While on my flight to Cleveland, a local recommended that I eat breakfast at Jack Flaps, located in the historic Ohio City neighborhood. On the way to my hotel, my Uber driver once again recommended me to Jack Flaps.
Being new to the Cleveland breakfast scene, I decided to trust the wisdom of the locals. After dropping my bags off at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel I headed over to Jack Flaps, located about ten minutes southwest of downtown Cleveland.
The menu at Jack Flaps was separated into savory and sweet items, both of which contained twists on the regular and not so regular breakfast items. Some of the menu items had a unique Asian twist that you really don’t find on many breakfast menus.
On the savory menu, you will find items such as a savory hot dog waffle, a breakfast burrito, smoked trout benedict, shrimp and grits, and a breakfast Bánh mì. You can also find sides such as a breakfast kimchi, Vietnamese style sausage patties, and a Mexican coke glazed pork belly.
On the savory menu are your pancakes, waffles, puddings, and egg breads including more unique items such as a candied jalapeño pancake, lemon curd, brûléed vanilla bean rice pudding, and a graham cracker and Nutella waffle.
Jack Flaps is located off a small but busy street just down the road from the West Side Market in the historic Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland. Just across the street were a tattoo shop, barber, grocery store, and a funeral chapel. Definitely a unique area.
The interior of Jack Flaps had an urban, modern, and industrial feel. Tall ceilings, simple white and orange walls, Edison light bulbs, exposed air conditioning pipes, and breakfast and food-themed photographs.
A large window just off the street allows lots of light into the restaurant. Inside you will find a small dining room with a few tables, a couple more high tops, and a small wooden L-shaped bar where you can stop by for a quick coffee or bite to eat.
One thing to note about the coffee was that it was served in a to-go paper cup, even if you will be dining in. I found this a little strange as it seems expensive and not good for the environment.
Just around the corner from the bar was the kitchen where I could hear the sizzling of food on the grills as plates were being prepared and cooked.
Mexican Coke Glazed Pork Belly
If it has to do with pork belly, then you will probably find me ordering it.
Before the Mexican Coke Glazed Pork Belly ($3) was placed on my table, I could smell it. That amazing smoky flavor, like how you smell after camping, permeated through the entire dining room.
When the pork belly arrived, I took some time to appreciate what was sitting in front of me. Smoky, crispy, sweet, fatty, pork belly. You can’t go wrong with ordering this side dish.
Similar to normal everyday bacon, but better, the pork belly was charred and crispy on the sides, while soft, succulent, and sweet on the interior. Just the perfect amount of fat while still holding its texture.
I would come back to Jack Flaps and only order the Mexican coke glazed pork belly if I could. It was that good.
Real F*ing Breakfast Burrito
My first choice was actually the breakfast Bánh mì, but unfortunately, they were sold out of it.
A little bit let down about the Bánh mì, I decided to go with the Real F*ing Breakfast Burrito ($14). If you are wondering if the name is a typo, I can assure you that this is the real name of the burrito.
This thing is large. You will probably have to use a knife and fork to eat it. If you are really hungry, you could probably take it down on your own, but it also works great for sharing.
Inside the burrito, you will find Adobo-braised beef, scrambled eggs, vegetable hash, and Manchego cheese. It’s then topped with a smoked tomato salsa and crema.
Meat lovers will be pleased with the generous amounts of shredded Adobo-braised beef found rolled up inside the flour tortilla. For the most part, the meat was tender, but I found myself trying to chew a few pieces of obviously dry and overcooked beef.
The beef was seasoned with an interesting combination of heat and sweetness. On one hand, the beef had a nice amount of heat and spice to it, probably from some sort of chili powder. This I enjoyed. On the other hand, the beef was also very sweet and salty, almost like you would find in a hearty Irish stew. Depending on your tastes, you may or may not like this. For me, I’m not a huge fan of sweet meats in dishes that should be savory.
The meat was definitely the star of the dish. As I worked my way through the burrito, I spotted a few small pieces of soft scrambled eggs, and a delicious and unique hash made using rutabaga, a root vegetable.
On top of the burrito was a fresh and colorful pico de gallo, a simple crema, and a few slices of raw jalapeño which added a much needed crunchy texture.
Being a big fan of trout, and a big fan of eggs benedict, it was a no-doubter to pick the Cuyahoga Benedict ($14).
I found out quickly that the Cuyahoga Benedict was not your traditional eggs benedict. You will not find English muffins, Hollandaise sauce, or even poached eggs. In this dish you will find cold smoked steelhead trout, roasted rutabaga and watercress, a Vidalia onion créme sauce, and fish roe.
The dish was wonderfully presented and amazingly colorful, but unfortunately, that was probably the best part about the dish.
The first thing that I noticed about the trout was the strange fishy smell. I eat trout a lot, and fresh trout is never supposed to smell. The skin on trout was cold smoked, so I was hoping the smell was from that, and maybe it was, but I think the fish might have been a little old. Each bite unfortunately left me with a strange taste in my mouth. I did enjoy how the fish was smoked similar to the Mexican coke glazed pork belly.
Hiding under the fish were circular and soft pieces of grilled rutabaga, the same root vegetable served inside the buritto. If you have never had grilled rutabaga before, the taste reminded me of sweet potatoes but a little more crispy on the edges.
The slightly thick Vidalia onion créme sauce was simple, sweet, and more acidic than a normal Hollandaise sauce which added a much needed contrasting flavor to the dish. I enjoyed how the spinach soaked up the flavors of the créme sauce.
The closest you will get to eggs in this dish were the fish roe that topped the trout. The roe was extremely bright, fresh, and added a hint of citrus. I can only describe each bite of the roe as a crunchy explosion in my mouth. For a dish lacking any crunchy texture, the roe was enjoyable.
The one server was friendly and gladly helped answer any of my questions about the food. The food arrived correctly and the drinks were refilled often.
The food took a little longer to receive than I would have liked, but I will gladly wait longer for food to be cooked to order.
Service was definitely great and the interior of the restaurant was clean and modern. Definitely a plus.
The menu was very intriguing with Asian flavors and unique twists on regular breakfast items.
The pork belly was delicious, plates were presented well, but overall, I was let down with what I ordered at Jack Flaps. The meat in the burrito was slightly dry and sweet. The trout was just too fishy and left a bad taste in my mouth.
Even with being let down by the savory dishes, I wouldn’t mind returning again in the future to give the sweet dishes a try. Then I can truly make up my mind if the locals were right or wrong with recommending me to Jack Flaps.
- Unique breakfast items with Asian twists
- Located in Ohio City, a cool and historic neighborhood
- Pork belly
- Friendly service
- Some food items were sold out
- The trout had an old and fishy smell and taste
- A little pricey for some items