The man whom many credit with introducing California cuisine to Cleveland in the '80s has triumphantly returned with the opening of Parallax in the ultra-hip Tremont neighborhood. Zack Bruell sold his landmark Z Contemporary Cuisine more than 10 years ago, and he's spent the last several years playing second fiddle at Ken Stewart's Grill in Akron. But now he's back with a vengeance and teamed with David Schneider, the cofounder of Chicago's Bin 36. The seafood-focused Parallax has quickly become one of the city's great restaurants.
You really should learn to relax, Zack.
Not a problem. As you can see, I like to chill on the golf course.
Yeah, but can you swing those clubs?
Actually, I'm a golfer who just happens to be a chef.
So, you can golf as well as you cook?
I'm a plus one handicap golfer and the club champion at my country club.
You must really love the game.
Golf's my passion, but it's a learned discipline. Cooking is the talent I'm blessed with.
Do you have a caddy for that fridge?
Nope, I carry my own.
I guess there's no need to buy a hot dog in the snack shop at the turn.
As you can see, I bring my snacks with me.
What have you got in the fridge?
Plenty to eat and several dozen Titleist golf balls.
How often do you get on the course?
Now that I have Parallax, not nearly enough. Twice a week max.
So things are going well at Parallax?
Beyond our expectations. We are turning people away every day of the week.
You could use more seats.
Well, in fact, we've just built a new three-season open-air patio with 32 seats.
That's 32 more reasons why you'll be spending less time golfing.
I teamed up with David because I didn't want to go it alone this time. He's a great front-of-the-house guy who knows the business well and understands wine even better. He's got my back.
How does the Parallax menu differ from the California cuisine you brought back from Michael McCarty's place?
We've got a strong focus on seafood here, plus you'll find a considerable Asian influence.
Asian is hot right now.
It is. I was ahead of my time when I opened Z Contemporary 20 years ago. I've always loved Asian flavors, but the city wasn't ready for them then. They are now.
What's a signature on your menu?
Roasted black cod with a miso glaze.
Sounds good, but so does a round of golf.
Don't rub it in. When things settle down, I'll be able to have a life again because I'll know David's in control.
And what's a life without a set of sweet clubs and a fridge full of beer?
It ain't no life at all.