Join us this summer as we “tour France” in July and go “Farm-to-Table” in August

As you can see, we have some great dinners coming up for your June at the Bistro, but that’s just the beginning of the special things we have planned for you now that summer’s here. Mark your calendar and put these dates in your phone now, so you don’t miss any of these delicious events.

FRANCE IN JULY: August is the month when the French go on vacation, but July is the month the Bistro is taking you to France. First, we’re celebrating Bastille Day with a French Wine Dinner Wednesday, July 17. This feast will pair five French-inspired courses with five French wines for $60 per person plus tax and gratuity. Menu and wine list to come soon! Vegans won’t be left out of the celebration—join us for our 3-for-$30 South of France Vegan Dinner Wednesday, July 24. Menu coming soon!

“FARM TO TABLE” IN AUGUST: Here at the Bistro, we love summer because it’s that special time of year we pick vegetables and herbs for you straight from our rooftop garden and source other fresh ingredients from our local farmers. We’ll kick off our Farm-to-Table feasting with a 3-for-$30 Farm-to-Table Vegan Dinner Thursday, August 15, followed by a Farm-to-Table Wine Dinner Thursday, August 22. The wine dinner will shine a spotlight on our local Laurello Vineyards, pairing one of their wines with each of the five courses. Watch this space for menus to come!

But that’s not all. If you haven’t stopped by in a while, you’re missing out on some exciting new additions to our regular menu that you will definitely want to try. How does macaroni and cheese baked with chunks of breaded fried chicken, bacon and a wealth of incredible cheeses sound? Or try that chicken in a scrumptious penne a la vodka, or limoncello sauce with pappardelle pasta? Maybe you’re more in the mood for Steak Oscar with a crab cake? A lamb shank cooked sous vide until it’s so tender it falls off the bone? A comfort-food favorite like chicken schnitzel or sauteed calves’ liver? Or maybe some of our incredible fish dishes that change regularly depending on what’s the freshest and most delicious (and always sell out quickly)? Alaskan sockeye salmon, Florida hog snapper, Canadian walleye—see what’s on the menu tonight.

Our patio is open, so whether you’re looking for a complete dinner or just a place to enjoy wine and cocktails with friends, we’ve got a place set for you. Things are starting to heat up at the Bistro. Plan on spending some sizzling summer nights with us!

The importance of the family dinner

In these times, when so many people are constantly on the go, racing back and forth from work, school, practices, games, meetings, and everything else they have going on in their lives, we’re hearing more and more about how important it is to take time out and gather the whole family around the dinner table. Studies have shown that sitting down together to a regular meal together can benefit families in any number of ways. What’s the reason for this? A large part of it has to do with one simple factor: communication.

Families who eat together have the luxury of time to discuss the happenings in their lives–to share thoughts, questions, concerns, opinions, feelings. It’s easier for parents to outline their values for their children, about everything from the foods they eat to the type of friends they make. Just talking with your children helps build their vocabulary. Eating together as a family also communicates one thing without speaking a word: love.

Gathering to share a carefully prepared meal, taking the time to savor each bite, to be with the people closest to you and see their faces, warms the soul and refreshes the spirit in a way that heating up a microwaved meal on the run never can. And that’s true whether it’s a home-cooked feast or one prepared and served by others so that family members can just enjoy each other’s company, without having to worry about fussing over a hot stove beforehand or cleaning up afterward.

Family dinners are key components of religions around the world. In the United States, we even have a national holiday centered on one. When we look back on our lives, oftentimes we realize that many of our favorite memories were made at events like these.

Each such gathering becomes even more meaningful when a family member is nearing the end of life. At that time, everyone’s focus shifts toward ensuring that this person enjoys the highest quality of life possible for as long as he or she can, with maximum opportunity for the family to be together, saying things that need to be said and helping the loved one meet death with dignity, cradled in their affection.

