It’s Halloween! Bring your monstrous appetite to Bistro 185!

Watch this video and let Mistress Isobel explain — well, we’ll explain; she’ll just eat — why Bistro 185 is the place to enjoy your Halloween revelries tonight:

Stop on by — with or without a costume — for a meal you’ll be “goblin” up for sure!

Rick and Jeannie tell what they like about the Bistro

Last night we discovered a couple sitting at the bar who looked like they were having a truly great time enjoying their dinners at the Bistro. They were happy to tell us about it:

We’re pleased that they were willing to go on record to talk about what they like, and we hope you’ll join us to find out what you like.

Behind the Dish: Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Pork Chop

Stuffed Pork Chop Wrapped in Bacon

Time for another “Behind the Dish” feature, this time spotlighting one of our fall menu specials. (Look for more such features in the days to come!)

Our fall pork chop dish is stuffed with aged provolone cheese, apple slices, and proscuitto. The boneless chop is seasoned and wrapped in thick-cut bacon and then cooked using the sous vide method — that is, it’s vacuum-sealed in plastic and heated for an extended period of time at relatively low temperatures. This helps it keep its original appearance, prevents it from losing excess amounts of fat (which would detract from the flavor) and provides it with a great texture.

Once the chop is thoroughly cooked, we crisp the bacon to make it flavorful and crunchy. Then we top it with a reduction of ginger syrup, maple syrup, apple schnapps and butter. That sauce also flavors the vegetable accompaniment of Brussels sprouts, pecans, a small dice of zucchini and yellow squash. (If you think you don’t like Brussels sprouts, just try them with this sauce. You will never think of them the same way again!)

Add a bed of mashed sweet potatoes, and you have one fantastic dish to warm up a cold fall night. Stop in tonight and taste for yourself!

Enjoy Cleveland Beer Week even more: Try one of these menu pairings

To help you celebrate Cleveland Beer Week, Bistro 185 has come up with some menu pairings that should appeal to both the beer lover and the foodie in you. Enjoy a special treat, this week or anytime this fall, by teaming up these beers we offer on draft with just the right kind of item from our special menu to complement them best:

Two Brothers Domaine DuPage French Country Ale — This Bronze Medal winner at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival is a rural, northern France, amber colored ale, well balanced, full and sweet up front with caramel, toasty and fruity characters. Its finish has a gentle floral and spicy hop balance that cleanses the palate. Like Julia Child’s cooking, it will put you in mind of great rustic French cuisine — so if you loved and miss the Julia Project, try this beer with our Lamb Shanks with Rosemary Mint Demi-Glace and Baby Fall Vegetables.

Unibroue Trois Pistoles — This is a strong dark ale brewed with roasted malt with a rich, smooth texture, an aroma of ripe fruit and chocolate, and a taste of wild fruit with an aftertaste that lingers like old port wine. It goes beautifully with a dish that has a strong garlic flavor. Try it with our Sautéed Calves’ Liver with Onion Pan Gravy, Bacon and Mashers.

Rogue Ales Brewery Double Dead Guy Ale — Halloween is coming, and how better to celebrate than with a couple of Dead Guys? This strong ale has a deep amber copper color and aromas of buttery peanut brittle and orange blossom tea that follow through to a rich, chewy and fruity full body with notes of caramel-drizzled dried apricot and roasted grains and spice. It finishes with a long, tangy grilled grapefruit and chocolate fade. Combine it with our Double Cut Pecan Wrapped Pork Chop Stuffed with Prosciutto, Imported Swiss Cheese and Apple with Maple-Ginger-Apple Glaze for a fall treat without any trick to it.

Magic Hat Roxy Rolles — This one is Magic Hat’s “Autumnal Amber Ramble,” combining Pale, Crystal and Caramunich malts with Brewer’s Gold and Simcoe hops. We think it goes just beautifully with our Pan Roasted Wild-Caught Alaskan Halibut with Mango, Papaya and Macadamia Nut Tropical Fruit Sauce and Butternut Squash Ravioli. Try it yourself and see if we’re not right.

