Behind the Dish: Le Plaisir’s Truffled Pasta

Here’s all you really need to know about tonight’s James Beard dish: it’s pappardelle pasta with truffle paté, truffle oil, Madeira or Marsala, and a touch of cream — to which we are adding four lovely shrimp. Simple, and yet rich, creamy and special. Order it and start your weekend off right!

The James Beard Project: Week 5

Our apologies for the skimpy blogging on the Beard dishes this past week. We’ve had some assistance getting those posts to you regularly, and last week our assistance got sick. However, recovery is in process, so we look forward to being able to bring you regular “Behind the Dish” posts this week as usual.

For now, here’s the delicious lineup of dishes we have planned for Week 5 of the James Beard Project:

Monday, Nov. 30 — Old-Fashioned Chicken Fricassee with Shell Pasta (Beard on Pasta, p. 108)

Tuesday, Dec. 1 — Corn and Shrimp Chowder with Tomatoes (James Beard Celebration, p. 115)

Wednesday, Dec. 2 — Filet of Sole Casanova (James Beard’s Fish Cookery, p. 194)

Thursday, Dec. 3 — Navarin (French Lamb Ragôut) (The New James Beard, p. 395)

Friday, Dec. 4 — Le Plaisir’s Truffled Pasta (James Beard Celebration, p. 140)

Saturday, Dec. 5 — Roast Duck with Peaches and Bourbon (James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking, p. 84)

So, when you stare into your fridge this week at that turkey carcass, and the prospect of more turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey casserole, or turkey whatever just isn’t doing it for you, join us for more of the best of James Beard. We guarantee: no turkey on our menu!

Present and future specials: tonight, this weekend, this fall

We have some truly exciting things in mind for the coming weeks! Here’s a preview.

First, tonight’s specials will be basically the same as last night’s. For those wondering what the Soup of the Day is, it’s Chicken Vegetable Tortilla.

Now, for we upcoming weekends, starting tomorrow night, we have some real goodies planned, so make your reservations now if your mouth starts watering!

First, we’re going to feature amongst our specials this weekend a 14-oz. Veal Osso Bucco Cooked with Pureed Fall Root Vegetables, served on a bed of pappardelle pasta.

Then, starting this Friday and Saturday and continuing each weekend through the first two weeks of November, we’re going to offer a Bistro 185 Individual Clambake. It’s just like any other clambake, only each one is personal-sized: big enough for just you! Each person who orders a Personal Clambake will receive his or her own potful of goodies cooked in clam broth, including a “maris section” crab leg (the portion between the knuckle and the claw), a South African lobster tail, jumbo shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops, chicken thighs, redskin potatoes, and corn on the cob. Your clambake will be served with cornbread and melted butter so you can enjoy it to the fullest!

But that’s not all we’re working on that’s new and special. This Monday, October 12, the Bistro introduces its new Fall Menu, featuring some specials we think you’re really going to love. Here are some of the items we have planned:

House-Smoked Chicken with Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese: Replacing our Limoncello Chicken summer special, this treat will star our own smoked chicken with a combination of Gruyère, Brie, Emmenthaler and Parmesan cheeses on medium shell pasta, with black truffle, finished with a bit of white truffle oil. We like to call it “Ultimate Mac & Cheese.” We think you will, too.

Duck Three-Way: We’ve served duck the same way here at the Bistro since we opened. Time to change things up! That’s what we’ll be doing with this new dish: a duck ragout with a confit, served with a quarter roasted duck and sliced smoked duck breast. This creation will most likely be presented on a bed of pappardelle pasta.

Gumbo of the Week: We will feature a new and different gumbo each week. Next week’s will combine shrimp, chicken and andouille sausage.

Seafood Stews: We’ll be rotating a variety of seafood stews through our specials, influenced by different regions and countries, such as Thailand and Italy.

Cassoulets: Look for a rotating variety of cassoulets, including classic French and seafood.

Risottos: We’ll also rotate a variety of risottos highlighting various ingredients.

Julia Project Classics: We’ll rotate some of the most popular dishes we served during the Julia Project back through our fall menu.

A few items that are already on our specials, and have earned a permanent place throughout our fall menu, are our two most popular Julia Project dishes of all: the Lamb Shank with Baby Fall Vegetables and the Pork Tenderloin with Port and Prunes. We will also continue to offer our Calves’ Liver entree, which recently won Scene Magazine’s Best in Cleveland award for Best Liver That’s Not Foie Gras.

In the future, also look for another very special dish: Cornish Hen Wrapped in Bacon with a Ginger-Maple Glaze, Acorn Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Pecans, Roasted Shallots and Roasted Garlic.

To learn more about our fall menu, and to keep up with the nightly specials, keep checking this space. You won’t want to miss anything!


Behind the Dish: Steak Diane

A little inside baseball on how we’re preparing our Steak Diane for you tonight…

As Julia shows in the video we linked, Steak Diane is normally cooked in a pan, right along with the sauce with which it is served. Because we’re making a larger number of servings, however, it’s more efficient and logical for us to grill our filets of beef separately while preparing the sauce for the dish in a large saucepan. Fear not, however; the magnificent taste will still be there.

The basic elements of our sauce are butter, oil, brandy, shallots, parsley, mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, a bit of Marsala wine, and some pepper. To that we’re adding a unique Bistro 185 touch: black truffle paste and just a smidge of brown sugar.

When finished, our Steak Diane will go out on the plate with mashed potatoes and a little sautéed spinach on the side. Perfect for treating yourself or someone you love (or both of you!) at week’s end.

Julia Project Week 4 Is Set!

We’ve literally just selected our dishes for Week 4 of the Julia Project, August 31-September 5, and will be announcing them very soon. You will not want to miss these — we’re combining some amazing special-occasion dinner entrees with some terrific last-gasp-of-summer-style comfort food, and we’re even dipping into some of Chef Todd’s back pages to bring you one with a special touch from his past. Watch this space!

Join Us On Vacation — Here on the Blog!

Tomorrow we start our week’s vacation in Key West, Florida, a place where great food and fine dining are everywhere you look. Which is why, even though the Bistro will be closed tomorrow through the 30th, we’re not just leaving you at home pining for us to come back!

On our vacations, we never fail to discover new things and come up with fresh ideas to take home with us and share with you back at the Bistro. So, please drop in on the blog over the next week as we tell you about some of the sights, sounds and tastes we encounter during our trip. We’ll keep you up to date on what we’re experiencing, thinking about and planning to do next — and you can let us know what you think of them!