New year, new events: mark your calendar and make reservations now!

We’re barely into the new year, and we’ve already got some very special events planned in the near, near future for the Bistro. Plan to join us for these soon:

VEGAN NIGHT GOES ASIAN: Vegan Night returns with a special Asian flavor! This $30 Asian Vegan Night Dinner Thursday, January 19, served from 5 to 9:30 p.m., will feature these three courses:

First Course
Lemongrass-Ginger-Miso Soup with Shiitake Mushroom Wonton

Second Course
Panko-Nori and Sesame-Crusted Eggplant Cutlets
Edamame–Mint Sauce
Jasmine Rice
Sauté of Asian Vegetables

Dessert Course
Coconut–Mint Panna Cotta
Fresh Berry Garnish

FAT CITY: If you’re a wine lover, you know there are times when only a “big fat red” will do. Enjoy a sampling of five top-notch red wines paired with five equally robust courses at our Big Fat Red Wine Dinner Thursday, January 26 at 6:30 p.m. For $100 per person, you’ll enjoy these sumptuous dishes and wines:

First Course
Foie Gras French Toast with Fig Balsamic Reduction
Wine: Chateau Haut Beausejour 2007

Second Course
Medallion of Beef Tenderloin with Black Truffle Hotel Butter
Potato and Onion Galette
Wine: Salus Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Third Course
House-Cured Gravlax with Eggplant Caponata
Wine: Merryvale Profile 2006

Fourth Course
Duck Confit Bolognese with Polenta
Wine: Archery Summit Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2007

Fifth Course
Lemon Tart with Italian Meringue
Wine: Dow’s Crusted Port

MORE CHOCOLATE TREATS FOR VALENTINE’S DAY: Our Chocolate Dinner during last February’s Valentine’s season was so popular that we’re doing it again–with a brand-new selection of dishes. Once more, rather than giving that same-old box of candy, you’ll be able to share chocolate delights with your Valentine via a truly original and romantic dinner. Join us at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 15, for our Chocolate Valentine’s Dinner and see just how versatile chocolate can be! Watch this space for our menu, coming soon. Oh, and if you missed last year’s Chocolate Dinner, take a look at this video to get an idea of what it was like:

As you can see, our upcoming events offer something for everyone. Call 216.481.9635 now to ensure your reservations!

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.

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!

Vegan Sake Dinner menu offers Asian delights

The menu for our Vegan Sake Dinner Wednesday, May 18, is ready!

First Course
Vegetable Consomme with Baby Bok Choy, Edamame, Shiitake Mushrooms and Vegetable Dumpling
Sake: Naba Shoten Minato Harbor

Second Course
Rice Paper Rolls with Thai Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce
Sake: Chokaisan Junmai Daiginjo

Third Course
Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette and Tempura Green Beans
Sake: Dewatsuru Kimoto Junmai

Fourth Course
Grilled Tofu with Sake Shiitake Sauce
Pea Shoots and Grilled Japanese Eggplant with Ponzu Forbidden Black Rice
Sake: Ichishima Silk

Fifth Course
Lychee Sorbet with Berries
Sake: Hideyoshi Namacho

This dinner is $60 per person by prepaid reservation and begins at 6:30 p.m. sharp. Call 216.481.9635 to ensure your place!

Get out your calendars! We’ve got months of fun planned for you!

We hesitate to say anything too soon, but it seems that maybe the weather is actually starting to act like spring (even if that means rain instead of snow). Can warm, sunny weather be far behind? We hope not. But whatever the weather, we’ve got some amazing events planned at Bistro 185 that will keep you enjoying fantastic food and inspirational spirits all spring and summer long.