There’s never been a better time to enjoy a fine craft beer and a finely crafted meal than now during Cleveland Beer Week. So raise a glass and a fork at the Bistro — you’ll be glad you did!

Ein Prosit! It’s Cleveland Beer Week!

Beer Taps at Bistro 185When you think of October, you think of Oktoberfest and traditional German celebrations with plenty of great beer. This year, in Cleveland, there’s a new reason to think of beer when you think of October: the first-ever Cleveland Beer Week, October 16-24. If you love great food and great beer, you will not want to miss this!

Cleveland Beer Week is a not-for-profit collaborative celebration to raise awareness of and education for the strong American and imported craft brew industry while promoting patronage at local establishments. Bars, taverns, restaurants, grocers, specialty beverage stores, and other retail and purchase locations throughout the region are celebrating with musical entertainment, leisure activities, ale tastings, and brewmaster meet-and-greets offering unique specials to raise awareness of craft brews. It will all culminate in BREWzilla, a grand reception on Saturday, October 24, at The Arcade in downtown Cleveland. BREWzilla will feature more than 80 tasting stations, appetizers and other culinary delights that pair well with craft brews, as well as entertainment and guest appearances by renowned brewers. All proceeds will be donated to the Malone Scholarship Fund, managed by the Cleveland Scholarship Program, Northeast Ohio’s only nonprofit resource that promotes educational awareness and community enrichment by preparing the workforce of tomorrow.

Bistro 185 is proud to be part of the Cleveland Beer Week celebrations, and you can be part of them with us starting tonight! From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. this evening, we’ll be hosting the Great Draft Beer Tasting, an event at which you’ll be able to choose any six beers and receive a 6 oz. sample of each one, accompanied by sausage, smoked meat, fruit, and cheese. Our featured beers will be Guinness, Magic Hat Summer Wacko, Labatt Blue Light, Great Lakes Grass Roots, Moosehead Lager, Ithaca Apricot Wheat, Great Divide Belgica, Sam Adams Summer Ale, Stella Artois, Breckinridge Avalanche Ale, and Triple Karmeliet. Cost is $35 per person.

On Thursday, October 22, starting at 5 p.m., we’ll host a Great Divide Keg Tapping, a special tapping from Great Divide Brewing of Denver, Colorado, featuring $4 pints of Great Divide 15th Anniversary Oak Aged India Pale Ale. Stop by to enjoy a fine product from this award-winning Western microbrewery.

For more information about Cleveland Beer Week, visit the Web site. For more on our Beer Week events, call us at 216.481.9635.

Thanks, Dine-O-Mite!

A shout-out to the Cleveland foodie on the blog Dine-O-Mite!, who gave Bistro 185 a great review in his October 13 entry. Mr. Dine-O-Mite and his companion stopped by recently for some fall comfort food and appear to have enjoyed themselves a great deal, even if we were out of the yellowtail snapper she was hoping for!

Our favorite comment: “If there’s a restaurant that captures the essence of what it means to eat in Cleveland, I think Bistro 185 is it.” That’s high praise in a food town like this one. Thanks, Dine-O-Miters, and please stop by again!

Later today…learn about how the Bistro is celebrating the very first-ever Cleveland Beer Week!

Julia Project Wine Dinner: a review

Hi, the Tenant is back! I hope you were at the Bistro last night for the Julia Project Wine Dinner, because if you were, you know it was fabulous. If not, here’s a little taste of what you missed (too bad you can’t lick the screen!).

First, to give you an idea of what preparation for the dinner was like back in the kitchen earlier in the day, here’s a little video:

By 6:30 in the evening, everything was ready. Our feast began with the Amuse-Bouche appetizer of Escargot with Toast Batons. I must admit, I’ve been hesitant about trying escargot because it seemed to me from when I had seen preparations at other restaurants that it was a bit rubbery and extremely garlicky. What a surprise to try it at Bistro 185! Their escargot (we received three apiece) were not rubbery at all, and only slightly garlicky — the fresh, slightly earthy flavor of the escargot came through and tasted great with a little squirt of lemon. The hardest part was getting them out of the shells! The toast baton that came with each serving was perfect for soaking up some of that buttery garlic sauce on the plate.

