Toast the New Year at our Dec. 30 Champagne Dinner

It’s time for us to break out the bubbly again and toast a new year…and you’re invited to join us. Our Champagne Dinner Monday, December 30, at 6:30 p.m. will pair five sumptuous dishes with five sparkling wines that will lighten your spirits and float your taste buds away. Here’s what we have planned:

Aperitif

First Course
Wild Mushroom Tart
Black Truffle Vinaigrette
Wine: Baron Fuente Rosé Champagne

Second Course
Lobster Bisque with Butter-Poached Lobster Medallions
Wine: Collalto Extra Dry Prosecco

Third Course
Sous Vide Rack of Lamb
Baby Arugula Salad
Polenta Cake
Wine: Graham Beck Brut

Fourth Course
Seared Day Boat Scallop
Coconut-Lemongrass Saffron Broth
Wine: Baron Fuente 2004 Champagne

Fifth Course
Boule de Neige
Wine: Graham Beck Demi Sec

Cost of our end-of-year feast is $80 per person plus tax and gratuity. After you call to make your prepaid reservation, you will receive an email confirming your reservation and payment. Sorry, but we cannot accept any cancellations after Tuesday, December 24.

We look forward to seeing you at this very special dinner event. Don’t miss out; call 216.481.9635 to reserve your spot before it sells out!

Gift cards and special events to make your season bright!

We’ve got plenty going on at the Bistro for you this holiday season–and one of our special events is going on today and Friday to make your shopping easier, so jump on it right away!

GIFT CARD SALE: Buy $100 in Bistro 185 gift cards during our two-day-only Holiday Gift Card Bash on today, “Manic Monday,” or on “Festive Friday,” December 21, and you’ll get $25 in gift cards free! What a great way to treat those hard-to-buy-for foodies on your list who seem to already have everything, and maybe even treat yourself!  Keep in mind, you must buy your cards either today or this Friday to get this special deal–in the restaurant only.

BUBBLY BANQUET: Are you ready to party to celebrate another year’s end? We hope so, because we have two terrific opportunities lined up for you to do it! Our annual Champagne Dinner, Thursday, December 27 at 6:30 p.m., will have you enjoying five courses of the finest of cuisine accompanied by magnificent champagnes. On the menu:

First Course
Seared Day Boat Scallop
Meyer Lemon Risotto
Champagne: Cremant de Limoux Rose

Second Course
Black Truffle Beef Tenderloin Filet
Sauteed Garlic Greens, Red Wine and Vanilla-Scented Poached Pear
Champagne: Vintage 2004 Brut

Third Course
Hearts of Palm, Fennel, Mushroom Salad
White French Vinaigrette
Champagne: Vintage 1998 Brut

Fourth Course
Butter-Poached Lobster in Puff Pastry with Lobster Sauce
Champagne: Rose Dolores

Fifth Course
Chocolate Pots de Creme
Champagne: Moscato d’Asti

The Champagne Dinner is $100 per person plus tax and gratuity. Make plans now to spend an evening floating to Happyland on the bubbles–call 216.481.9635 and reserve your prepaid place at the table!

NEW YEAR’S FEAST: We won’t be out of champagne when our special dinner is over–nor of fantastic food. We’re planning a menu of exclusive offerings from our regular selection of fare plus some very special additions–including Seafood Pot Pie, Rack of Lamb, and Veal Chop–at three seatings on Monday, December 31. Seating times are 5, 7 and 9 p.m. We’ll cap off the festivities with a champagne toast at midnight. To reserve your seating time, call 216.481.9635. Happy New Year!

IN THE NEWS: Did you see our recent writeup in the News-Herald’s article on vegan and gluten-free dining? If not, here it is. We’ll be seeing you vegans (and non-vegan fans of our vegan fare) for our “Down On the Bayou” dinner this Wednesday!

There’s still time to make reservations for our Dec. 28 Champagne Dinner!

It’s not too late to plan to ring the New Year in early with us at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 28, at our  Champagne Dinner. Here’s our menu for this sumptuous combination of bubbly libations and incredible food, “Amuse-Bouche”:

First Course
Escargot en Croute
Caviar-Creme Fraiche-Chives
Pernod Cream Sauce
Champagne: Dr. L Riesling Sec

Second Course
Duck Confit
Duck-Fat Fries with Sea Salt and Rosemary
Roasted Garlic Aioli
Champagne: Adami Garbel 13 Prosecco

Third Course
Scallop Rockefeller
Lemon Shallot Sabayon
Champagne: Ayala Brut Majeur Non Vintage

Fourth Course
French Braised Short Rib in Coquette
Root Vegetable Mash
Wild Mushroom Saute
Champagne: Ayala Brut Zero Dosage Non Vintage

Fifth Course
Boule de Neige with Hazelnuts and Raspberries
Champagne: Norton Demi Sec

The cost of this incredible dinner is $75 per person, and reservations will make a truly memorable holiday gift for someone you love (hint, hint). Don’t miss out–call 216.481.9635 to reserve your place for this magnificent evening!