We’re kicking off the fun this month with three events sure to make your April fly by. First of all, our next Vegan Dinner is already set for Wednesday, April 20. In keeping with our around-the-world theme, this 3-for-$30 dinner will whisk you off to “A Night in Paris.” This will be French cuisine the way Julia Child never imagined it! The very next evening will be a treat for martini lovers. Our Thursday, April 21 Martini Tasting with Hors D’Oeuvres, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at $40 per person, will introduce you to some incredible bar-side concoctions. And wrapping up the month, our Wednesday, April 27 Wine Dinner, “OPA!,” will spirit you off to the Greek Isles with six courses of Greece-inspired cuisine and wine pairings for $65 per person. Much less expensive than a Greek cruise, and the food will be just as tasty!

You might call our month of May “Asian Month,” even “Sake Month.” We’re planning two different multi-course Sake Dinners: a Vegan Sake Dinner Wednesday, May 18, offering five courses of Asian-inspired vegan cuisine paired with five vegan sakes for $60 per person, and a non-vegan Sake Dinner Wednesday, May 25, pairing six courses of Asian-inspired cuisine with six sakes for $75 per person. This food and drink will be just right for fresh springtime eating.

On Thursday, June 16, we’ll be going back to our 3-for-$30 Vegan Night dinner offering with a menu we’re calling “Hello Summer.” That’s all we’re going to divulge about it right now; keep watching for details! Wednesday, June 22, will see us presenting our “Hello Summer” White Wine Dinner: five delicious courses paired with five summery white wines for $60 per person.

In July, we’ll be celebrating Bar-B-Que Month, so if you didn’t get your fill at your 4th of July cookout, no need to worry–we’ll satisfy your cravings for delicious Q…vegans too! Thursday, July 14, we’ll serve up a Vegan Bar-B-Que 3-for-$30 special, while for the non-vegans Wednesday, July 20, we’ll feature a Bar-B-Que with a Latin American flair: five courses and five wine pairings for $60. Ole!

Locavores rejoice! Our cuisine theme for August celebrates our brief but precious market growing season by featuring the bounty of local farmers’ markets. We kick off Wednesday, August 17, with a Vegan 3-for-$30 “From Farm to Table” dinner, followed on Wednesday, August 24, by a Farmer’s Market Wine Dinner featuring five courses of all-local, all-organic cuisine paired with five organic Lorello Winery wines for $65 per person. Of course, this one, like much of our spring and summer cuisine, will include THE most local food we can serve: produce from our rooftop garden! It just doesn’t get fresher than that!

Finally, we’ll wrap up a summer season of fantastic food and drink with a bit of fun. Did you know that Monday, September 19, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day? Arrrh! If ye didn’t know before, mateys, ye know now! So shiver me timbers, we’ll be celebratin’ with a spirits tastin’ of–what else–rum! Our Rum Tasting will cost 40 gold doubloons (or dollars, if you lack doubloons) and feature hors d’ouevres to satisfy ye hearties’ appetites.

Be sure to mark your calendars and set your reminder alarms, because you won’t want to miss any of the Bistro 185 fun this spring and summer! You can start now by calling 216.481.9635 to reserve for the Vegan Dinner, Martini Tasting, and “OPA!” Wine Dinner. Also, keep watching this space for more details as we draw closer to the events!

STILL WANT TO LEARN HOW TO COOK LIKE CHEF TODD?: You’ve got more chances coming up! First, Todd will present an “April in Paris” cooking lesson this Sunday, April 10, teaching you how to prepare an entire menu of springtime French bistro-style classics. Then, on May 15, his “Small Sweets” class will give you hands-on experience in creating classic French sweet treats. Both classes will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. at Sur la Table Woodmere, 28819 Chagrin Boulevard at Eton; tuition is $65 for “April in Paris” and $69 for “Small Sweets.” Call to reserve your place now at 800.243.0852. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to study French cuisine with a Paris-trained chef!

Sake Dinner: a magical Asian voyage

For those who have been waiting for a video of our Sake Dinner last Wednesday, it’s finally here. If you were with us, you know how delightful this journey into Asian flavors and sakes was. If not, our review (courtesy of The Tenant) will be up soon, so watch for it!

