Review: “Spring Into Whites” Wine Dinner

The Tenant is back, to tell you that the Bistro 185 “Spring Into Whites” Wine Dinner was a real spring fling! This special dinner featuring nothing but white wines was a fine introduction to the season we look forward to here in Cleveland so much.

The first course, Sea Bass Veronique, featured a slice of tender pan-roasted sea bass atop a tiny slightly sweet, light-as-air polenta-mascarpone cheese cake. The Veronique was topped with a chive beurre blanc accented with green and red grapes. The gentle, subtle flavors of this dish were enhanced by the Scharffenberger Brut sparkling wine, a blend of two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay, equally light and soft in flavor as this dish.

Lollipop Lamb Chop Milanese was the second course: a pair of lollipop-style lamb chops in spicy breading atop a cake of orzo risotto and accompanied by a sweet peach-ginger chutney that was an ideal complement for the flavors of the lamb. The Conundrum White Blend served with this course, an intriguing blend of California white grapes, had a sweet overall touch that combined well with the chutney.

Next came the salad course, with something special indeed: Grilled Pineapple Carpaccio with Fresh Raspberries and Arugula, drizzled with a champagne vinaigrette. Grilling the thinly sliced pineapple really caramelizes it and brings all its sugars to the fore, and it made for a delicious salad, with a wine — Yalumba Viognier — that made for a beautiful and light companion.

The fourth course brought richer and spicier flavors: Chicken Wellington with Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach in an Herb Crêpe Beggars’ Purse, tied with a ribbon of leek and seated in a creamy roasted red pepper and basil sauce. It was a dish of contrasts: the creamy, tender chicken and the spicy pepper sauce. The Cloudline Pinot Gris, a fruity but drier wine than many of the preceding wines, worked well with this dish.

Course number five had an Asian touch, with Thai Seafood Coconut-Mango Curry. This was another opportunity to enjoy one of Chef Ruth’s perfectly seared grilled scallops, topped with a perfect shrimp and dressed in a curry sauce rich with mangoes, coconut, red pepper, corn and Thai basil. The wine for this dish was Valley of the Moon Chardonnay, a 100% Chardonnay that was very enjoyable.

The delicious conclusion to it all was a dessert that continued the Asian theme: Phyllo Wrapped Roasted Banana and Caramel, along with an assortment of “chef’s whim” delights. The banana was heavenly sweet and delightful; the “chef’s whims” consisted of tiny lemon tarts topped with a raspberry and mini-mocha mousses in tiny chocolate cups. The wine for this course was Von Wilhelm Haus Riesling Beerenauslese, a very appropriate wine with a nice hint of sweetness.

Much thanks to Vintage Wine Distributors and Jonathan, their representative, who joined us and helped me, especially, learn more about the wines we enjoyed.

If you have yet to make it to a Bistro 185 Wine Dinner, but your mouth waters when you read about this and the others (and watch the video!), you should take advantage of your next opportunity to enjoy one — Wednesday, April 28. We’ll be announcing our menu and wines soon, so keep an eye out here for it!

This week’s Chef Todd Special: Meyer Lemon Chicken Française

If you’re a chicken dish lover, you owe it to yourself to try Chef Todd’s new special for this week, Meyer Lemon Chicken Française. It’s chicken battered in seasoned flour using a Dijon-mustard egg wash, pan-seared and topped with a sauce of Meyer lemon juice, shallots, chicken stock and butter. The tender, lightly breaded chicken cutlets are served with a cherry tomato salad tossed in a balsamic glaze with garlic and shallots, as well as crispy smashed fried potatoes to help soak up all that delicious buttery lemon sauce. (You should ask for bread too, though…in case there’s any sauce left on your plate.) Altogether, it’s delicious!

Beer Dinner Night Menu for April 14

We hope you’ll be all done with your taxes by Wednesday, April 14, because the Bistro 185 Beer Dinner, featuring beers from California’s North Coast Brewing Company, will be the perfect way to celebrate. Here’s the menu we have planned:

Cheese Fondue with Homemade Soft Bavarian Pretzel
Beer: Scrimshaw Pilsner

House Smoked Duck Jambalaya
Beer: Red Seal Pale Ale

Sausage, Kraut and Potato
Beer: Brother Thelonious Belgian Dubbel Style Ale

Watermelon, Tomato, Basil and Feta Salad
Beer: PranQster Belgian Style Golden Ale

Low Country Shrimp and Grits
Beer: Old Stock English Strong Ale

House Made Stout Ice Cream with Caramel and Fleur de Sel
Assorted Chef’s Whim Desserts
Beer: Old Rasputin Imperial Russian Stout

Our Beer Dinner is $50 per person plus tax and gratuity. If you haven’t made your reservations yet, what are you waiting for? Call 216.481.9635 and get ready to enjoy a hearty beer lover’s dinner!

