We were running errands in Woodmere and decided to stop by Corky and Lenny's for a bite to eat. It had been a few years since our last visit. Our nostalgia or our empty bellies painted a prettier picture than reality.
Service here has often been a crapshoot. Tonight, service was pretty good. We ordered sauerkraut balls ($4.50), a reuben ($10.10), and mish mash ($7.50). Bug requested pickles, which are free upon request along with pickled green tomatoes.
Corky and Lenny's pickles were the first fresh kosher pickles I had ever eaten. They weren't the sour type like the commercially made ones, but large, fat pickles that tasted of brine, garlic, and cucumbers. I immediately fell in love with their pickles and would eat so many that I was parched for hours.
When our plate of pickles arrived, a sickening feeling coursed through me. I stared at the slender, quartered spears. I quickly took a bite and was saddened when the crunch was wrong and the first flavor that I detected was vinegar. Bug looked at me quizzically as I placed the remainder of my pickle back on the plate and pushed the plate toward him by a foot. He took a bite and understood.
Sauerkraut balls are deep fried balls of sauerkraut and meat mixture. As it had been a while since I last ordered this, I eagerly awaited its arrival but was met with disappointment upon my first bite to discover that horseradish, likely in the form of dijon mustard, was used.
At first, I thought it was the dip, so I took another bite. More horseradish. I picked up a different ball and ate it slowly, hoping I was mistaken. Nope. I sighed, then nudged the plate away from me.
Mish mash is just that, a hodgepodge -- chicken soup with a large matzoh ball, rice, noodles, carrots, and kreplach, a meat dumpling that tasted very much like wonton.
My first bite of the kreplach immediately transported me to a diner in Hawaii enjoying a large bowl of wonton soup served with a bowl of rice and a small dipping bowl where Chinese mustard and shoyu are typically mixed (I prefer to use just shoyu) to dip the wonton.
The past few times I have been to Corky and Lenny's, this has been the only dish I've ordered since it is consistently good. Over the 15 years I've eaten here, consistency has been an issue the last 4-5 times and the reason our frequent trips dropped off drastically.
Bug was disappointed when our server arrived with his reuben to find that both halves of his sandwich could fit side-by-side in one hand. During previous trips, when he ordered their reuben it would arrive nearly "overstuffed," stacked 3-4" high. This time, he was charged the same price, but received 1 slice of fatty, thick-cut meat.
When I took a bite of his sandwich, I snagged a piece of fat that would not disconnect so the entire slice of corned beef dangled from my teeth as I held the meatless toasted rye in my hand. Bug wasn't any happier to deal with the really fatty slice of meat either.
We will not return.
Corky and Lenny's
27091 Chagrin Blvd
Woodmere Village, OH 44122
Tel: (216) 464-3838