A toast to another top-notch Champagne Dinner!

Hi! The Tenant is back, and, along with Ruth and Marc, hoping you have had a wonderful holiday season so far. They have asked me to remind you that they’ll be open tonight for New Year’s Eve and open tomorrow night, New Year’s Day, for dinner, so you can put a nice cap on your holiday season fun. Are your out-of-town guests heading for home soon? Bring them to the Bistro for a nice New Year’s dinner. Then kick back, relax, and enjoy life returning to normal!

Now, about the Champagne Dinner last Tuesday…I’m not shy to tell you, after having suffered from a dragging-on illness last winter that kept me from being able to attend last year’s Champagne Dinner, I was really looking forward to this one. I had seen the pictures of last year’s, and they were mouthwatering enough to make my soul ache. So this was a Bistro dinner not to be missed for me — and apparently also not for a lot of other people, as the entire “restaurant side” of the Bistro was filled with this sellout dinner group. If you couldn’t make it, though, or didn’t reserve soon enough to get a spot, at least you’ll know what you missed. (This review might even give you a few ideas if you’re still looking for a good champagne to uncork tonight.)

The first course took no time setting the tone for an incredible meal. The Herbed Crêpe with Salmon Caviar, House-Cured Gravlax, Crème Fraiche and Poached Asparagus kicked things off excellently. It was an amazing combination of gentle, paper-thin crêpe, savory gravlax, slightly salty caviar, and dairy-fresh cream. The asparagus was just unbelievable in flavor…it tasted as fresh as if it had been picked off the roof in springtime. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten that fresh-tasting a vegetable out of season. The champagne with this course was also especially fine, Lamarca Prosecco. An Italian wine produced champenoise style every few months, and subjected to a panel review before being released (!), it has a just slightly sweet touch, but not excessively so. Not only that, but it’s an incredible deal, usually available for between $13 and $15 a bottle. Our wine rep of the evening, Greg Webster of Wine Trends, also advised us that it makes great mimosas, so if you’d rather have New Year’s brunch than a New Year’s toast, it’s a fine choice for that as well.

Chef Ruth really got to show off one of her favorite kinds of dishes to prepare in the second course, Duck Three Ways. I’ve heard her and Marc describe this kind of dish to me before, but I’ve never actually had the chance to enjoy it. At center plate: tender, rosy, gently fat-ringed slices of seared duck breast, topped with a delicious mango chutney. At one side, a hearty slice of duck pâté, rich with nuts and savory spice, dressed with a dollop of French grainy mustard. (I love the Bistro’s pâtés. One of my sisters and I have joked that if the liverwurst sandwiches our mother used to pack for our school lunches had only been made like this, we would have enjoyed them much more.) On the other side of the duck breast, a duck confit — tender leg of duck cooked in its own fat to fall-off-the-bone tenderness, then crisped and caramelized in a balsamic ginger glaze. Sounds good just reading about it, no? Oh, it is. The champagne for this course was Domaine des Baumard Brut Cremant Carte Turquoise, a Loire Valley pick that is drier than the Lamarca and well suited to this sweeter dish. It is also not a pricey selection, either!

It was time for the salad course, but this was honestly like no salad I’ve ever had before; it was on another plane. Marc had told me earlier that the basis of this Caesar salad was grilled Romaine lettuce. “Grilled?” I asked. I’ve heard of and enjoyed many kinds of vegetables being grilled, even fruits, to caramelize them and add a crispy texture, but this was the first time I’d ever heard of anyone grilling salad lettuce. Well, they grilled it, and it’s absolutely incredible. Each serving of salad consisted of grilled Romaine leaves topped with Caesar dressing and a shower of Parmesan shavings; four escargot shells, each containing a former resident sautéed to perfection in butter, garlic, and parsley (we had to tease the little devils out with canapé toothpicks); thin, grilled slices of baguette; and garlic cloves roasted until sweet and soft enough to spread on the baguette slices. Remove an escargot from its shell, place it atop the baguette slice smeared with garlic, and take a bite…ahh, perfection! Oh, and then take a sip from your glass of Casteller Cava Penedes, a Spanish sparkler even drier than the second champagne, but still lovely and not so astringent as to get puckery. It just danced on my tongue.