It’s for this reason that we at Bistro 185 are taking part in the Hospice of the Western Reserve‘s “A Meal to Remember” program. The Hospice of the Western Reserve devotes itself to providing palliative end-of-life care, caregiver support, and bereavement services throughout Northern Ohio. Celebrating the individual worth of each person’s life includes providing families with opportunities to share memory-making moments, and that’s what “A Meal to Remember” is all about.

Once each month this year, one local Cleveland restaurant is hosting a dinner for Hospice of the Western Reserve patients and their loved ones at David Simpson Hospice House. In this beautiful setting on the Lake Erie shore, patients and their loved ones can gather around the dinner table to enjoy a truly special meal and create lasting memories. On July 17, Bistro 185 will provide the monthly dinner, and it will be a singular feast indeed. We’ll tell you more about it later. In the meantime, we hope you’ll visit the Hospice’s website and learn more about the important work they do.

How long has it been since your family gathered around a table together? Got a special milestone coming up, like a birthday or anniversary, made for such an occasion? Or has it just been too long since you saw each other’s faces all in one place at one time? Maybe it’s time you put a family meal on your schedule.

SOME LIKE IT HOT, SOME LIKE IT COOL: How about this weather? Yes, it’s been downright scorching sometimes. But hot days mean perfect days for the Bistro patio–hedged in by shading trees, it’s a great place to enjoy a drink and a fabulous meal with friends. Still too warm for you? Come inside where things are dark, air-conditioned, and comfortable. A frosty beer, a cold glass of wine, a cocktail on the rocks, or a sweat-beaded soft drink will help you chill out quickly. Then turn to our menu, where you’ll find appetizers and specials from the spicy hot to the crisp and refreshing. Whatever way you like it, at Bistro 185 you’ll find what you like.

THE RETURN OF JULIA: If you enjoyed our 2009 “Julia Project,” in which we served up a new dish from the Julia Child oeuvre every night, we’ve got some exciting news. August 15 will be the day Julia Child would have turned 100, and we’re planning a celebration already. Sounds good? Watch this space for details.

Spring’s right on time! Make plans now for our April special dinners!

It’s like a miracle: Spring arrived in Cleveland right on time this year, if not a little early. Oh, maybe we’ve got one last blast of wintry weather to face, but with the date reading late March and the temperatures reading in the 70s and 80s, it’s difficult to believe. Here at the Bistro, we’ve already opened the patio, so if you’ve been thinking of stopping by but want to dine al fresco, we’re ready for you!

The weather definitely could not be better for talking about our special dinners coming up in April. We’ll begin with a wine dinner that’s a real family affair: a five-course meal Wednesday, April 18, at 6:30 p.m. featuring wines from the Buoncristiani family winery in Napa, California. Winemaker Jay Buoncristiani will be on hand to join us and tell us more about the wines we’re enjoying. The menu will be as follows:

First Course
Seared Scallop with Spring Ramp Risotto
Wine: Rosato

Second Course
Ceviche Seafood Taco with Pineapple, Jicama, Cilantro and Jalapeno
Wine: Sauvignon Blanc

Third Course
Smoky Duck Ragout with Corn Pudding
Wine: OPC Blend

Fourth Course
Charred Beef Tenderloin with Blackberry Sauce
Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon

Fifth Course
Chocolate Bombe
Wine: Syrah

Cost of the dinner is $80 plus tax and gratuity. For those of you wondering “Exactly what are ‘spring ramps’?,” well–they’re some of the freshest, earliest spring greens you can get your hands on, and they’re available for only a short time. This website has more. In short, if you’re tired of hearty winter root veggies and ready for something crisp, fresh and green, this is it!

We’ve also got something special planned for our 3-for-$30 Vegan Night offering. The “It’s Spring!” Vegan Dinner served between 5:30 and 9 p.m. Thursday, April 26, will star these courses:

Wild Mushroom Salad with Pistachios

Asparagus and Meyer Lemon Risotto

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

You can’t get more spring-y than that, can you? Call 216.481.9635 today and reserve your spot for one dinner, or both. And enjoy spring!

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!