Girls’ Only Lunch at Shaker Square

Balaton ClevelandMy mother is of Hungarian descent and grew up living with both of her grandmothers. I have visions of 5 women in one kitchen in a small town in Ohio fighting over counter space making dishes like Hungarian nut roll and Chicken Paprikash. But when I ask her about the mood in the house, she always describes it as warm and loving. Somehow these women put aside their differences and lived side-by-side.

Balaton_Dec28.2016One of her favorite spots bring back memories from her childhood days is Balaton at Shaker Square. We’ve been talking about bringing all the women in our family together for a meal there for year but we’re all so spread out. This Christmas, when everyone was in town, we made a point to have a ladies’ lunch there. (Yes, I am weeks behind on my posts, but better late than never!)

We sat down with 9 women and enjoyed a leisurely lunch together. We started with freshly grated Potato Pancakes that were pan-fried to a golden crisp and their house salad. My mom and aunt buy their dressing; it’s sweet and zesty–so good. My mom had their Weiner Schnitzel (it always makes us giggle to even hear her say it.) Weiner Schnitzel or Becsi Szelet is fried veal that is served with speatzels.  I opted for the Chicken Schnitzel, not as much fun to say, but it was delicious. The chicken thighs were fried in a buttery breadcrumb batter and dusted with paprika. And I love the light spaeztle noodles that are serves with it. My aunt and cousins had the same but requested only white meat.

My daughter, who is picky and not a fan of noodles had the Hungarian pork chops. They’re pan seared and served with rice pilaf and steamed vegetables. The chop was juicy and nicely seasoned.

Chicken Schnitzel.

Chicken Schnitzel.

We weren’t rushed as we lingered over coffee, tea and dessert, Dobosh Torte which is an eight layer of cake, with creamy chocolate and covered with hard-caramel.
Balaton Dec2016 Lil
choclate torte Balaton Cleveland

Wednesday through Friday they serve their “Hungarian Lunch Special” for only $13.95. You can choose from Beef Goulash, Chicken or Veal Paprikash, Stuffed Cabbages, Szekely Goulash, Hungarian Lecso or Chicken Schnitzel plus a side salad. Generally you don’t need reservations unless you’re a big group like we were.

Balaton Hungarian Restaurant, 13133 Shaker Square Cleveland, Ohio. (216) 921 – 9691

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."


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