Restaurant Spotlight: Balance Pan-Asian Grille
Balance Pan-Asian Grille | 515 Euclid Ave. | Cleveland, OH
For all that I complained about when I worked downtown—traffic, parking and the atmosphere at Tower City and Public Square—there’s a lot that I miss. Chief among them is the Cleveland restaurant scene. So, when I was invited by a former co-worker to meet her downtown for lunch, I jumped at the opportunity. Our meeting spot was Balance Pan-Asian Grille.
Located alongside Hecks Express on Euclid Avenue, Toledo-based Balance is an Asian fusion eatery with a focus on fresh and healthy products. They serve snacks, build-a-bowls, tacos, bubble teas and seasonal items. Menu highlights include citrus brussel sprouts, nachos, wild mushroom soup, curry bowls, sweet and sour bowls, pad thai tacos, orange crunch tacos, blackberry bubble brew and pina colada bubble tea. Fun fact: Several ingredients are grown at the restaurant’s farm in Northwest Ohio.
Clean, bright, airy and open, Balance sports a modern industrial vibe. Upbeat, high-energy music plays throughout the restaurant and helps to establish a fun atmosphere—don’t worry, though, it’s not over the top or distracting. As for seating, there are plenty of tables as well as counters that look out onto Euclid Avenue.
Let’s get to the food. I ordered a taco trio—orange crunch, bang bang and pad thai—with blue corn tortilla shells. All three were tremendous. The chicken was fresh and properly grilled, with the sauces and accompanying ingredients working together in perfect harmony. My former co-worker ordered peach bubble tea and a Buddha bowl, which featured chickpeas, onions, sprouts, tomatoes, cilantro and a spicy butter sauce. She was impressed by both, noting their unique flavors and creative presentation. Honestly, the best comment I can make about the food is that it’s clean. You don’t leave the restaurant feeling sick or bloated. Instead, you feel satisfied! As for the price, no complaints. Two meals and a drink cost $25 … not bad at all.
Overall, the visit to Balance was outstanding. However, I’d be remiss without mentioning a couple of minor issues. While it was crowded on my visit, we had to wait about 35 minutes to receive our order. For a fast casual restaurant, that needs to improve. To their credit, the staff at Balance was tremendous. They apologized for the delay and provided us with complimentary wontons, which were delicious. If you’re downtown and only get 30 minutes for lunch, I highly recommend ordering ahead of time via Balance’s app. I’d also advise the restaurant to install a screen that displays customers’ orders, as it’s difficult to hear employees when they announce what orders are ready. At the very least, perhaps an intercom system or microphone could be employed.
Balance is a welcome addition to Cleveland’s dining scene. It’s fun, modern, trendy and, most importantly, delicious. I wish it existed when I worked downtown—no doubt I would have been a regular there. Heck, I may still find a way to become one. I’ll see you downtown for lunch. Cheers!