Passover perfect: Ruth makes her Matzo Ball Soup on Fox 8

Happy Passover! If you’re in the midst of celebrating this holiday and its message of freedom and joy, you know that matzo is always a major component of the meals prepared during this season. The crackerlike matzo represents the unleavened bread the Jews took with them when they fled slavery in Egypt, leaving the land of the Pharaoh so quickly they had no time to allow their bread to rise. And one of the most traditional recipes in the Jewish cookbook is matzo ball soup, rich pure chicken broth filled with delicious round dumplings made of matzo meal. To cook, and to eat, matzo ball soup, at Passover or at any other time, is to pass down a longstanding tradition and feel a deep and comforting connection with one’s family and with the past.

That, of course, is as true of Ruth as of anyone else who grew up Jewish, and now she’s shared her recipe for Matzo Ball Soup with Fox 8—and with you. Watch the video and get the recipe here.  Try it at your Seder, and chag kasher v’same’ach!

Who will win the “Battle of the Rye Whiskeys” April 30? You!

History is replete with stories of famous conflicts. The Battle of Hastings. The Battle of the Bulge. The Battle of Britain. The Battle of the Brians. (If you’re a figure skating fan of a certain age, you know that last one.) And soon, the Bistro will be adding one more to the list of these legendary clashes: The “Battle of the Rye Whiskeys,” Wednesday, April 30 at 6:30 p.m. If you’re a rye whiskey lover, this is one fight you won’t want to miss!

This “battle” is one for your favors, as four different rye whiskeys duke it out to see which one you will name as tops. Each will be paired with a delicious course of cuisine. Take a look:

First Course
Blue Cheese and Pear Tart
Local Arugula with Balsamic Reduction
Blue Cheese and Bacon Crème

Second Course
Coriander-and-Cumin-Rubbed Leg of Lamb
Freekah Pilaf

Third Course
Smoked Salmon Chowder

Fourth Course
Chocolate Mousse
Orange Coulis

Whiskey pairings will be announced soon—watch this space.

Cost to attend this much-anticipated bout is $50 per person plus tax and gratuity. Rye whiskey fans, jump on this one right away—call 216.481.9635 to reserve your ringside seat. Will it be tough choosing which you think is best? Maybe, but it’s guaranteed to be fun trying!

Hop to it this April at our “Hop-Pocalypse” IPA Beer Dinner

Do you like innovative cuisine and a good IPA beer? Have we got a special dinner for you! Our “Hop-Pocalypse” IPA Beer Dinner Thursday, April 3, at 6:30 p.m. brings together fun, different dishes and the cream of IPA brews for your sampling and delight. Peruse this mouthwatering menu of IPAs and accompanying courses:

First Course
IPA: Jackie O’s Waka Waka Waka
Wild Watercress, Baby Fennel, Cherry Tomatoes,
Mandarin Segments, English Cucumbers and Red Radishes
in a Champagne Vinaigrette

Second Course
IPA: Three Floyds Alpha King
Braised Daisy Field Farms Kurobuta Berkshire Pork
Guajillo Pancake, BBQ Gelee, and Jicama Slaw

Third Course
IPA: Heavy Seas Black Cannon
P.E.I. Mussel Nugget Nectar Curried Saffron Broth
Green Harissa
Garlic Tostada
Micro Cilantro

Fourth Course
IPA: 3 Heads 2 Kind Double IPA
Airline Amish Chicken Breast
Cauliflower and Redskin Potato Puree
Lardon Crema
Carrot Crisp

Fifth Course
IPA: Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam
Blueberry Panna Cotta
Hazelnut Brittle
Micro Royal Mint

Cost of this opportunity to hopscotch the IPA landscape is $45 per person plus tax and gratuity. To ensure your reservation, get hopping and call 216.481.9635 now!

Lenten Fish Fry Fridays return!

It’s almost Lent, and at the Bistro, that means the return of Fish Fry Fridays at dinnertime. You can always count on a good fish fry with mac ‘n’ cheese at lunch, but especially for the Lenten season, you can either dine in or pick up a dinner of tempura-fried walleye, crispy French fries, and creamy-cool cole slaw during our evening hours. (You might want to come in early to make sure we haven’t run out.) Stop by starting Friday, March 7, for a weekly piscatorial platter bound to please your palate!