Course number four was a tender, savory chop from Australian aged rack of lamb, cooked perfectly with a crackly skin outside, topped with a rosemary-mint demi-glace that went just as well with the unbelievable Potatoes Anna as with the meat itself. The paper-thin-sliced potatoes were creamy and baked just enough to form the perfect crispy brown crust on top. The champagne for this course was a Laetitia Brut Cuvée, a blended sparkling white that was probably the driest of all we enjoyed. I’m not any more crazy about extreme dryness in wine than I am in too much sweetness, but this one didn’t go overboard and I liked it as much as the others.

Then came course five. To my mind, they were all great, but this was the one that had people around me moaning with pleasure and saying it just has to go on the specials menu. The Seafood Waffle Topped with Lobster-Shrimp-Crab Imperial sounds simple, and it is — but oh, how good! Each serving included one quarter of a round Belgian waffle made with a savory herbed batter; an absolutely huge, split, freshwater flame-grilled scampi shrimp; and a butter-soaked cream sauce studded generously with tender chunks of lobster, Laughing Bird shrimp, and crab. You may recall that a while ago Marc and Ruth explained that Laughing Bird is a brand of Caribbean white shrimp farmed in Belize, raised in filtered sea water, fed a vegetarian diet, never treated with additives or sulfites, and sold fresh. The end result is a shrimp that’s wonderfully succulent and sweet. As for the scampi shrimp, it was so big, plump, and sweet that some of my fellow diners mistook it for a lobster tail. It was that delicious! Along with it we were served Champagne Delamotte, a “capital-C Champagne” in that it’s from the actual region. It was a nicely dry complement to the rich, creamy, buttery seafood dish.

The meal came to a simple but delightful conclusion with a heavenly Chocolate Lava Cake (with the classic crusty exterior/liquid interior) on a bed of strawberry coulis, garnished with blackberries and topped with a generous snowfall of powdered sugar. With it, the only rose wine of the evening, Patrick Bottex Vin du Bugey-Cerdon, also the only one we were served in coupes rather than flutes. It was the fruitiest wine of the evening, but still not excessively sweet…just right.

The verdict: if you missed this dinner, oh dear…too bad, because you missed out on some amazing dishes and champagnes whose goodness is hard to express in mere words! You can, however, console yourself a bit by making a New Year’s resolution not to miss the next Bistro special dinner. This one’s going to be a post-Valentine’s Day fête that just might make an excellent gift for that special someone…the Chocolate Dinner, Wednesday, February 16, 2011. Don’t wait until the last minute, because this one is likely to be another sellout…call now at 216.481.9635 and make your reservations! Happy New Year!

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this blog confused the scampi shrimp with the Laughing Bird shrimp, which actually stay small but are especially sweet and tasty and were included in the seafood sauce.

Champagne Dinner menu is set!

Get your tastebuds prepared, because the menu and list of accompanying champagnes for our December 28 Champagne Dinner is ready!

First Course
Herbed Crepe with Salmon Caviar and Lemon-Tarragon Sabayon
House Cured Gravlax with Creme Fraiche
Poached Asparagus
Champagne: Lamarca Prosseco

Second Course
Duck 3 Ways: Seared Duck Breast, Duck Pate, Duck Confit
Champagne: Domaine des Baumard Brut Cremant Carte Turquoise

Third Course
Grilled Caesar Salad with Escargot and Slow-Roasted Garlic
Champagne: Casteller-Cava-Penedes

Fourth Course
Australian Aged Rack of Lamb with Rosemary-Mint Demi-Glace
Potatoes Anna
Champagne: Laetitia Brut Rose

Fifth Course
Seafood Waffle Topped with Lobster-Shrimp-Crab Imperial
Champagne: Champagne Delamotte

Sixth Course
Chocolate Lava Cake with Raspberry Coulis
Champagne: Paringa Sparkling Shiraz

If you’re a lover of fine food and great champagne, this is the ideal way to ring in the New Year early–away from the noise and crowds, in a nice, peaceful, civilized celebration. And wouldn’t it make the ideal holiday gift for someone special in your life?

Cost of the dinner is $75 plus tax and gratuity. We start at 6:30 sharp, serving up six courses of fabulous dishes and bountiful bubbly. Make your reservation at 216.481.9635 today!

Review of “True Blood” Dinner is ready!