This dish and the following seafood dish, Coquilles St. Jacques, were paired with a Chandon Brut Classic champagne — light, bubbly and crisp. The Coquilles St. Jacques was as delicious as the original Julia Project version, and made extra-special by being served in the classic manner: inside a shell, and surrounded by a “sandy beach” of sea salt and peppercorns. A few shrimp kept the scallops company in the white creamy sauce, and were very good too.

Then it was time for the Boeuf Bourguignon, and was it delightful! First of all, boneless short ribs are some of the most tender, tasty beef you will ever eat, and when they’re braised in this burgundy wine sauce, they’re phenomenal. We all detected a hint of cinnamon in the sauce this time around, and I loved that because cinnamon is a key component of my family’s spaghetti sauce recipe handed down from my father’s father (we suspect there’s a bit of Greek mixed in with our Italian side of the family). It also went especially well with the wine, Bridlewood Central Coast Syrah, a really fascinating wine whose notes and flavors change with every sip. It’s a full-bodied wine that didn’t get in the way of the complex flavors of the dish. And every bite — especially those soaking-up-sauce mushrooms — was exquisite!

After such a heavy dish, though, we needed something light and easy on the stomach, and the Frisee Salad with poached egg, lardons and croutons fit the bill. As Todd mentions in the video, it was finished with a light, gently sweet sherry vinaigrette, and the Bridlewood Reserve Viognier, a slightly flowery, airy white wine, was an ideal complement.

The salad was followed by another one of the popular Julia Project dishes, the Salmon and Halibut en Croûte with Tarragon Beurre Blanc Sauce. As before, the crispy browned puff-pastry crust was shaped like a fish, and enclosed deliciously sauced layers of salmon and halibut accompanied by sautéed asparagus. For this, the accompanying William Hill Chardonnay was, again, just right.

The final entree was a savory-sweet treatment of duck, the Duck Confit with Roasted Figs and Port. This one also was a true taste celebration. The rich fruit flavor went all the way through the crispy skin cradling the tender duck meat, and the combination of kasha and tiny bowtie egg pasta on the side was a good choice for a fall game dish. The wine paired with it was Lapis Luna Romanza Zinfandel, and it was a very good match — a robust red Zin for a dish with such strong flavors.

Last and very welcome, as always: the dessert plate! Here, the mini-chocolate mousses — served with a kind of honey “lollipops” usable as spoons to eat the mousse — were just the beginning. As the video hints (and in some cases shows), there was much more: a delectable little scoop of pumpkin ice cream on cranberry sauce, an apple-nut cake with caramel topping, a square of angel-food cake with raspberry puree and chocolate ganache with a sprinkling of crushed nuts, and a little marzipan candy. The dessert course was served with Presidential 20 Year Porto: a fine finish to an outstanding meal.

Afterward many guests were heard to say that of all the wine dinners they have attended at Bistro 185, this one featured the best pairings of wine to each course. Kudos are definitely due to Superior Beverage Group Ltd. for assisting the Bistro in coming up with and providing these inspired selections. If you weren’t at the dinner last night but would like to learn more about any of these wines, or try one for yourself, ask your server the next time you stop by.

So there you have it: the Julia Project Wine Dinner was a smashing success. If you missed this one, keep an eye on this blog to find out about the Bistro’s next special wine dinner, because whatever and whenever it is, it’s sure to be just as much fun.

Tonight’s specials: Oct. 10

Thinking of joining us tonight? Here’s a full lineup of our special entrees to help you make up your mind. As you can see, we’re already starting on our fall menu, so get ready for a special season full of autumn delights!

