At Cru Uncorked, everything is made from scratch and the plates are artfully composed with reverent technique and attention to detail

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It’s as if France uncurled her elegant fingers and gracefully touched a corner of Northeast Ohio—you’ll find it at Cru Uncorked.

By Patricia Nugent

Named for a French term that means “a classification of vineyard that is of presumed and recognized quality,” Cru Uncorked is truly in a class of its own.

When Sandy and Sally Cutler and their son, Bill, built this place from the ground up in 2017, their goal was to transport diners back to the understated elegance of a French chateau. As a past CEO of Eaton, over the years Sandy’s family became world travelers and Francophiles and envisioned creating a leisurely fine dining experience unlike any other in Cleveland.

As you take your first steps into the breathtaking entry vestibule, where you’re welcomed by two reliefs depicting Josephine Baker’s famed banana skirt dance a la Folies Bergere music hall in Paris, you realize they’ve succeeded.

Where Taste Meets Refinement
Museum-quality curated artwork and period antiques abound. Mouton Rothschild labels and Paris street maps circa 1890 adorn the Lounge. Marble and limestone fireplaces imported from Europe impress.

“In the arena of high-volume and pseudo fine dining, atmosphere and fare are often punctuated by faux art and shortcuts in food prep and presentation,” says Chris Oppewall, president of the restaurant.

“At Cru, everything is authentic—from the murals and reclaimed wood beams to the hand-crafted sauces and sorbets.”

The four dining rooms each seat about 25 people and are themed around (what else?) winemaking, from terroir to wine cellar.

The activity might be bustling within the ornately appointed spaces, but you’d never know it.

“Acoustics were a major design consideration,” says Chris. “Guests are encouraged to retreat from the noise and bustle to an oversized leather wingback chair, enjoy relaxed conversation, and invest their precious time in savoring the moment.”

To his point, each room is divided by luxurious velvet draperies and features plush carpeting and fabric walls to minimize any noise. Tables are generously spaced while maintaining an intimate feel.

Cru’s cozy lounge mimics the feeling of walking into a vintage wine vault. Eighteenth-century wrought iron gates flank the limestone domed walkway lined with showcased wines. Within the charming lounge space, rough-hewn beams, a semi-circular bar fashioned from European reclaimed wood and sultry walls of buttery suede complete the luxurious vibe.

Not to be missed, Cru boasts a private dining room overlooking a tree-lined outdoor terrace. The space has hosted a variety of social and corporate events, including private celebrations, rehearsal dinners, board meetings and weddings.

Swirl, Sniff, Sip, Swish, Repeat
Service is approachable, refined and warm. The elegant, informed staff smoothly guides diners through the voluminous wine list, nimbly citing the highlights. Decanters line the dining room along with crystal stemware specific to the bottle chosen from the vast list.

“We love to show people our 6,000-plus-bottle wine room. It is a state-of-the-art storage room boasting perfectly controlled temperature and humidity for perfectly aged wine,” says Chris, who is a trained sommelier and present each evening to oversee the wine operation.

“There are selections to appeal to a wide range of wine lover and occasion. Selections range from $35 per bottle to a $26,500 Grand Cru from Domaine de la Romanée Conti. The strength of the cellar is undoubtedly France, but we feature wine from all over the world.”

Multiple monthly wine tasting events and quarterly wine dinners highlight the world’s top wine producers.

“Tastings suit both seasoned wine aficionados and burgeoning enthusiasts,” says Chris. “Ranging from $50-$85 per person, tastings are an exceptional value.”

The Plate as a Fine Art Canvas
In a veritable chicken-or-the-egg conundrum, one has to wonder if the wine at Cru exists to complement the inventive cuisine or the other way around.

If food is perceived as art, then the dishes would register up at Louvre level.

“Everything is made from scratch, and the plates are artfully composed with reverent technique and attention to detail,” says Chris. “Execution aims for parity with the finest French destination restaurants worldwide.”

Executive Chef John Stropki’s menu changes seasonally, with presentations such as the decadent Foie Gras. Nods to classic presentations line the menu, including Chef Stropki’s take on Coq au Vin. The classic red wine stewed chicken is paired with rosemary Dijon spaetzle, bacon, mushrooms and root vegetables.

“The Halibut is our most popular dish, anointed with heavenly sauce verjus, golden raisins, capers, Marcona almonds and pomme puree,” Chris hungrily gushes. “The balance the culinary team accomplishes on each dish is a sommelier’s dream come true, and it’s easy to find the perfect wine to pair when working with exceptional dishes.”

“Excellence is elusive,” Chris continues. “The Cutlers have provided the backdrop and resources to ensure we provide memorable excellence night in and night out.”

Given the luxury at hand at Cru, memorable is a promise.

Cru Uncorked is located at 34300 Chagrin Boulevard in Moreland Hills (at SOM Center Road), about a mile east of I-271. Reservations are available Tuesday through Saturday, from 4:30 to 9:00 p.m. Call 440-903-1171 or visit for more information or to make reservations.

Categories: Eastside Food & Dining