…and you can read it here. If you missed it, you missed a good one! But have no fear, because one thing you can be sure of is that Bistro 185 has more special dinners coming up in the future that will amaze you with a combination of incredible food preparation and sublime beverage selections. Our Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner with organic wines this Wednesday is up next, and in December we’ll ring out the old year and welcome the new one with a menu of dishes and champagnes worthy of celebration. What are you waiting for? Call 216.481.9635 and reserve your spot for the future!

Toast the New Year early with us!

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The plans for holiday fun go on! Save this date now — Tuesday, December 28 — for our second fantastic Champagne Wine Dinner! Yes, it’s so popular we’re bringing it back. A fabulous menu of dishes paired with a variety of delightful champagnes, all for $75 plus tax and gratuity. Don’t miss out — reserve your spot now by calling 216.481.9635! We’ll provide a menu and champagne list soon!

“From Russia with Love”: the video

If you enjoyed it last night — or even if you missed it — here’s a video of the amazing dishes served at last night’s sold-out “From Russia with Love” Vodka and Champagne Dinner. Looking for more events like this? You’ll love what we have planned for our Sake Dinner next month! Details to come!

Also, next Wednesday, June 30, is Vegan Night with Chef Jakub. More to come on that also, but mark your calendars now!

Join us for “From Russia with Love” June 23

Get ready for a special kind of dinner this month as Bistro 185 presents “From Russia with Love,” pairing six Russian-themed courses with a variety of vodkas and champagnes, Wednesday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m. Our menu is already set, and you’re going to love it!

First Course
Three Caviars with Buckwheat Blini
Sour Cream, Chopped Egg, Onion and Parsley

Second Course
Cold Beet Borscht with Mushroom Dumpling

Third Course
Beef Filet with Wild Mushroom Stroganoff Sauce
Savory Noodle Kugel

Fourth Course
Trio of Russian Salads

Fifth Course
Chicken Kiev with Black Truffle Butter
Almond Saffron Pilaf
Apricot-Cumin Chutney

Sixth Course
Cheese Blintz with Cherry Brandy Sauce

The cost of this culinary visit to Russia is $65, plus tax and gratuity. To join us, call for reservations at 216.481.9635. очень вкусный (Delicious!)

White Wine Dinner and Beer Dinner coming up!

Bistro 185 has not just one, but two special dinners on our schedule in the near future — one for wine lovers and another for beer aficionados. Whatever your taste (or if you like both) you’ll want to mark your calendar for these events!

“SPRING INTO WHITES” MARCH 24: Springtime is the time when our thoughts turn to wearing white (and not the snow on our boots!) and drinking white — those delightful white wines that so well complement the light, fresh flavors of spring. We’re celebrating with a “Spring Into Whites” White Wine Dinner on Wednesday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m., highlighting a variety of the finest in white wines.

Here’s the menu:

First Course
Sea Bass Veronique: Pan-Roasted Sea Bass with Chive Beurre Blanc and Green and Red Grapes
Wine: Scharffenberger Brut

Second Course
Lollipop Lamb Chop Milanese with Peach-Ginger Chutney
Wine: Conundrum White Blend

Third Course
Grilled Pineapple Carpaccio with Fresh Raspberries and Arugula Salad in a Champagne Vinaigrette
Wine: Yalumba Viognier

Fourth Course
Chicken Wellington with Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach in an Herb-Crêpe Beggars’ Purse with Leek Ribbon, Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Sauce
Wine: Cloud 9 Pinot Gris

Fifth Course
Thai Seafood Coconut-Mango Curry
Wine: Filadonna Pinot Grigio

Dessert
Phyllo-Wrapped Roasted Banana and Caramel
Assorted Chef’s Whim
Wine: Valley of the Moon Chardonnay

Cost of our White Wine Dinner is $60 per person, gratuity and tax to be added. Call now to make your reservations at 216.481.9635 and get ready to “Spring Into Whites”!

If you need any further persuasion to join us, take a look at our latest wine dinner video and the accompanying review from our “Passport to Romance” event February 15.

NORTH COAST BREWING COMPANY BEER DINNER APRIL 14: One of the pioneers of microbrewing in 1988, North Coast Brewing Company of Fort Bragg, California is famous for its Red Seal Ale and many other craft beers that have won more than 70 awards in national and international competitions. Now, you can enjoy a variety of North Coast brews, selected to complement a six-course chef-driven menu, Wednesday, April 14 at 6:30 p.m. Cost of our beer dinner is $50 per person, gratuity and tax to be added. Seating is limited, so make your paid reservations now at 216.481.9635. We’ll be posting a menu soon!