Also, be sure to plan your August now so you can be with us on the evening of the 25th for our Tequila Dinner. This is going to be a fun one and if it sounds like our dishes are going south of the border this time, you guessed it!

Chef Todd throws us a change-up this week

You have to give credit to Chef Todd, because he’s really been busy this week coming up with fresh ideas for the specials menu. Yes, he has added Rum-Painted Grouper to our offerings (and for more details on that, check this blog later tonight), but he has created not one, but two, specials for this week. His other new special is Yogurt-Marinated Leg of Lamb, and it’s like the best gyro you’ve ever eaten, only without the pita bread. Slices of tender, perfectly cooked lamb cut right off the leg (not processed meat, like your typical gyro!), accompanied by circles of yellow and green squash sautéed in oil and garlic and a cool, refreshing raita sauce — a traditional Middle Eastern yogurt-based sauce. It is also served with a delicious timbale of rice seasoned with Middle Eastern spices, raisins and almonds. If you enjoy Greek and Middle Eastern-style food, this one is a must!

But we don’t want to give short shrift to the grouper, so keep posted here for a description of that dish. And if you have yet to try Todd’s Meyer Lemon Chicken Française with Basil Cherry-Tomato Arugula Salad and Potato Tostones, you still have a chance!

A few other notes from our specials menu: we’ve added the Lollipop Lamb Chop Milanese with Vegetable Barley Risotto that was so popular at our most recent “Spring Into Whites” wine dinner. And if you love Asian food, tonight, skip the Chinese restaurant and come here instead for our Asian Trio. It’s grilled beef, shrimp, chicken, potstickers, and tempura vegetables, served with three different dipping sauces: coconut curry, Asian peanut and spicy plum ginger.

Vegans! Remember that wonderful Massaman Curry we kicked off our Vegan Dinner Series with? It’s now on our specials menu, full of tofu, coconut and Thai-style veggies, served with brown rice. And of course, there are plenty of other great staples on the specials menu — ones you’ve come to know and love and ones you haven’t tried yet. So what are you waiting for? Plenty of pleasures await you at the Bistro right now!

Night at the Oscars: The Last Emperor and Asian Short Ribs

Our “Night at the Oscars” featured special for Thursday through Saturday pays tribute to the 1987 Academy Award Best Picture, The Last Emperor. Enjoy our rendition of Chinese cuisine in the form of Asian Short Ribs with Brown Rice and Stir-Fried Vegetables. You’ll dine like royalty!

Behind the Dish: Cream Puffs with Chocolate Sauce

Cream Puffs with Chocolate SauceLast night’s James Beard Salmon Provençal is on the menu again tonight! As for tonight’s new James Beard dish, we think this one is going to make a great finish to your meal: Cream Puffs with Chocolate Sauce. The cream puffs are made from a classic French choux pastry recipe and baked up golden brown. We’re filling them with our own freshly made vanilla-bean ice cream before topping them with a chocolate sauce made of heavy cream and both semisweet and unsweetened chocolates and a final touch of powdered sugar.

So, your dessert for tonight is decided. Now your dilemma is: What to have for dinner? Luckily, we have some suggestions. Maybe you’ll want to try our Asian-Inspired Short Ribs. To create those, we’re removing all the bones from the short ribs except one, then wrapping the meat around that remaining bone to impart added flavor while it cooks. The ribs will be braised in a liquid including Asian five-spice powder, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds, and served with an organic brown rice pilaf.

Or, you might prefer our Baby Rack of Lamb. Or, you might consider our Lollipop Veal Chop, stuffed with prosciutto and Gruyère cheese, with shiitake mushrooms alongside, served with a porcini mushroom sauce.

Whatever you’re in the mood for, come in and look at our specials and our reliable regular menu. You’re sure to find something that will make you smile and get you ready to enjoy an elegant dessert to top off a delicious dinner.

How long has it been since you treated yourself? Too long, right? Join us at the Bistro for some pampering to start off your weekend the best way.