12387 Cedar Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
By Edward Sandwichhands
Ambiance is the word. Waterfalls, Japanese maples, lavender, well dressed Clevelanders, and sheer exuberance. When I first walked into Nighttown I was positive that I was at the wrong place. You just get the feeling that you’ve stumbled into a private party and you are underdressed. It was exactly like Wedding Crashers except for the fact that it was almost nothing like that and that movie is absolutely terrible.
The highlight of my meal had to be the bangers and mash. My guess is that these bangers and mash were better than any served in tyrannical England. The cabbage was not overcooked, the potatoes were well seasoned, and the sausage reminded me of breakfast at a greasy truck stop. The dish was extremely well presented with green onions and a light dressing that helped to sweeten the cabbage. I think the bangers and mash were so good that I was bound to be disappointed by my grilled chicken sandwich. Although adorned with Canadian bacon and Swiss cheese, the sandwich was boring. When a sandwich makes you excited to take another bite of your pickle you know something is wrong. If you go to Nighttown I recommend you go to check out the scenery. I promise waterfalls, waitresses wearing neckties on their heads, 30 something’s ignoring each other at lunch while they talk on their cell phones, and a bunch of people who dress better than the cast of CSI Miami.
By Beau Cadiyo
It sounds cheesy, but the hostess made the trip to our table sensuous. We followed her outside to the patio, past dividers and next to a small waterfall, framed by Japanese maples, lavender and hanging flowers, all the while swaying her hips and looking back in a way I thought was suggestive but Ed blew off as a normal reaction to his raw animal sexuality. After we sat down we realized that the average age of the other patrons hovered somewhere in the fifties, and except for us everyone was in at least khakis and a polo shirt. It was a quality establishment, and we expected the same from the sandwiches.
We ordered bangers and mash as an appetizer. Cabbage, mixed with green onions and a salty sauce, lay under two scoops of fluffy, delicate mashed potatoes, and two sausages leaned casually against the pile. The sausages were crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and willingly yielded to a very dull knife. We had to look at the menu to determine that the cabbage was not some exotic green. The potatoes were finely mashed and buttered and slid into my mouth, dissolving completely under pressure from my tongue.
I had the crab cake sandwich, which came with a side of fries and a pickle. The crab cake was served on an average bun, a zig-zag of some unidentifiable sauce spread on it. Two slices of tomato and a piece of lettuce lay unenthusiastically on the side. Biting into it, the crab cake squished apart; the bite mark left a window into interconnected crab fibers, reminding me of a summer spent near the docks in Maryland, watching Vietnamese immigrant women pull crabs apart to make patties. Entire, the pieces all formed a nice sandwich, but not a spectacular one, which I would have expected from the establishment. The waitress actually asked us if we wanted ketchup for our mediocre fries, and returned later with a slightly dusty unopened bottle of Heinz. Ed suggested that perhaps we were the only people to use ketchup in the entire establishment. It wasn't for my sandwiches, mind - it was for the fries, although in retrospect it might have done the crab cakes good. But we felt a bit like it was a blunder. Note to self: on job interviews, no sauces. Finally, the lack of coleslaw disappointed me.
Still, there’s something sexy about Nighttown. It’s not the hostess, really, or the waitress with the pink tie wrapped around her forehead and rouge on her cheeks, or the cougars one table over talking obnoxiously on their cell phones to other people and obviously reacting again to Ed’s animal magnetism. We were there on a late summer afternoon, but the club held the promise of dark evenings, smoky rooms, drinks, chatter and horns – magic, really. If only their sandwiches delivered as much.