Individual Clam Bake — South African Lobster Tail, Shrimp, Crab Leg, Mussels, Clams, Chicken, Corn, Redskin Potatoes, Cornbread, $28.50. Limited orders available

Lamb Shank with Baby Fall Vegetables $23.50

Veal Osso Bucco with Polenta and Natural Pan Sauce $23.50

Sautéed Pork Tenderloin in Prune and Port Wine Sauce with mashers $20.00

Double Cut Bacon Wrapped Pork Chop stuffed with prosciutto, imported Swiss cheese and apple, finished with a maple-ginger-apple glaze, with sweet mashers and Brussels sprouts with pecans $24.50

Steak Oscar — Medallions of beef filet topped with crab and shrimp, hollandaise sauce, tempura green beans and mashers $26.50

Boeuf Bourguignon — Boneless Black Angus short ribs slow-braised in a rich burgundy wine sauce with carrots and onions on a bed of mashers $21.50

16-oz. Bone-in Cowboy Ribeye Steak with onion straws, sautéed redskin potatoes and house tempura vegetable $31.50

Calves’ Liver, pan sautéed, with onion gravy, mashers and bacon $17.50

Roasted Half Duck with orange sauce, organic wild rice and house tempura vegetable $22.50

Whole Bacon Wrapped Baby Chicken with mashers and pan sauce $21.50

House Smoked Chicken and Black Truffle Mac and Cheese made with French Brie, Gruyère, Emmenthaler and Parmesan $20.00

Chicken Parmesan with pasta marinara $17.50

Pan-Seared Day Boat Scallops with black truffle, chanterelle mushrooms and roasted butternut squash risotto $25.00

Sesame-Crusted Pan-Seared Wild-Caught Ahi Tuna with wasabi aioli and ginger mandarin drizzle, Israeli couscous and house tempura vegetable $22.50

Pecan-Crusted Bay of Fundy Salmon with sweet potato mashers and sautéed spinach $24.50

Pan-Roasted Wild-Caught Alaskan Halibut with ratatouille and butternut squash ravioli $24.00

Wild-Caught Canadian Walleye finished with a lemon herb butter sauce, mashers and house vegetables OR tempura style with sweet potato fries, slaw and tartar sauce $22.50

Lobster Ravioli with Seared Day Boat Scallops and Shrimp finished with a creamy lobster sauce $22.50

Ricotta and Spinach in Fresh Manicotti Pasta with marinara and a touch of cream $16.50

Enjoy your weekend with us!

So, it’s rainy and dull out today. No worries! The sun should be coming out tomorrow for an extensive stay. Besides, no matter what the weather, you can have a great weekend here at the Bistro.

If you want to take “The King”‘s advice and enjoy a clambake, you don’t need to grab a bunch of friends and head to the beach. Just head for Bistro 185 and order an Individual Clambake. You’ll get your own pot all to yourself, with a crab leg, a South African lobster tail, jumbo shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops, chicken thighs, redskin potatoes, corn on the cob, cornbread and melted butter. It’s so good, you may just feel like singing and dancing:

If that doesn’t strike your fancy, try our 14-oz. Veal Osso Bucco with Pureed Fall Root Vegetables, served on a bed of pappardelle pasta. Or any of our other specials tonight and tomorrow night.

Come on in! Whatever you choose, your heart will be warm, your belly will be full, and you’ll have a real good time.

There’s still room for you at our Oct. 13 Wine Dinner!

If you haven’t signed up for our Julia Project Wine Dinner yet, there’s still time. You will not want to miss this one! It’s going to be a great series of dishes starring some of the greatest dishes in the Julia Child constellation, paired with just the right California wines:

Amuse-Bouche: Escargot with Toast Batons

First Course: Coquilles St. Jacques — Scallops and Shrimp in White Sauce

Second Course: Boeuf Bourguignon — Boneless Short Ribs Braised in a Rich Burgundy Wine Sauce with Pearl Onions, Mushrooms and Bacon with Root Vegetable Mash

Third Course: Frisée Salad with Poached Egg, Lardons and Croutons

Fourth Course: Salmon and Halibut En Croûte with Tarragon Beurre Blanc Sauce

Fifth Course: Duck Confit with Roasted Figs and Port

Sixth Course: Dessert — Chocolate Mousse and an Assortment of Chef’s Whim

The Julia Project Wine Dinner takes place Tuesday, October 13, at 6:30 p.m. and is $75 per person, gratuity and tax not included, by paid reservation only. Don’t miss out — call 216.481.9635.