dine.

High marks:  Clean, neat rock n’ roll décor

Low marks:   Crazy busy outside (not necessarily a bad thing, but it made the entrance a little difficult to find)

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Service:  Grade B-:  This would have been an “A,” as our server did a really good job of keeping us flush with drinks and eats, but he made one minor mistake:  he forgot our appetizer.  We really didn’t mind that much, since we were tossing back the drinks like we were at a frat party, but it was a mistake and should be treated as such.   We eventually got the appetizer, but it came way too close to our entrée, and I had to keep shooting the server looks until he figured out what was wrong.  Otherwise, the meal progressed nicely.  We had minimal waits for drink refills and entrees.   Our server was friendly, but not over the top in his engagement of us.

High marks:  Minimal waiting for drinks and food

Low marks:   Forgot appetizer

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Food/Spirits:  Grade B:  When we visit out of town restaurants, we generally do not visit the same place twice.  Let’s face it, how many of you want us to give you multiple versions of the same report card for the same restaurant?  However, we occasionally stumble upon a place that makes us return for a second look (see Jeff Ruby report card).  In the case of House of Blues, our reason for returning the following day was their drink menu.  I can get by on beer, but like to explore mixed drinks as long as they’re butch enough to make me not want to break out into It’s Raining Men when I take the first sip. Katina, on the other hand, is a little more difficult to please (you married men know exactly what I mean).  So, when we find a place that has multiple mixed drinks or cocktails that she wants to try, we are on to something special.  Katina started with a Bluesmobile and finished with a Peach Lemonade.  She found the Bluesmobile to be fruity and mild, and the Peach Lemonade to be stronger and less smooth.  She did, however, drain both drinks.  I had something called a Painkiller, which was really smooth and tropical tasting.  It reminded me of the Yellow Birds that I continuously drank on a cruise I took a long time ago.  It must have had a pretty good punch, because I cannot for the life of me remember what else I drank, but believe me when I tell you that Katina did NOT outdrink me.  I just can’t remember….really.  For our late appetizer, we had the Voodoo Shrimp, which tasted far better than the description.  We really couldn’t figure out how Jalapeno cornbread was supposed to work, but it did.  It was quite tasty.  For entrees, Katina had the Lobster Mac N’ Cheese.  She felt it was good, but compared it to Eddie Merlot’s Lobster Mac N’ Cheese and thought it fell short.  But that’s not surprising since Eddie Merlot’s is an upscale steakhouse and House of Blues is a rock n’ roll bar/restaurant.  The fact that she even thought to compare them should be a compliment to House of Blues.  I had a burger called the Heatseeker, which was delicious.  The only flaw with the dish was the buffalo sauce that came with the burger was a little sparse.  Other than that, the burger was quite tasty.

High marks:  Good Lobster Mac, excellent burger, diverse and delicious mixed drinks

Low marks:  Too stingy on buffalo sauce

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Value:  Grade B+:  We left House of Blues with full tummies and slightly elevated blood alcohol levels.  While the price might have been slightly more than typical for this type of establishment, we though the pricing was fair based on the variety and quality of the food and drinks that were offered.  If you hit Cleveland for an Indians game or to visit the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame, don’t consider the experience complete until you swing by the House of Blues for some grub.

High marks:  Fairly generous portion sizes, great variety and quality

Low marks:  Can be pricier than expected, especially when you add some adult beverages to the bill

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