Kiss winter goodbye at our Hungarian Inspired Vegan Dinner and “La Vie en Rosé” Wine Dinner

If you’re like us, you’re ready and willing to say “Enough already!” to winter. Time to poleax the Polar Vortex and get on with spring, right? Well, here at the Bistro we can’t control the weather, but we can bring soft feelings of spring to your palate, and we’ve come up with two different ways to do it.

Our Hungarian Inspired Vegan Dinner Thursday, March 20, will make you feel as if you’ve escaped the snow and ice and are enjoying the bounty of spring in Budapest. This “3-for-$30″ (plus tax and gratuity) menu is a heartwarmer:

Starter
Marinated Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad

Entree
“Chicken” Paprikash Potato Gnocchi

Dessert
Apple and Dried Apricot Strudel Vanilla Frozen “Yogurt”

The menu will be available between 5 and 9 p.m. This one is sure to be a pleaser for vegan diners and those just trying it out, so make your reservations now!

Are you a wine lover? You won’t want to miss our “La Vie En Rosé” Wine Dinner Thursday, March 27, at 6:30 p.m. This fabulous feast teams five courses of sumptuous dining with five prime examples of rosé wines. Here’s the menu:

First Course
Skewered Sweet Red Chili Shrimp
“Bar-B-Que” Style Trio of Avocado, Edamame and Bean Sprouts
Warm Honey-Lime Coulis
Wine: Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rosé

Second Course
Panko-Crusted Herbed Goat Cheese
Roasted Beets — Medallion of Grilled Sweet Sausage
Red and Green Grape Salsa Arugula with White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Wine: Regaleali Nerello Mascalese Rosé

Third Course
Char-Grilled Mahi-Mahi
Smoked Tomato-Garam Masala
Israeli Couscous Black Bean and Hominy Relish
Wine: Domaine de Nizas Mourvedre Rosé

Fourth Course
Slow-Roasted Veal Short Ribs
Wilted Savoy Cabbage with Smoked Nueske Bacon and Cannellini Beans
Finished with a Pomegranate Bar-B-Que Glaze
Wine: Demorgenzon Cab Rosé

Fifth Course Chocolate Mousses Roulade
Fresh Raspberry and Chambord Whipped Cream
White Chocolate Ribbon
Wine: Batasiolo Muscat Rosé

Cost of this “view of dinner through rosé-colored glasses” is $58.50 per person plus tax and gratuity. Be sure to save your place by calling 216.481.9635. The time to stake your claim on the first taste of spring is now!

Bistro Brunch warms your heart, even in this cold!

OK, so it’s The Tenant coming to you today, and getting to the Bistro for Sunday brunch is not that tough for me in any weather — all I have to do is walk downstairs. But you can believe me when I tell you that a Bistro 185 brunch is worth traveling a bit for! I ordered the blintzes with a side of Marc’s house-made sausage, and it looked so good I forgot to take a photo before digging in! Was as delicious as it looked, too!

Not convincing enough? You need a second opinion? How about Laura Taxel’s? You need some good pictures? How about Barney Taxel’s? You can find both here. And yes, amongst other dishes, they had the cheese blintzes, and after trying them myself, I have to agree with their assessment. Light, airy, and full of fluffy cheese goodness, delicately kissed with powdered sugar, served with sour cream and local Abby’s Orchard preserves, they are a delight. The pork sausage was the perfect side, with its slightly hot spiciness providing a zippy contrast to the gentle slight sweetness of the blintzes.

All right. If that’s not a convincer to get out and brave the snow and cold, I don’t know what is. Drive carefully!

(If you really can’t make it today, I would still highly recommend you put the Bistro on your list of Sunday brunches to try. Whatever the weather, it’s amazing. And you might just get to say hi to me — I’m working my way through the menu. Next week, Gravlax and Eggs!)

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Sweets for your sweetie: our fourth annual Chocolate and Wine Valentine’s Dinner

Love is a wonderful thing…whether it’s for another person, or for chocolate. If the one you love also loves chocolate — and even more so if you both have a passion for it — you may already know that for the past three years, the Bistro has been celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special wine dinner in which each course incorporates some form of chocolate. If you do know, you’ll want to make plans now to join us for our Fourth Annual Chocolate and Wine Valentine Dinner Thursday, February 13 at 6:30 p.m. And if you don’t, well…now you do!