Next Vegan Night is April 21; next Wine Dinner is April 28

Things continue to hop for spring at Bistro 185! Chef Jakub Mejstrik will have another vegan entree for us on Wednesday, April 21. Watch this space to see what it will be.

Also, our next Wine Dinner will be Wednesday, April 28. This one will feature Austrian wines, so mark your calendar now! Also, keep an eye peeled for the new video from our “Spring Into Whites” dinner — it’ll be posted soon.

Chef Todd’s Special: Salmon Coulibiac

Well, Chef Todd’s special for the week turned out to be a salmon in a crust, all right, but it’s a bit different from a Salmon Wellington. What exactly is a Salmon Coulibiac? Traditionally, it’s a French-inspired dish from Russia that originated around 1900, consisting of layers of fish, rice, and vegetables all wrapped up in a puff pastry loaf. Chef Todd’s approach is a bit different; he has topped delicious salmon with a salmon mousse, baked it in brioche, a breadlike crust, and served it with a lemony sauce. Alongside, there’s a wonderful shrimp-and-crab crème caramel atop a bed of sautéed spinach. It’s a very special treatment of seafood that we believe you will truly enjoy. Come in and try it!

Look for Chef Todd’s weekly special starting Tuesday

Chef Todd’s weekly special will appear on our menu starting Tuesday of this week because we’re still waiting to get the freshest fish for an outstanding dish. This time around, it will be Salmon Wellington: salmon in a pastry crust, served with a savory Seafood-Thyme Crème Caramel and Greens. Be looking for it!

This week’s Chef Todd Special: Seafood Crêpes

Todd Mueller has cooked up another winner for this week’s Chef Todd Special: Shallot, Chive and Garlic Crêpes with Crab, Shrimp, Spinach, Artichokes and Lobster Sauce. What a seafood delight awaits you! You get three crêpes folded around tender, succulent crab meat, topped with shrimp, surrounded by artichokes and sautéed spinach, and doused in a rich, creamy lobster sauce. Come on in and treat yourself!

Enjoy our food at Market Under Glass 2010!

Here’s another date to mark on your spring calendar: Thursday, April 22, the day of Market Under Glass 2010. From 6 to 9 p.m., the Galleria at Erieview in downtown Cleveland will feature unlimited food and assorted drink from the finest eateries and beverage purveyors in Northeast Ohio, including Bistro 185.

Local celebrities, live entertainment, and a Continental Airlines Silent Auction & Raffle will also be part of the fun. Proceeds from this event, sponsored by The Plain Dealer and Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, will benefit Harvest for Hunger, which provides critical resources to local hunger relief organizations in 21 counties in Northeast and North Central Ohio. Visit the Market Under Glass Web site to purchase tickets now, or call 216.738.2046.

Chef Todd in the spotlight!

We’re very excited about this next few weeks at Bistro 185, because we’re going to do something a little different. Chef Ruth is going to step back a bit and let Chef Todd Mueller have an opportunity to create some “Specials of the Week” on his own. And does he have a dandy cooking for you in the kitchen this week! It’s a Smoked Duck Ragoût — a rich stew of smoked duck in a broth flavored with carrots, celery, leeks, spinach, orange, sage, thyme and soy sauce. The ragoût is served over wide-ribbon pappardelle pasta and topped with a dollop of sour cream, cracklings (crispy duck skin pieces) and lardons (crispy bacon pieces). It will be available all week, so don’t miss out — be sure to stop in and taste the products of Chef Todd’s creativity. You’ll be glad you did!

“…Where you just have to wish to make it so…”

Yes, the Drifters (and songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin) certainly knew what they were talking about when they extolled the pleasures of viewing the world from “Up On the Roof.” And this spring and summer, for the first time, Bistro 185 is going to make that happy perspective available to our friends!

We are currently booking reservations for groups who would like to experience the intimacy and personal attention of a Chef’s Garden Rooftop Dinner. Your private party of eight to ten diners will enjoy a five- to six-course chef-driven menu, including wine, al fresco in our rooftop garden, surrounded by our flowers, vegetables and herbs.

Imagine having your special dinner party — birthday, anniversary, graduation, engagement or other celebration — up on our roof among the stars. Then call us at 216.481.9635 to book your reservation and get Chef Ruth started on planning the perfect menu for a magical spring or summer evening in “a paradise that’s trouble-proof.”

DELIGHT IN WHITE: We’ve chosen the wines to accompany the six courses of our “Spring Into White” wine dinner — take a look and make your reservation soon, so you don’t miss out on this treat!