Vegan visit to India was tasty indeed!

The Tenant returns with a summary of last Wednesday’s Vegan Night 3-for-$30 offering India-style! Again, I have to say I’m impressed and amazed by what can be done with foods entirely vegan-sourced. From beginning to end, delicious!

The appetizer for this dinner was Chickpea-Onion Samosas with Cilantro and Mint Chutney and Field Green Salad with Tamarind Vinaigrette. It consisted of two samosas, delicate puff-pastry pockets fried until perfectly crispy, with a filling of mashed chickpeas and onions. The cilantro-and-mint chutney alongside looked almost like wasabi, and had almost the same level of heat due to the spices in it, so just a little at a time was all that was needed to accent the flavor of each bite. The salad was very lightly and tastefully dressed as well. A good start to the evening!

Next came the main dish, Cashew-Coconut Lemongrass Curry with Vegetables and Tofu and Organic Brown Basmati Rice. This was an amazingly flavored curry dish. I love cashews and I love coconut, so it was perfect for me. The sauce was aromatic and full of flavor from the lemongrass and curry, studded with vegetables like eggplant and cauliflower, and full of plenty of cashew nuts. It was garnished with a touch of cilantro. Altogether the flavors melded delightfully.

The meal concluded with an appropriate and charming dessert, Coconut-Cardamom Panna Cotta with Mango Coulis and Fresh Berries. The coconut and mango sauce made it just sweet enough, with the cardamom seeds (you can see them at the top) adding a little spicy kick. The berries, too, were a refreshing touch in the dead of winter. What I find interesting about vegan panna cottas is that like other dishes that would ordinarily use gelatin as a thickener or “jelling” agent, they instead use carrageenan, which is seaweed sourced. Carrageenan is already used in many commercial products, from toothpastes to dessert items. It’s just one example of how a dish can be made vegan without losing anything of the flavor or texture one would expect from the dish.

The entire meal was yet another example of how, under the touch of experienced chefs, vegan cuisine in the style of any country can be both authentic and a very enjoyable dining experience. And obviously I’m not the only one eating it up; they tell me this dinner sold out. Another example of “if you cook it, they will come!”

Be looking here for information on what the Bistro has planned for the next Vegan Night!

“A Night in Budapest” is vegan magic

Greetings, Bistro fans and vegan cuisine fans. The Tenant is finally back, with some time out for a cold. I regret to say that as a result of this cold, I decided not to attend the $10 wine tasting this week (I never want to risk making any of the other fine Bistro patrons, or the terrific staff for that matter, ill if I can help it). If you attended, however, and have a comment you’d like to make, please feel free!

As for “A Night in Budapest,” the latest Bistro venture into gourmet vegan cuisine last week, that was a fine evening indeed (as you know if you tried it yourself). The 3-for-$30 meal began with a first course of Tomato-Fennel Soup with Cornmeal Dumplings:

This dish was delightfully spicy with its blend of tomatoes, fennel, onion, paprika, and other flavorings. The cornmeal dumplings were deliciously tender, and the whole thing was topped with fresh sprigs of dill. A wonderfully warming winter soup.

Then it was on to the main dish, Vegan Chicken Paprikash with Potato Gnocchi:

This “chicken” was, as is true of many Bistro vegan dishes, made with gardein, which I’m told is made primarily from wheat gluten. Obviously not a choice for those with celiac or other issues requiring a gluten-free diet, but it does make an incredible chicken stand-in that is extremely difficult to tell from the real thing in terms of flavor. It worked perfectly in this dish, paired with classic traditional-tasting potato gnocchi and a sauce that, from my understanding, included cashew milk. It was rich, creamy in texture, and tasted just like something you might enjoy in a traditional home-cooking Eastern European ethnic restaurant.

The grand conclusion of the meal was Hungarian-Style Crepes with Apricot Preserves:

The crepes, made with almond milk and without eggs, were ultra-thin and delicious, layered with sweet fruit preserves, and accompanied by a snowing of powdered sugar, fresh berries, and “whipped cream” made with almond milk combined with a little tapioca to firm it up. A fantastic dessert and the perfect complement to the rest of the meal.

Altogether, “An Evening in Budapest” proved that even hearty, traditional ethnic cooking is possible using all vegan ingredients, and you won’t miss a bit of flavor!

