Join us for one (or both) of our “Hello Summer” dinners

The Memorial Day Weekend is the perfect weekend for us to announce our next set of special dinners coming your way in June.

First, on Thursday, June 16, starting at 5 p.m., we’ll present our next 3-for-$30 Vegan Dinner, “Hello Summer,” featuring just the right flavors in vegan dining for summertime:

Wild Field Greens Salad with Blueberries, Strawberries, Sunflower Seeds and Toasted Almonds with Blueberry Vinaigrette

Gardein “Chicken” Scallopini
Asparagus, Pea, Meyer Lemon and Basil Risotto

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

The following week, on Wednesday, June 22 at 6:30 p.m., we’ll seat our “Hello Summer” White Wine Dinner, featuring five courses and five white wines for $60 per person plus tax and gratuity. The menu is just as cool and summery as our Vegan Dinner menu:

First Course
Seared Day Boat Scallop
Risotto with Peas and Asparagus
Truffle Oil Drizzle
Wine: Henri Bourgeois Les Baronnes

Second Course
Field Greens Salad with Strawberries, Blueberries, Almonds and Sunflower Seeds
Strawberry and White Wine Vinaigrette
Wine: Brandborg Pinot Gris

Third Course
Crispy Duck with Star Anise-Rhubarb Sauce
Wine: Clayhouse Adobe White

Fourth Course
House-Made Artichoke and Ricotta Ravioli
Rooftop Garden Herb Cream Sauce
Wine: Buried Cane Dry Reisling

Fifth Course
Fresh Berry and Mascarpone Phyllo Cup
Wine: Andrieux & Fils Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise

To make your reservation for either, or both, dinners, call 216.481.9635 and ensure your place now. There’ll be fabulous dining this summer at Bistro 185, and our “Hello Summer” offerings are just the beginning!

As the long weekend (and unofficial summer) begin…

…we hope all our Bistro friends will come join us soon for lunch or dinner, good friends and relaxing times, whether out on the patio or inside. We’ve got plenty for you to enjoy in the warm-weather season, so watch this space!

For example, we’ve added two new specials to tempt you in the door: Seafood Etouffee with Tempura Soft Shell Crab, Shrimp, Mussels and Clams and Rustic Italian Chicken and Pasta with Artichoke Hearts, Olives, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Roasted Garlic, and Shallots Tossed with Pappardelle Pasta. Mouth watering yet? Come in and enjoy!

Also, on Tuesday, May 31, at 5 p.m., we’re pleased to be part of the LGBT Restaurant Tour. This evening will benefit the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Greater Cleveland. Call 216.481.9635 to make your reservation and have a fantastic dinner with us!

A preview of rooftop garden delights

A while back, we mentioned that the Bistro is putting in its rooftop garden so we’re ready to start producing the freshest possible tomatoes and veggies for your lunches and dinners. To really whet your appetites –and maybe even give you some ideas for your home garden — we thought we’d let you know which varieties we’re planting this year. We’ve got plenty of tomatoes of all varieties, but also some veggies we think you’ll find quite tasty when they come straight from our rooftop to your plate.

First, because we always put in so many and they’re so appreciated in this part of the country, let’s talk tomatoes. Here’s what we’ve planted…

Patio: These are dwarf tomatoes that, as you might guess by the name, are ideal for cultivating in patio gardens. They produce relatively large fruit and a good yield. For those who love the taste of a fresh homegrown tomato, they’re one of the most popular container plants.

Early Girl: Home gardeners who’ve been waiting all winter for a fresh tomato love the Early Girl hybrid, because it usually produces fruit within 50 to 62 days of replanting. Given how brief a window we often have in this region for growing tomatoes, we want them as quickly as we can get them! Once it gets started, the Early Girl produces lots of fruit all summer long.

Celebrity: Celebrity tomato plants produce good salad tomatoes: round and firm, with a juicy taste balanced between sweetness and acidity.

Better Boy: Better Boys are another favorite home gardener’s choice because they’re reliable, flavorful, disease resistant and prolific. When you need plenty of tasty tomatoes for your summer, Better Boys are a best bet.

Bush Goliath: It may produce Goliath-sized tomatoes, but this one is more of a David-sized plant. It’s a compact tomato that produces fruit larger than you’d expect from a patio-sized variety. This is another good choice for gardeners who want a reliable tomato source all summer long.

Big Beef: This is another disease-resistant reliable fruit producer that grows sizable, tasty tomatoes throughout the summer. Puts those pink ones you find in the supermarket to shame!

Golden Honey Bunch: Sure, it sounds more like a name for a cereal than a tomato, but don’t be deceived. These babies take only 65 days to grow and produce loads of golden-orange grape tomatoes in large clusters that really do look something like bunches of grapes! Not only that, but they’re delightfully sweet.

Rutgers: Rutgers tomatoes, the descendants of a line originally developed in 1934, were once a hugely popular tomato for commercial processing. Home gardeners still love them today for their flavor, color, smooth skin, fleshy fruit and vigor. A great sauce tomato.

Japanese Black Trifele: The name may say “Japanese,” but actually this variety of tomato has Russian origins, and it may say “black,” but the fruit of these tomatoes is more mahogany-colored and somewhat pear-shaped. It has a rich, complex flavor and is another reliable all-summer producer. It looks and tastes beautiful in a salad! Try one and you’ll see why Russians are willing to pay high prices for Trifele tomatoes.

Cuore di Bue: The Cuore di Bue is a classic old Italian tomato type, with a heart shape, a slightly pinkish look and a creamy texture — perfect for our caprese salads. Taste one in combination with a fresh bite of mozzarella. Bellissimo!

