Greatroom, Great Food: A Delicious Date Night at Our Wedding Hotel

Thursday, February 28, 2019


A new report says downtown Cleveland hotel occupancy was higher in 2018 than in either 2017 or 2018 (the year of the Republican National Convention), & while that's great news, 2017 was my personal favorite year for staying downtown... because of our wedding, of course!

Mike & I, along with our wedding party & most of our out-of-town guests, stayed in the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center, which is is literally attached to/part of the Key Bank building (one of the city's noteworthy skyline buildings). The Marriott was really easy to work with in advance, the rooms were nice (including our bridal suite), & our guests after-partied pretty hard at the hotel bar after formal wedding festivities had concluded. 

We even took our family wedding photos there. Just look at that brightly colored carpet! 


While the carpet turned out fine in the photos (I even kind of liked it!), we definitely wanted to check out the newly renovated Key Marriott, which we were told no longer boasted such bold colors. When we were invited to check out The Greatroom, the restaurant's new bar & restaurant concept, it seemed like the perfect time to see what the "new" Key Marriott is about. 

The Greatroom is situated right in the middle of the newly renovated lobby - but it's a full-service bar & restaurant, open to the public. Because it's smack in the middle of downtown Cleveland, it's an ideal location for drinks or dinner either before or after a big game, a concert, or just because. It would also be a cute spot for a date - including a first date, if you want to eat someplace nice that doesn't cost an arm & a leg or feel awkwardly fancy. 

Look! No more red, orange, or yellow carpet! Damn, would've looked great in wedding photos... 


We were treated to a tasting menu courtesy of the Greatroom & its chefs, executive Chef Joseph Dubbs & Executive Sous Chef Daniel Jira. They've both been with various Marriotts before, but they're new to this one - & they're both originally from Cleveland! Both chefs says they're glad to be back in the CLE & providing a new level of culinary service at the Key Marriott.

The menu proved that they know exactly what they're doing - & they're damn good at it, too.

We started with champagne & cocktails, including a bourbon drink whose name I can no longer recall. I'll just say that it was strong & that it made me happy. (The two were not unrelated.)

First course was an amuse-bouche that Mike declared "the best appetizer I've had in a long time." Sometimes the texture of tartare squicks me out, but this was a perfect balance of crunchy & complex & umami. I'd eat an entire plate of these, if made available to me. Just sayin'.


I've become a stan for Brussels sprouts, which is such an annoyingly millennial foodie thing to say, but damn, this was a great version of them. Hickory-glazed & topped with chopped walnuts & large slices of Parmesan, they were appropriately sweet & savory, & they felt healthy but, you know, not too healthy. Just the way I like it. 


For dinner, Mike, who was following some Keto/Whole30 hybrid, chose the veal short-rib. It was barely on the bone, the meat so tender that it slid right off. Beneath it was a roasted veggie chili; atop it was a pumpkin seed gremolata. And all of it went into my happy husband's stomach. 


I didn't feel like going healthy, so I went with the open-faced chicken paprikash sandwich. How could I turn down such a creative & quintessentially Cleveland dish? I've loved chicken paprikash since first trying it at my college boyfriend's parents' house.

While his mom still makes the tastiest version I've ever had, I loved this fun take on such a delicious dish. It came with melted muenster cheese, frizzled onions, & pickled vegetables on the side... & I did not leave behind a single bite of it.


One of our friends got the hickory glazed Aukra salmon, served with root veggies & a Brussels sprout pesto. I think even I would eat this salmon! (Yes, I am sort of a picky eater, leave me alone.) Look at what a big piece of salmon that is! 


For dessert, I chose the warm salted caramel apple cheesecake, which was, plain & simple, one of my favorite desserts ever. I'm a sucker for all three of those flavors, & this one was absolutely delicious, with a sort of granola-like topping. I don't think Mike even got a bite in before I finished!


As for Mike, he threw his keto plans to the wind & ordered the hot chocolate cake, a mini bundt topped with marshmallows. It was rich & decadent, but I also like that it was served in such a small, individualized format - like a regular-sized cake had been shrunken to appropriate size, just for us. 


Did I mention that a few of my favorite local bloggers were there, too? It's always fun to pass things around & try a little bit of everyone else's meal, to get an actual taste of all the options! 


At the end of our meal, Mike & I took a photo in a spot similar to one where we took one of my favorite wedding photos. The background is totally different, of course, &, uh, we're dressed slightly more casually than we were in that first photo - but it was fun to revisit our wedding hotel for a date-night meal with friends.



...OK, but what do you think they did with that sweet glass sculpture that was behind us in the wedding photo? That thing was pretty cool.

Bottom line: We loved the Greatroom & are already figuring out when we can get back. If you're headed downtown any time soon, check them out!

Disclosure: The Marriott Downtown at Key Tower invited me & a guest to attend a complimentary dinner. As always, all opinions are 100% mine.

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