Aeoshi Café: a tasty preview before a Cedar Lee movie

Aeoshi Cafe's surprising Island Roll.

Five-dollar Monday movie nights at the Cedar Lee Theatre are a great time to sample some of Lee Road’s restaurant offerings. During my last two trips to the movies, I arrived early to snag a parking spot and tickets before they became sparse, and met up with a friend at Aeoshi Café next door to grab a bite and pass the time before the movie.

Previously I overlooked Aeoshi since the Heights has been flooded with Asian dining options, but some gentle persuasion from friends who are fans enticed me to stop in the cozy restaurant that overtook the former Starbucks. The window advertising sushi and paninis gave me pause, but over the course of my visits, I found that sushi and wraps do indeed go together. (The jury’s still out on paninis and sushi - paninis weren’t available when I visited.)

A husband-and-wife team of proprietors runs the café and also a location by the same name on Cleveland's westside. The sushi dishes are fresh, and prices are reasonable. A dinner check for two often costs less than $20, and is accompanied by tasty complimentary pear and orange slices.

Aeoshi’s menu is comprised of salads, sushi, wraps, paninis and entrees, some of which include Korean dishes like bibimbib and bulgogi. (So far, Tree Country Bistro on Coventry is the only other Heights spot with Korean fare.) A la cart sushi ($3.50 to $5) is served as it is prepared at the sushi bar, so orders are not necessarily brought to the table all at once. The spicy scallop roll ($4.50) was fresh and had a nice tang, and the Mexican roll with spicy tuna ($5) packed a little heat.

We noticed a longer service gap for some of the special rolls, such as the Island ($12), a cheesy mound of sushi. Yes, cheesy. This unusual concoction tasted more like a Japanese version of an enchilada than a sushi roll, but it was a big hit at our table, and I’d order it again. Ingredients include white tuna, pineapple, cucumbers, peanuts and cheddar cheese, and it was topped with maraschino cherries.

Wraps are served with cooked rice, cheddar jack cheese, spicy mayo and veggies. They were a welcome detour from holiday gorging. My husband said he’d order the grilled steak wrap ($6.70) again, but I was disappointed with the bland vegetarian guacamole wrap ($5.70), however, I ordered it without the mayo. I particularly didn’t care for the differing temperatures on each side of the wrap: one side was chilled iceberg lettuce and the other was warm rice.

On both visits I realized, well after ordering, that specials were available. So make sure to check out the whiteboard near the register when you first walk in. The soup and roll specials available looked intriguing.

On both Monday nights, the restaurant was half-full with couples, friends and solo diners. Tables and couches are comfortable, and the friendly staff offer a pleasant vibe to visitors. Aeoshi Cafe is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday.

Aeoshi Cafe, 2175 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118 216-321-3700

Monday – Thursday: 2 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Friday – Saturday: 12 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Sunday: closed

Per her grandmother, Christina Klenotic is a “good eater” who never met a carb she didn’t like. She enjoys sampling our area’s eclectic restaurants, galleries and neighborhoods.

Read More on Culinary Heights
Volume 2, Issue 2, Posted 5:53 PM, 01.21.2009