Want more proof? Another opportunity is coming soon. On Wednesday, February 23, Bistro 185 presents “A Trip to India,” a three-course vegan dinner themed on Indian cuisine beginning to end:

First Course
Chickpea-Onion Samosas
Cilantro and Mint Chutney
Field Green Salad with Tamarind Vinaigrette

Entree
Cashew-Coconut Lemongrass Curry with Vegetables and Tofu
Organic Brown Basmati Rice

Dessert
Coconut-Cardamom Panna Cotta with Mango Coulis
Fresh Berries

Sounds special, doesn’t it? The dinner will be available between 5 and 9 p.m.; to ensure yourself a reserved time, call 216.481.9635 now and prepay with your credit card. Cost is $30 per person, plus 20 percent gratuity and 7.75 percent tax additional.

At Bistro 185, vegan dining is more than just a meal; it’s a tasteful journey into everything this type of cuisine can be. Book yourself this passage to India now!

Vegans, rejoice! Now you can cook Bistro 185-style at home!

If you’ve been watching this space, you already know that tomorrow night is Vegan Night at the Bistro. But here’s a new twist!

We’ve been thrilled at your enthusiastic response to the Vegan Dinner Series, and we’ve also been listening to those of you who have been saying “Wow, I wish I could enjoy one of Chef Jakub’s vegan dinners at home…any night of the month.” Now, we’ve come up with a way to make it happen!

Tomorrow night, we won’t only be serving our monthly Vegan Night appetizer, dinner, and dessert offerings here at the Bistro. We won’t even just be packing up fully cooked dinners “to go” for those who call in for a takeout order. We’re going one step beyond…to offer you a special frozen vegan entree that you can pick up, take home, and cook up fresh anytime you like!

The premier offering in our Bistro 185 Vegan Take-Home Entrees series will be Tikka Masala. (This is a different entree from the one we’re serving here in the Bistro tomorrow night.) It’s sautéed seitan in a rich Indian sauce prepared with garden-fresh vegetables and cashews, complete with organic brown basmati rice. It’s elegantly boxed, frozen, and can be kept in your freezer at home until you’re ready to defrost, heat, and eat! Easy preparation instructions will be included in each box. Each entree is 28 full ounces, big enough to feed two.

We’re offering our frozen vegan Tikka Masala entrees at a special introductory price of $15.50 per entree. Limited quantities will be available, so don’t miss out! Be sure to get yours early tomorrow evening! Tomorrow night is going to be a Bistro 165 Vegan Night like no other!

Chef Todd Special of the Week: Shrimp Étouffée

This week’s Chef Todd Special has been chosen. Todd has selected a classic Paul Prudhomme-inspired dish for this one: Shrimp Étouffée. The Bistro 185 version features house-smoked pork tenderloin, andouille sausage and Chinese sausage with the shrimp. It’s all served with a scoop of basmati rice on top. This one brings the spice and fire of Cajun seasoning in a hearty stew you’ll love if you have a hankering for some cuisine Louisiana-style. Delicious!

Mark your calendar now for these special February events!

We know you’re already excited about next Tuesday’s Italian Regional Wine Dinner (and so are we!), but we’ve got even more in store for you next month. Who says February in Cleveland has to be cold and dull? Cold, maybe, but dull — forget it! Not when we’re celebrating Bistro 185’s fourth anniversary, kicking off a series of monthy Vegan Dinners we know you’re going to love, and offering a special February 15 dinner for all you romantics who like the idea of keeping Valentine’s Day going a little longer!

HELP US CELEBRATE!: On Saturday, February 6, we will have been open for four years. You’ve helped make us a success, so please come and join in our Bistro 185 Fourth Anniversary Celebration! We’ll be featuring a special anniversary menu and birthday cake, and everyone will receive a complimentary glass of champagne — as well as some other surprises. More details to come!

VEGAN DINNER SERIES: Recently Bistro 185 was fortunate to secure the services of Chef Jakub Mejstrik, whose work will be featured in what is sure to be a very welcome new monthly Vegan Dinner Series. The series kicks off Wednesday, February 10, with our first featured dish, Thai-Style Massaman Curry with vegetables, tofu, and organic brown basmati rice. For the non-vegans among you, our Massaman Curry will also be available with a choice of chicken or shrimp. Keep watching this space for announcements of future Vegan Dinner dates and entrees.

FOR LOVERS ONLY — FOOD AND WINE LOVERS, THAT IS: True, Valentine’s Day, February 14, falls on a Sunday this year, and the Bistro is closed (after all, even we need to take time out for romance). But Monday, February 15, we’ll be open with a special Romantic Wine Dinner for everyone who just couldn’t get enough romance squeezed into Sunday. For more details on the featured courses and wines, watch this space. Who says love should be celebrated only one day? Oh, and if you have no sweetheart to bring along, just bring your love of great food and drink; you won’t be sorry!

Keep Bistro 185 in mind this coming month, and the rest of your winter will be something to look forward to.