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!

For goodness: Sake Dinner

The Tenant here, with a review of the Bistro’s Sake Dinner last week (if you haven’t yet, check out the video in the previous blog post). As I think I mentioned earlier, I particularly love Asian food, so I knew this special dinner was going to be a standout for me. When Ruth and her team put their talents to this kind of cuisine, it’s always something fantastic, as I remember from last year’s sake dinner. This one was every bit as wonderful.

The courses started off with Seared Day Boat Scallop with Golden Trout Caviar atop Forbidden Black Jasmine Rice with Chinese Sausage and Ginger Beurre Blanc. Again I repeat, if you’re a person who loves scallops but can’t stand the way some chefs turn them into overcooked, rubbery little hockey pucks, you must try them the way Ruth cooks them. They’re always cooked to perfect doneness and then caramelized on the outside just enough to give them a little bit of crispy brown crust to contrast with the tender inside. This one, wearing its gold caviar crown, sat like a king atop a mountain of black rice mixed with tiny chunks of Chinese sausage. The rice had a dense, nutty flavor, and the ginger beurre blanc provided a nice touch of sweetness and just a subtle hint of citrus. The sake served with this course was a very enjoyable Murai Family Tanrei Junmai. As I was last year, I continue to be impressed and dazzled by how many different varieties of sake exist. Yes, I used to think sake was sake; that it was all the same! Obviously, I know better now!

Our second course was a triple treat: Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Tonkatsu with Curry Aioli, Grilled Korean Beef Lettuce Wrap and Sesame Japanese Eggplant. With three items as delicious as these on one plate, it was hard to know which to eat first. I decided on the lettuce wrap, which was a pick-up-and-eat street-food kind of entree. The marinated beef sits in the lettuce leaves with a sprig of green onion and a little marinade dressing, and you just hold it all together and eat it! It was absolutely delicious, with just a touch of mint as a refreshing contrast to the spice. Speaking of spice, the chicken delivered delightfully, thanks to the curry aioli. It was a winning combination of nutty, crispy, and a little hot and tangy. And then there was the sauteed eggplant, tender and flavorful. The accompanying sake was Momokawa Junmai Pearl, which, true to its name, was a cloudy, milky-looking “pearl”-style sake with a lot of “kick.”

Third on our Asian excursion were little pots of Shrimp Scallion Dumpling Soup. The savory broth of this soup contained another triple delight: strips of tender pork in the won ton soup tradition, delicate baby shrimp, and a dainty, positively melt-in-your-mouth dumpling. It was rich in flavor and tasty to the last drop, as were the heady sakes served along with it: G-Joy and Moonstone Asian Pear Sake.

A contrast to the dishes served hot was the fourth course, Cold Soba Noodles with Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce. This one needed no heat from the stove, because the fire was right in the chilies that flavor it; the noodles were pleasingly spicy and tongue-awakening without numbing your palate. I had fun using my chopsticks to wind up and eat the noodles the same way I used to see my Uncle Frank eat his spaghetti–I guess that despite my love of Asian food, I’m an Italian at heart! The chopsticks were also useful for picking up the scattering of edamame beans that lay at the base of each mountain of noodles. At the peak of that mountain: one heavenly shrimp, just barely coated in tempura batter and fried, greaseless and light as a feather. A full-bodied Murai Family Nigori Genshu sake accompanied this dish.

The last of the savory courses was a treat for sushi lovers, with slices of Yuzu Ahi Tuna Sashimi Style taking the center of the plate. These ruby-red, utterly fresh slices of tuna were coated with a crust of black and golden sesame seeds, and accompanied by a bed of thinly shredded Daikon-Carrot Salad with Ginger Miso Dressing and paper-thin slices of pickled ginger. The contrasts of cool fresh fish, crunchy seeds and spicy-sweet ginger with the refreshing, lightly dressed slaw made for a perfect combination with the Choya Umeshu Sake. As distributor representative Greg Webster explained to us, this sake, made with a fruit known in Japan as umeshu but often referred to by Westerners as a “plum” (you can see it sitting right at the bottom of the container), is the third most popular alcoholic beverage in Japan, after beer and vodka. From its slightly sweet, intense flavor, I could understand why.

The evening ended with a perfect dessert course. Each plate contained a tiny scoop of lychee ice cream in a chocolate cup, a delightfully creamy custard tartlet encased in a flaky-light crust, and a variety of melon balls (and a lychee) that had been marinated in sake. The sake served with dessert was Choya Ume Blanc, a refreshing and mildly sweet ice-wine-like drink, and Choya Sake Jumani, which I think I’d have to choose as my favorite among the sakes for its unique flavor with a hint of lime essence. The perfect ending to an incredible meal!

I had the pleasure of sharing a table for this dinner with the proud mother of Chef Todd Mueller, and we had a fine evening indeed. As you might expect, she’s not exactly modest about her son’s accomplishments in the kitchen, but with a son who cooks the way hers does, she doesn’t need to be! This dinner was another triumph for Chefs Ruth, Todd and the whole Bistro crew. Whether eaten with chopsticks, knife and fork, or a little of both, it was sensational!

If this description has helped whet your appetite for a Bistro special dinner, and especially if you like Southwestern, Mexican and Latin American flavors, you’ll want to make your reservation quickly for the August 25 dinner. It will be a fiesta of tequilas, served with appropriate accompanying dishes. Look for the menu to appear here soon!

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!

Join us for our Sake Dinner July 28

Whether you’ve already experienced the pleasures of a sake dinner at Bistro 185, or you’ve never tasted sake before, our July 28 “Sake To Me II” Dinner is an evening you shouldn’t miss — especially if you’re a fan of Asian-inspired cuisine. We’re planning a delightful evening of six courses perfectly paired with a selection of six sake wines that is sure to leave your tastebuds delighted. Here’s the menu:

First Course
Seared Day Boat Scallop with Golden Trout Caviar
Forbidden Black Jasmine Rice with Chinese Sausage
Ginger Beurre Blanc
Murai Family Pearl Genshu Sake

Second Course
Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Tonkatsu with Curry Aioli
Grilled Korean Beef Lettuce Wrap
Sesame Japanese Eggplant
Moonstone Asian Pear Sake

Third Course
Scallion Dumpling Soup
Choya Umensu Sake

Fourth Course
Soba Noodles with Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce
Tempura Shrimp
Moonstone Raspberry Sake

Fifth Course
Yuzu Ahi Tuna — Sashimi Style
Daikon-Carrot Salad with Ginger Miso Dressing
Moonstone Plum Sake

Sixth Course
Lychee Ice Cream
Sake-Marinated Assorted Melons
Custard Tartlet
Murri-Sugidama Sake

Cost of our Sake Dinner is $65, excluding tax and gratuity. Our Russian Champagne and Vodka Dinner sold out, so be sure to make reservations for this one early to secure your place. Call 216.481.9635, and accompany us on a culinary journey to Asia that you’ll never forget!