Stupice: An heirloom tomato from the former Czechoslovakia (the name is pronounced stoo-PEECH-kuh), the Stupice is another early and fruitful producer that makes an ideal salad tomato.

Koralik/Legend: As you might guess, this one is a result of two tomato varieties being grafted together — the Russian cherry-tomato heirloom Koralik and the early, sweet, full-size Legend tomato. It produces early, delicious, compact cherry tomatoes, and is another fine choice for the grower with limited garden space.

Chianti Rose: No, it’s not a type of wine — although one bite may go to your head. The Chianti Rose is a rosy beefsteak, a throwback to the days when it seemed all tomatoes really tasted like tomatoes. Sweet and tangy, it’s also highly productive and disease resistant.

Sweet 100: This hybrid cherry tomato grows tall and produces big, so make sure your cages are ready — they can grow to be more than 7 feet! Forget “100” — these can produce as many as 200 tomatoes per plant. Should keep us well in stock at the Bistro!

Bonnie Grape: This is another tall-growing hybrid, only the fruit it produces is grape-style rather than cherry. It supplies loads of firm, sweet grape tomatoes from vines that can grow to 8 or 9 feet. No worries about running out of salad tomatoes or components of a fine ratatouille with these around.

Of course, tomatoes aren’t the whole story in our rooftop garden. We regularly grow a collection of herbs to harvest fresh whenever we need them (the chives are already going crazy and the mint is back, too — look for them to be accompanied by more herbs as the spring goes on). Our eggplant went crazy last summer, so we’ve put in a set of Ichiban Egg (Japanese eggplant) for this season, as well as something new — Brussels sprouts. And more peppers than ever! Get ready to enjoy not just fresh red bell peppers, but also New Mexico Big Jim chile peppers (said to produce the world’s largest chiles), mammoth jalapenos and sweet banana peppers. These peppers are big enough to stuff: perfect for chiles rellenos and jalapeno poppers, not to mention accenting a sauce or sandwich. So look out…things will be getting a little hot at the Bistro for Summer 2011!

Make plans now to spend some beautiful spring and lazy summer days with us, when our rooftop is in full production and you can enjoy the most local of local produce. We look forward to seeing you!

Sake Dinner canceled

Unfortunately, we must report that this Wednesday’s Sake Dinner has been canceled. If you’re disappointed to miss out, keep watching this space for the special dinner events we have planned for this summer. They’re going to be something else! Whether it’s a barbecue or a feast of locally sourced seasonal produce, you’re sure to be glad you signed up!

Martini Tasting, Vegan Dinner canceled

We’re sorry because we know some of you were much anticipating them, but we’ve had to cancel the May 17 Martini Tasting and the May 18 Vegan Sake Dinner this coming week. Not to worry, though — our regular non-vegan Sake Dinner for Wednesday, May 25, is still on! If you haven’t signed up yet, call now at 216.481.9635 to make your prepaid reservation. It’s going to be a feast for every fan of Asian cuisine and fine sakes.

Yes, spring is here and summer’s on the way!

It’s usually a little iffy to make this prediction in this part of the world, but we’re all the way to May 10, and it’s looking as if winter really is over. The forecast for the near future calls for temps in the 60s and 70s, real springtime weather. As we mentioned, the Bistro has spiffed up for spring to make sure the patio is ready for you to enjoy.

 As you can see, we’ve added some fencing to buffer your table a little bit more from the sights and sounds of the street. And tulips and hyacinths are in profusion for spring.

Our patio makes a great temporary lunchtime retreat from the workday, and at night, white lights add to the evening atmopshere. Couple that with the offerings from our kitchen and you have the makings of a relaxing, magical spring evening.

But the patio’s not the only outdoor spot where things are happening at the Bistro. The balmy weather also means it’s time to get the rooftop garden growing delicious things again. The chives have already come back, and we’re busy putting in plenty of the summer’s most treasured and versatile fruit: tomatoes.

We put in fresh plants every year, some that produce fruit early and some later, of many varieties.

Once the plants start growing fruit, we start putting them to use in everything from fresh and delicious caprese salads to rich and flavorful sauces. Wherever they appear, you can be reassured they were literally upstairs on the vine only a little while ago. And the same goes for all the other fresh vegetables and herbs we plant in the garden every year. “Can’t get fresher than rooftop to plate!”

Also, when you eat the produce from our rooftop garden this summer, you can be assured it’s not only local but organic…and locally organic. We’re feeding our garden with manure provided by a friend with a farm in Macedonia. Yes, even the manure is locally sourced!

These are just a preview of coming attractions. The tomatoes aren’t quite ready yet, but the patio definitely is. If you can picture yourself there now, sipping a beer or a glass of wine while enjoying a great meal and the company of friends in the sunshine, take the picture out of your head and make it reality. Grab some friends or that special person and join us soon at the Bistro for a patio rendezvous. You know you’ve been waiting all winter long for times like these — enjoy them while they last!

Patio’s open!

As we’ve been getting some warm days over the past few weeks, we’ve opened up our patio for the season. So shake out those winter cobwebs and enjoy dining al fresco again during our precious spring and summer season. We’ve planted plenty of flowers to surround you with springtime while you enjoy your meal. Lunching and dining outdoors at Bistro 185: what a refreshing experience!

Sake pairings for our Vegan Sake dinner are ready!

The pairings for our Vegan Sake Dinner are now up here. What makes a sake vegan? You might wonder; we did. The difference between a regular sake and a vegan sake is in the use (or more specifically, non-use) of two ingredients in its production: lacto-sugar (which comes from milk) and gelatin. At this dinner, we’re pairing an array of vegan Asian dishes with a variety of vegan sakes to create the ultimate vegan Asian feast. Don’t miss it!