light bistro (this week’s feast!)

We finally made our way to Light Bistro, which I wrote about for this week’s Feast. Although I thought it was a bit pricey overall, the food was delicious and if something had to replace Parker’s, I’m glad it’s this place. Here’s the post:

We met good friends of ours for dinner last night at Light Bistro. Since I’ve been reading a lot more about Ohio farms, I was eager to check this place out since it — much like the old Parker’s — celebrates the farm-to-fork movement.

The décor is pretty similar from when it was Parker’s — which is a good thing. I always liked the space, especially the exposed brick. Since there was a book-signing going on for the new Buzzard book, complete with Kid Leo, we were seated in a small room past the bathrooms. Until last night, I was never aware there was a separate dining area. This small nook was warm and cozy, with the rich colors, lots of brick and long flowing curtains covering the small windows.

To start off, I had a glass of Martin Ray Cabernet. This was a really good glass of wine, one I will definitely try to find at the store. For the first round, we each ordered one tapas to share: grilled flatbread with goat cheese, seared scallops with fennel salad, blue crab and shrimp cake with green curry and honeydew sauce and roast quail with heirloom apples.

I enjoyed each of these, especially the crab and shrimp cake. The mini quail was almost too cute to eat (it’s about the size of your palm). The flatbread had a lot of citrus flavor, which worked well with the goat cheese and flavor from the grill. I also liked the fennel paired with the scallops. I find myself enjoying fennel more and more these days.

For dinner, I ordered the tuna Nicoise served seared with haricots vert and olive mousse. This dish was good but not great. I enjoyed it, especially the olive mousse, but I wouldn’t be in a hurry to order it again. There wasn’t a lot of flavor overall and it wasn’t as memorable as some of the other items I sampled. My husband had the Ohio sirloin with French onion fondue and potato galette (from my interpretation, it was potatoes wrapped in phyllo dough). I am not a steak fan and would never order steak out, but I might make an exception for this. Wow — what flavor this dish had. I kept staring at his plate in hopes that he would offer more, especially of the rectangle-shaped potatoes. I’ve never seen potatoes prepared or served this way.

Our friend Kevin also had the sirloin and Kate, his wife, tried the pork tenderloin with sage pesto and gigande beans, which luckily, she shared. The beans were perhaps my favorite taste of the night. I was pleasantly surprised by how good they were. I don’t think I’ve ever had beans prepared this way — crunchy with lots of flavor but not overwhelming. I definitely need to learn more about how these beans were prepared in hopes that I can duplicate it at home.

For dessert, we split the pumpkin bread pudding with cream cheese sauce. Enough said. You know this is going to be a winner from the get-go.

Another thing worthy of a mention is the overall presentation of each dish. Everything was served on giant white plates in order to make each dish really stand out — and they do. A lot of time and thought went into plating, from the starters to the main courses. Even the bread, which was made with pancetta, was served in a simple brown paper lunch bag with the top trimmed off. It was as functional as it was decorative — what an easy thing to do. I love when a chef takes just as much time in plating as preparing. To me, that really says a lot.

As a final, unrelated, thought, if you’ve been enjoying all the art displayed in vacant storefronts along Euclid Avenue (perhaps on your way to Lola or Wonder Bar), our friends Kevin and Kate are the ones to thank. Kate jump-started the arts group Exhibit: Cleveland, which connects artists to these waiting display cases. Kevin and Kate are two people who are exceptionally passionate about our city and working very hard to make it a better place.

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