Ninja City - Cleveland, OH
This restaurant and bar in the heart of Cleveland's University Circle neighborhood specializes in Pan-Asian and American street food.
Last fall, Caroline and I accompanied Stephen on a work trip out to Cleveland. It was the first time we had her in the car longer than a few hours, so the trip was definitely an adventure. Needless to say, the journey required making multiple stops (for feedings and diaper changes) and toughing it out through periods of less-than-ideal driving conditions.
After we checked into our hotel, we headed straight to Ninja City for some dinner... and something to take the edge off spending more than six hours in the car with an infant. I'm not going to lie... it felt a little strange rolling into the restaurant/bar with a stroller, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
One sip of my Dort took me right back to my graduate school days. And even though Caroline had started to fuss as soon as our drinks arrived (of course), increasing the need to make our meal a very quick one (naturally), I felt pretty chill, at ease, and seemingly unfazed by the sound of whining coming from the stroller.
Because I was hungry, I ordered one of the Little Bites to nibble on until my Big Bite was ready. And because guacamole was something I grew to love and appreciate while living in Cleveland, I couldn't turn down the chance to try their Bacon Guacamole ($3.00 with the Big Bite; $3.50 regularly) served with wonton crisps.
"Little Bite," indeed... I know it was meant to be a small portion, but I wasn't expecting it to be that small. Especially since I prefer to heap the guacamole onto whatever I'm eating it with.
Unfortunately, the flavor of the Bacon Guacamole did nothing to help diminish my disappointment in the portion size. The bacon was in there, for sure, but it didn't impart any of its saltiness, so I actually found the guacamole to be on the bland side.
Too bad, too... With the addition of bacon, there was potential for the guacamole to leave me wondering why I hadn't thought to put bacon in my guacamole at home.
Thankfully, my Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Beef ($9.95) saved the meal. The beef was tender and perfectly charred around the edges (flavor!) while the the rice noodles underneath still had the tiniest bit of a bite to them, making eating the salad a pleasurable experience. I loved how the cucumber, pickled carrot, and chopped peanuts added texture to the salad, and the sweet garlic vinaigrette tied everything together.
Though, with that having been said, I wouldn't have minded in the least if there was a touch of heat in the dish. Just to kick things up a little.
There were high points and low points, but, all in all, it was a pretty decent meal after spending the better part of the day in the car.
11311 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 860-0510 | Map
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