Join us for a Purple Feet Wine Tasting January 31

January at the Bistro is a busy month, and we’re winding it up with another event aimed at the wine lover in you. Our Purple Feet Wine Tasting with Hors D’Oeuvres on Tuesday, January 31, at 6:30 p.m. will feature these products from that eclectic distributor:

Sola Chardonnay–Mendocino County
Londer Pinot Noir–Anderson Valley
Sola Blend
Sola Napa Cabernet

Cost of the tasting is $25 plus tax and gratuity. Call 216.481.9635 to make your reservation at the bar to try this wine selection.

Mark your calendar for these tasteful end-of-year events!

Last night’s Vegan Thanksgiving was indeed something special…and we’ll be getting video and a review up over the next few days, so keep an eye out for them. In the meantime, get out your calendar–paper, electronic or otherwise–and save these upcoming dates to make sure you don’t miss out on any of our upcoming tastings, dinners or special offers!

“BLACK FRIDAY” SPECIAL RETURNS…Our “Black Friday Gift Certificate Special” was so popular last year that we’re bringing it back. If you’re having trouble thinking of the perfect holiday gift for people who seem to have everything, we can make your search simpler and less stressful. Stop in THIS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25 ONLY, purchase $100 worth of Bistro 185 gift certificates (in any denomination — one $100 certificate, two $50 certificates, one $75 certificate and one $25 certificate, or four $25 certificates) and you’ll receive a $25 certificate FREE! Give the special people on your list the gift of a relaxing afternoon or evening out, away from the stress and strife, enjoying a superb meal, and your thoughtfulness will be remembered a long time.

Remember, while we sell gift certificates anytime (and highly recommend them as the perfect all-occasion gift), this offer is good on Black Friday only, in person. Admit it, you were looking for an excuse to rest and have a bite to eat during or after hitting the stores (or even if you refused to hit the stores!), so why not relax and get a lot of your shopping done at the same time? You might even want to keep that free gift certificate for yourself…your call.

Here’s one more advantage: you don’t have to leave the house Thanksgiving night or at the crack of dawn Friday morning to take advantage of this special. Trust us, at 5 a.m. this Friday, we’ll be in bed! But come around during lunch or dinner, and we’ll sell you as many certificates as you want to buy. See you then!

WINE AND BEER DINNERS IN YOUR FUTURE… Remember our “Julia Project” in the summer of 2009? We had a great time together enjoying the world of French cuisine with our takes on the classic recipes of Julia Child. This Wednesday, November 30, at 6:30 p.m., join us for a wine dinner that’s sure to bring back memories of those special days. Our French Wine Dinner (see menu at the link) will feast you with five courses of incredible wine and dishes from la belle France. Sign up for this $65 happy flashback by calling 216.481.9635 to make your reservation now!

Is beer your preferred refreshment? You’ve still got time to reserve a spot at our UniBroue French Canadian Beer Dinner (see menu at the link) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, December 15. From Poutine with Duck-Fat Fries to Chocolate Creme Brulee, this menu will amaze you as you sample hearty beers brewed by our northern neighbors.

WINE TASTINGS TO HELP YOU MAKE YOUR PERSONAL HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT SELECTIONS… Love entertaining guests, but not sure which wines will suit your menu or are most likely to please? Maybe you’re looking for something special to sip by the fire this winter. Our December wine tastings are your perfect opportunity to try a few before you invest in a bottle. Our Tuesday, December 13 tasting, at $25 per person, will feature hors d’ouevres and four French wines: Jules Bertier Sparkling, Louis Laurent Vouvray, Brotte Côtes du Rhône and Chateau le Paradis Côtes de Bourg. We’ll have more information about the Monday, December 19 tasting, at $15 per person, soon. Both tastings run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. To sign up for either, call 216.481.9635 now.