Wouldn’t treating your loved one to a complete dinner full of chocolate delights beat a box of candy any day? If just the idea isn’t intriguing enough, here’s the menu:

First Course
Hazelnut- and Panko-Crusted Middle Eastern Baby Lamb Lollipop Chop
Arugula-Cherry Tomato
White Chocolate Vinaigrette

Second Course
Seared Scallop
Tangerine-Chocolate-Balsamic Drizzle

Third Course
Risotto Cake
Cocoa-Cayenne-Dusted Shrimp

Fourth Course
Sous Vide Duck Breast
Chocolate-Cherry Cordial Sauce

Fifth Course
Chocolate and Banana Ravioli
White Chocolate Shavings
Crème Anglaise

If you haven’t yet joined us for one of our chocolate dinners, you may be thinking “Chocolate in every course? Wouldn’t that be an awful lot of sweetness?” Surprisingly, no. Without the addition of sugar, chocolate and cocoa (both brown and white) act more as flavoring or spices than as sweeteners. Our chocolate-flavored entrees (other than dessert) are more savory than sweet —and they’re a revelation in flavor.

Watch this space for wine pairings to come. You’ll fall in love with them, too!

Cost of this candy crush of an evening is $60 per person, plus tax and gratuity, by prepaid reservation. Don’t think too long about whether to call 216.481.9635 and make one…just go with your heart. Then go, with your heart’s desire.

Listen to Ruth’s family cooking memories

Our upcoming Retro Dinner this Wednesday, Jan. 22, will be a fun nostalgia trip — and so are fond childhood memories of great home cooking. For Ruth, that’s more than just retro chic. For her, cuisine “the way it used to be” means recipes based on her family’s Jewish tradition, learned at her mother’s side in the 1950s and still heartwarming and delicious today.

Ruth was only 3 when her family fled Poland to escape the Nazis and settled in the Kinsman neighborhood, at that time a magnet for European Jewish families emigrating to Cleveland. She grew up surrounded by those families and the variety of national cuisines they brought with them, a source of great comfort for people so abruptly uprooted from their homelands and everything they had known and loved. Ruth first learned how to cook from watching her mother and aunts make the Polish classics, like krupnik, a barley soup with meat and vegetables, and kreplach, the “Jewish dim sum.” Her memories of those earliest culinary experiences, and the love and care that infused each dish, still influence everything she makes.

Ruth recently shared those memories with Vivian Goodman for her “Quick Bites” show on WKSU-FM Radio. If you missed hearing her then, you can listen to and read her story here. The website also features video of Ruth making kreplach. Enjoy!

Hop in the wayback machine for our Jan. 22 “Retro Dinner”

OK, so here we are at the cusp of a new year…starting fresh, moving forward into whatever the future holds…but wait? What’s that you say? You like taking the occasional diversion into the past? You’re counting down the days until the final season of Mad Men? You enjoy dining old-school and sipping the kind of cocktails Don Draper knocked back at home (and, yes, when he was at work, all too often)? Well, if that’s what turns you on, have we got a dinner for you!

Join us Wednesday, January 22 at 6:30 p.m. for our Retro Dinner—a blast to the past that’ll make you feel like it’s the ’60s again. From dishes to drinks, our menu is five courses of throwback treats:

First Course
Retro Trio: Crabby Deviled Eggs, Spinach-Stuffed Tomato and Waldorf Salad
Cocktail: A Furlong Too Late

Second Course
Swedish Veal Meatball-Stuffed Mushroom En Croûte
Cocktail: 
Pimm’s Cup

Third Course
Seafood Newburg
Cocktail: Harvey Wallbanger

Fourth Course
Chicken-and-Leek Pie
Cocktail: Absinthe Minded Martini

Fifth Course
Lemon Meringue Tart
Cocktail: Brandy Alexandra

Cost of this trip back in time is $45 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Don’t miss your opportunity to step into the past with us—call 216.481.9635 and make your prepaid reservation now!  You may even want to dress appropriately: dig those old dresses, suits, shoes and hats out of the closet (or your parents’ or grandparents’ closet) and get your vintage fashion look on so you can enjoy time traveling in style! Either way, save your spot now, and join us for a dinner party like they just don’t make ‘em anymore (except at the Bistro!).

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with us!

Make your plans now to celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Bistro! We have three dinner seating times waiting for you: 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Call 440-481-9635 with your credit card and email information and make your reservations! (Since New Year’s Eve is one of our busiest nights of the year, we request that all cancellations be made before December 28. There will be a $25 charge per person for reservations not canceled within the 72-hour period between December 28 and 31 and for no-shows.) It’ll be a special night, so expect the unexpected, and get ready to ring in the New Year in style!