The Concept Restaurant Michael Symon Thinks Is A Can't Miss

Michael Symon is a celebrated chef and restaurateur, proud grandfather, and BBQ aficionado. Not only has he hosted "BBQ Brawl" on Food Network, he's also the proud owner of two locations of his very own BBQ joint, Mabel's, which represent his unique background.

Although he has roots in both the Mediterranean and Eastern European, Symon grew up in Ohio, where he frequently enjoyed chowing down on his mom's spaghetti and meatballs and favored her lasagna (via Michael Symon). In fact, Symon was so impacted by his roots that he eventually opened his Atlantic City restaurant, Angeline, a Mediterranean and Italian-inspired fine dining venue with a focus on fresh pasta, wood-fired seafood, and classics like veal parmigiana.

Symon continues to call Cleveland home and while he has closed a significant amount of his restaurants, he loves to support local eateries and when asked what the must-eat restaurant was in the city, Symon gave a surprising answer.

Mediterranean mezze is a hit in Cleveland

On Twitter, a user asked Michael Symon where the best restaurant in Cleveland was to take his wife for his anniversary dinner and Symon simply replied, "Zhug." Symon followed up with a tweet praising Zhug's owner, Doug Katz. He wrote, "Katz is killing it with his places..taking chances..pushing boundaries & making really amazing food." He also said Katz was "leading the pack" when it comes to restaurateurs and chefs. And it appears that chef Symon is not the only one singing Zhug's praises. Cleveland Magazine listed Zhug in their top 25 best restaurants in Cleveland for 2022 and in 2020, Zhug was number 7 on Esquire's list of best new restaurants.

Zhug debuted in November 2019 with a focus on Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine and a name inspired by a spicy condiment that can be served with almost anything. Katz took inspiration for his restaurant from the food he ate in Tel Aviv, Israel, offering one dish with three kinds of hummus on his menu: burnt onion and nigella seed; curried braised lamb and apricots; and harissa peanut (per Fresh Water). Katz also pays homage to the influence of Azkenashi Jews with his smoked pastrami dish.