FINISH OFF THE YEAR WITH A POP!… The holiday season is about tradition, and we’re continuing yet another so many of you have enjoyed: our year-end Champagne Dinner. For those who prefer a more civilized alternative to the New Year’s Eve craziness, this gives you the opportunity to toast the New Year early while enjoying a delightful variety of the bubbly and sumptuous food to go with it. Plan now to join us Wednesday, December 28, for “Amuse-Bouche,” our latest incarnation of this annual classic. Our $75-per-person menu will feature these five courses:

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

Be sure to call 216.481.9635 and reserve your place–this dinner is always popular!

One more tip: for those who enjoy hitting the town on New Year’s Eve proper, we’ll be offering something special this year. Watch this space for more details.

Oh, and while we’re open today and tonight, we are closed Thursday to give all our staff a well-deserved day to spend with their families. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Save the date: Wine Tasting this Monday!

We’ve added yet another event to the Bistro’s busy April: a $15-per-person (plus tax and gratuity) Wine Tasting next Monday, the 18th, from 6 to 8 p.m. This one will feature the following wines:

Line Shack Roussanne ’09
Uvaggio Vermentino ’08
Jam Red Blend ’08
Jam Napa Cab ’08

Hors d’oeuvres will also be available for purchase. Call now to make your prepaid reservation at 216.481.9635, and get your spring off to a great start!

Private Reserve wine tasting: eight high-quality wines for only $20

The Tenant returns with a brief review of this past Tuesday’s wine tasting featuring wines from Purple Feet Distributing and Private Reserve Wine Distributors. If you’re a wine lover, tastings like these are a deal you shouldn’t miss: you have the opportunity to taste eight high-quality wines for only $20. If you don’t know much about wine (that would be me), these tastings help you become acquainted, for not much money at all, with what kind of value you can get for your dollar if you learn a little about what’s out there.

Allow me to speak for a moment to my fellow wine naïfs (oenophiles, forgive me). If you’re like many people who don’t know much about wine, you may have come to the conclusion that only expensive wines can really be any good. And you might think that for sure, no good imported wine is going to be inexpensive. Wrong on both counts, as we saw, and tasted, Tuesday night. Of the eight wines we tasted, only one cracks the $25-a-bottle ceiling, and two are available for about $9 per.

A small word about the food. For the wine tasting, the Bistro extended its $5 Happy Hour appetizer policy until 8 p.m. This meant that while appetizers were additional, it was possible to purchase one or two and eat both inexpensively and well. My choice was the Pot Roast Sliders. I’ve had the Bistro’s regular burger sliders before, but not these, and they were exquisite: thick little squares of juicy, melt-in-your-mouth pot roast, on the traditional tiny buns, lavished with as many caramelized grilled onions as the burger kind. Accompanied by a generous mound of sweet potato fries, these make a great meal. (I recommend asking for a side of ranch or Gorgonzola dressing for your fries.)

Now, about the wine. Selections consisted of six reds and two whites, so for the red-wine fan especially, this was a treat, and each wine had something to recommend it.

We got a taste of both the white and red Esporao Monte Velho wines from Alentejo, Portugal. The white was described as “Aroma of floral and spicy fruit. Intense, elegant and well balanced” and a good accompaniment for grilled fish, shellfish, cheeses, and vegetarian dishes. It does seem suited to that purpose; it struck me as fairly dry, but with a nice soft fruity quality. As for the red version, if I were to pick a favorite amongst all the wines, this would probably be it. I really liked the intense ripe berry bouquet that this one gave you right off the top, not to mention the taste, which seemed a bit oaky without being extremely so. And at $9.99 a bottle for either wine, they’re a steal. If you want a really good, yet inexpensive, foreign wine, try the Portuguese.

Not to say that California doesn’t have decently priced, very good wines as well. We were poured two Havenscourt wines, 2008 Chardonnay and 2008 Pinot Noir, and each had things to recommend it. The Chardonnay has “creamy vanilla and lemon flavors enhanced by toasty oak aromas,” our literature said. I found it less dry than the Monte Veho, but not overly sweet either, just a nice balance. The Pinot Noir, with a taste that “hints of currants, ripe berries and violets,” had a powerful bouquet but a smooth, not highly intense flavor on the tongue. These are $8.99 a bottle — terrific bargains indeed.

