It was date night and I took the reins. The Mr loves seafood, but rarely do we enjoy it together. It’s rare due to my lack of love for seafood. I enjoy seafood in the fried form and in the way earls prepared it form, but rarely do I select a seafood restaurant due to the lack of non-seafood on the menu. Last night was an exception. I had heard Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend was delicious, I had heard The Yard was a fun spot to frequent, I’d heard nothing but good things. After looking up Cleo’s and finding out it was a Fox Restaurant Concept as well as a seafood spot, I was sold.
The Mr and I have enjoyed, more often than not, most all Fox Restaurant Concepts. Pair that with fresh seafood, a hip setting and the love of my life… It was a great time.
Friends… Here is how the experience goes down… First, as you are entering The Yard, there is a bit of a confusing set-up as the host/hostess stand for Culinary Dropout sits within the walkway. This stand is not needed to enjoy and dine at Little Cleo’s. Walk past it, turn right and you’ll find the Little Cleo’s host/hostess stand to your right. The restaurant is quite small, quaint rather. The seating arrangements are also unique as there is limited seating. Tables of four are pulled apart creating tables of two, making for a very cozy setting. At first we attempted to enjoy the close company of another couple, but requested that we don’t sit on top of them and rather have our own four top. We saw multiple couples attempt and request a move as well. I understand the idea behind the seating arrangement, more will fit with the limited room, for us, it was just too cozy.
Beyond getting to the host stand and finding the perfect seat… the evening was perfect. The decor is charming. White subway tiles, nautical themed accents, an open kitchen and a view of the oyster bar. It was lovely lovely lovely. The menu is simple and clean. Drink options are listed on one side of the menu, while, with a simple flip of the menu, food occupies the other. Both of us ordered a cold beer; Mr had a Coors Light, while I quenched my thirst with Anchor Steam. We poured over the menu and asked our server for support. He was kind enough to explain nearly every detail of the menu. Quite honestly, I secretly think he heard the Mr and me joking about foods… I had tried fried frog legs and grilled octopus before and didn’t quite love the experience. I think our server over-heard our banter about “my favorites” and took it as truth, he romanced the heck out of those frog legs and that octopus.
After the detailed explanation of nearly everything, we agreed on starting slow and exploring the menu. Our first course included Oysters on the Half Shell, Sweet Corn Hush Puppies & a Warm Jar of King Crab with Butter and Grilled Bread. It was an incredible start to our seafood journey. Delicate oysters with bold cocktail sauce and a butter cream sauce to compliment. A cute mason jar filled with rich crab and melted butter with crusted bread. Oh the dipping and dousing of butter I enjoyed. And sweet corn hush puppies with a creamy, yet slightly spicy dipping sauce. It was small plate magic.
Course two was again, a simple assortment. We selected “bacon & eggs”, peel and eat shrimp and bloomsdale spinach. “Bacon & Eggs” was toast spread with creme fraiche topped with cured sturgeon and an egg over medium. Sturgeon cured tastes much like a slice of canadian bacon, grilled crisp and a bit more salty. Peel and eat shrimp was typical, but refreshing. And the spinach was al dente, cooked to perfection. At this stage of the coursing we agreed we were satisfied. Full to content, not over done, yet incredibly pleased with our selections. The Mr and I make it a habit to enjoy dessert with our dinners more often than not and this evening was no exception. I ordered the Blackberry Rhubarb Tart as it seemed like the best option. Rhubarb tarts sure do sound refreshing in this summer heat. It was indeed refreshing, quite tart, with a greek yogurt whip and an incredible shortbread crust.
Delicious… Simply delicious was our meal. We enjoyed the charming surroundings, the cool environment, the hipster servers and the incredible food. It is tradition that while we dine and explore, I evaluate that which I “someday” want in our dream home. I take photos and capture details in order for us to review and include in our future. As mentioned, Little Cleo’s is located at The Yard, so exploring was a must and inevitable. After dinner was complete, we took a stroll through “The Yard”, spying on the games of ping pong and foosball, as well as corn hole and shuffle board. We walked the outdoor patio scene and through Culinary Dropout. The crowds seem a bit more hip at Culinary, but the fun surely exists outdoors.
A couple snap shots of that which I would love in our dream home. A patio with a fire pit/patio table to congregate around, enjoy a drink or two and engage in friendly banter. The couches, the parlor chairs (pictured in the Yard Rule snap shot), the wood tables and the metal table chairs all have a place in my future home. I love the idea of making the outdoors feel and visually appear like an extension of the living room. The garage doors pictured in the second snap shot of this little post are also a must. I am not entirely certain if I want full garage doors that turn the living room into an indoor/outdoor space or if I want garage doors that create an indoor/outdoor dining and bar area, all I do know is that floor to ceiling windows that bringing the outdoors in inspire me. We will decide as we design. And finally the cool lighting in the final image. The Mr LOVES lighting, all kinds and styles and types. He loves lighting, lamps and LED and chandeliers and fire pits and backlit wall art… He loves it all and anytime I see lighting that inspires me, I know it will inspire his love for lighting, it’s a must to capture, document and decide on later.
Saturday was a lovely adventure exploring something new. We had a lovely time indulging in our seafood delight, in our foodie adventures and we have agreed The Yard will get a second visit, maybe even a third or fourth.
*** Please note: we are not snobby diners, however, in the vein of being honest and preparing readers for an experience, I included the few oddities we encountered.