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!

Behind the Dish: Smoked Salmon Napoleon

Tonight’s Julia Project dish is the creation of the award-winning chef Charlie Trotter, who shared with Julia an idea for an appetizer that Bistro 185 is turning into a full-fledged entree. Everyone’s heard of a Napoleon pastry, right?: layers and layers of delicate puff pastry sandwiching layers of sweet pastry cream, sometimes jam, sometimes both. (In some places it’s called a mille-feuille, mille foglie or vanilla slice.) Well, Smoked Salmon Napoleon takes that same principle and applies it to layers of smoked salmon. And it’s an ideal concept for us here at the Bistro, given that we smoke our own salmon.

The thinly sliced smoked salmon is layered with papaya that’s been pickled in hot pepper, sake, vinegar, cloves, mustard, cinnamon, bay leaf and allspice, as well as an avocado-tomato salsa made with chives and lemon juice. A green herbal sauce made from herb juice and herb oil containing parsley, watercress and tarragon, seasoned with salt and pepper, brings the whole creation together. Charlie serves his Napoleons with herbed potato tuiles; we’ll be serving ours with thin, freshly fried waffle potato chips, as well as another treat: salmon ravioli.

Get ready for a combination of flavors you’ve probably never experienced before — but will really enjoy!

Tonight: Lobster Thermidor!

Those of you who read the book or saw the movie Julie & Julia will probably remember Julie Powell’s story about having to bring herself to, um, dispatch live lobsters in order to make Julia Child’s Lobster Thermidor. Well, we’re here with good news: You can spare yourself the role of lobster executioner and still enjoy the unique pleasure that is Lobster Thermidor, because we’re preparing it tonight!

The basics: Dry white wine, onion, carrot, celery, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns and tarragon simmer to a boil. Then the lobsters go for their final swim. While they’re cooking until they turn red, we’ll stew mushrooms with butter, lemon juice and salt. The cooked lobsters come out of the kettle, the mushroom juices (sans mushrooms) go in with the lobster juices, and the resulting liquid is boiled down and strained before being simmered again. Butter and flour are cooked together slowly in a separate saucepan (but not browned), then removed from heat and the lobster-mushroom liquid beaten into that. The mixture is boiled and cream (regular and whipping) is drizzled in. A little lobster dissection then takes place so that some of the tastier innards can be strained and blended into dry mustard, egg yolks and cayenne pepper. The lobster-mushroom mixture then gets beaten into that mixture, and the combined sauce is boiled and then thinned out a bit (but has become quite thick by this point). The lobster meat is shelled, cubed and sautéed in a butter-and-cognac reduction. The mushrooms, lobsters and part of the sauce are then combined and used to re-stuff the lobster shells, the whole thing is covered with the remaining sauce, we sprinkle on grated cheese and butter, and bake.

The result: a dish fit for a Child. And you can enjoy it tonight, without any of the work. We hope you’ll do just that.

Veal scallops, in the best of taste

One of our guests, heard commenting on tonight’s Julia Project dish, Escalopes de Veau à l’Estragon with Brown Tarragon Sauce: “Oh my, I picked the right dish!” Our presentation included spring peas and was served on the same thin, wide pappardelle pasta that accompanied our Chicken Fricassee of Tuesday night. The sauce for this dish is a bit lighter than that of the previous two entrees we have presented, but no less delicious for that, and redolent with the flavor of tarragon straight from our rooftop garden (each plate was decorated with a tarragon sprig). We hope you had the chance to enjoy; if you did, tell us about it!

Excitement is already building for tomorrow night’s dish, another masterpiece from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1: Foie de Veau Sauté with Sauce Crème a la Moutarde, Calf’s Liver with a Cream and Mustard Sauce. And don’t forget, the movie Julie & Julia opens tomorrow at area theaters. Save your ticket stub; if you make reservations for a party of four or more and show us your stub, you will receive one complimentary dessert per table. And what desserts we have to offer you: sinfully rich and sublime, whether it’s banana cream pie, raspberry-almond-and chocolate torte, carrot cake, peanut butter “s’mores” pie…save room!

We’re making plans now for which Julia Child dishes to feature in next week’s dinner specials. Watch this blog to see what’s coming next! If there’s a dish you’d especially like us to offer, make a request here — you just might see it on a future menu.