The Castelnoble Tempranillo, from Spain, provided yet more proof that “foreign” and “good” doesn’t have to mean “pricey.” This wine, described as having aromas and flavors of black currant, raspberries, and toasted vanilla, had a bright flavor with a full, heady bouquet, with a spicy feeling in the mouth. It also sells for $9.99 — very affordable if you want a wine for an elegant dinner that doesn’t cost more than the dinner.

It was back to California for the 2007 Tin Barn Napa Valley Zinfandel, and it was a nice trip. Strong bouquet, nice and smooth drinking with a fruity, peppery-spicy flavor. This one is a little more costly at $19.99.

The Urano Malbec, an Argentinean selection, was described as “intense red fruit, hints of spice, subtle French oak, touch of coffee and tobacco. Solid with a pleasant finish.” I found it dense, fruity, and quite smooth and silky, but not with a terribly intense flavor — more subtle. If you like something that really jumps on your tongue, this one may not be for you, but if you like a really silky-smooth wine, it could be a perfect match at $12.99.

Last was the 2006 Ahnfeldt Provocative Cabernet. This Cab is actually a blend of 75 percent Cab, 14 percent Merlot, 1 percent Petit Verdot, and 10 percent Syrah. It makes for a spicy-cinnamony red wine that’s smooth with subtle hints of sweetness (cherry, milk chocolate, caramel, and currant, so the literature says). It was the priciest wine of this group at $25.99, but also a very nice choice in red wines.

If you couldn’t make it to this tasting, because of the weather or for some other reason, there’s still plenty of time to call 216.481.9635 and make reservations for the $10 tasting on Tuesday, the 25th. It’s sure to feature more very drinkable and affordable wines to tempt your palate.

The Wine Tasting is back on!

We’re going to make this twice-postponed wine tasting finally happen–and it’s going to be a doozy! Call now at 216.481.9635 to make your reservations for our Wine Tasting with Gabe Mitchell of Purple Feet next Tuesday, January 11. Cost of the tasting is $20 and hors d’oeuvres will be available for purchase. This tasting will feature the following lineup of wines:

Havenscourt Chardonnay
Havenscourt Pinot Noir
Tin Barn Napa Valley Zin
Ahnfeldt Provocative Cabernet

as well as four select Private Reserve wines, list forthcoming. You don’t want to miss this one!
And that’s not all! On Tuesday, January 25, we’ll have a $10 wine tasting with Barb Kelly, list of wines to come. Why not call and reserve for that one at the same time? We’re celebrating the fruit of the vine big time this month!

Tonight’s Wine Tasting postponed to Dec. 13

Wine lovers! Some bad news: we’re postponing tonight’s tasting event. The good news: we’re not canceling it altogether, just postponing it until next Monday, December 13. If you have a reservation for tonight’s tasting, you can call 216.481.9635 and reschedule for next week. Or, if you didn’t have a reservation for tonight, by all means feel free to make one for next Monday. You’ll love this opportunity to taste some terrific wines!

Hot News! Wine tasting Dec. 6; Vegan Dinner Dec. 15

The holiday season continues to heat up here at the Bistro!

Our wine tastings have become so popular that we’re adding another to the schedule for Monday, December 6. Four wines will be available for $10, along with hors d’oeuvres you may purchase in addition.

Not only that, but our Vegan Thanksgiving Wine Dinner was so popular that we’ve decided to offer a prix fixe three-course Vegan Dinner on Wednesday, December 15. This dinner will feature a vegan appetizer, entree, and dessert, all for only $30 plus tax and gratuity. Watch this space for the menu to be announced soon!

To make reservations for either of these events, call 216.481.9635 and prepare to enjoy yourself!

A reminder: Bistro 185 is in the running for “Best New American Restaurant” on the Fox 8 “Hot List”! Please vote here to help us win–voting ends December 3!