Massillon is a charming Northeast Ohio town with a wealth of historic buildings. It is home to a very cool art museum and picturesque, quiet downtown. Despite the fact that Massillon is only a short 20-minute drive from North Canton, it’s not often that we venture there. But when we do, there’s one restaurant that we cannot miss, Kozmo’s Grille on Second Street.
Kozmo’s fits perfectly into an old storefront in downtown Massillon. The space itself is filled with nostalgia; old wood floors, exposed brick, big comfy booths, and chalkboard menus. The place is named after Kozmo Kramer from Seinfeld, which is a bit odd – there must be some story here that I haven’t heard. In any event, I love Kozmo and I love this restaurant, so I’m okay with it.
I must give credit where credit is due. My boss, Jeff Day, actually introduced me to Kozmo’s when I was brand new the Canton area almost four years ago. I can’t remember exactly what I ordered, but I do remember the corn cake, which was so delicious (still is) and has kept me coming back many times over.
This night we were seated in a side room, which seemed disappointing at first, but turned out to still be interesting, and pretty busy as well. Staring over DZ’s head to the chalkboard menu, I spotted the pumpkin spice martini, and immediately decided where this meal would begin!
If you’ve been reading my rantings for any length of time, you know I’m a total sucker for a sweet martini. I’ll usually try one instead of a beer if they’re available; especially pumpkin – I’ve probably indulged in a dozen or so pumpkin or pumpkin pie varieties so far this season. Let me tell you, this one was at the top of the list – not too sweet, appropriately strong, with a little spice to set off the creaminess. Perfecto. I’m kicking myself for not asking for the ingredients so I can duplicate at home.
Off to a sweet start, we both perused the menu for a time and decided on seafood for our entrees. Kozmo’s offers a broad selection of seafood dishes that you don’t find on too many local menus.
The meals began with a pretty basic salad, (iceberg lettuce, tomato, cucumber, croutons, house balsamic vinaigrette), along with and a fresh loaf of delicious homemade bread.
When the entrees arrived, my taste buds were gearing up for my cedar-plank salmon with roasted red pepper butter.
Almost forgot to mention that they do ask what temp you would like the salmon prepared. I went with medium well, thinking that I wanted it cooked, but not to death. Later I remembered that so many salmon dishes end up overcooked, which for me kills it, so I panicked thinking I had made a bad choice. However, this salmon was cooked to absolute perfection. It was moist, flavorful, light….couldn’t have asked for more. The red pepper butter was just right, adding a nice hit of seasoning, without overpowering the wonderful salmon flavor. One squeeze of citrus and I was in heaven. On the right you see the corn cake – like I said, it’s my favorite, that is until I tasted this salmon!
Dave opted for the shrimp and bacon-wrapped scallop skillet (that’s a mouth full), which I had also been eying on the menu.
I just noticed that DZ starched it up with both rice and mashed potatoes – this made for an absolutely humungous meal. The shrimp and scallops were lightly covered in a maple glaze which added an interesting element to the dish, and really, who doesn’t love a bacon-wrapped scallop. I must confess though that, while tasty, this dish did not compete with the salmon. This was one of the better salmon preparations I’ve had, ever. The other outstanding prepared salmon experience that comes to mind was at Hash House in San Diego, where the salmon is cooked with a sweet and spicy barbeque that is absolutely to die for.
So, moral of the story, Kozmo’s is worth a little drive to Massillon. I’ve yet to try anything on the menu that isn’t totally on point, and for seafood you can’t beat it. If you’re a salmon lover, make this happen soon.