Cleveland chefs were in the national spotlight last night, and let’s just say they did a much better job than the other Clevelanders who were in the spotlight on Monday night (although I do believe the team is in for a great season).
To celebrate the new season of Dinner: Impossible, Bar Cento held a preview party last night featuring the menu Michael Symon, Jonathon Sawyer (who Symon kept referring to as “Johnny”) and David Lowe created for the frenzy of people at Alcatraz.
The place was packed – in fact, the whole area was packed, with every patio seat taken from Market Street, to Great Lakes and Flying Fig. It’s great to see so many people out in the city during the week. As for Bar Cento, nearly every table was full with eager people happily gathering to cheer on the new season and watch a couple of people from Cleveland make us proud. And Sawyer was nervously buzzing around getting ready – it was obvious how excited he was for the night and humbled that so many people came out to cheer him on. It truly was a festive environment and I am so happy I stayed up way (WAY) past my bedtime to join in.
- dates stuffed with tarragon, marcona almonds and wrapped in Dohar’s bacon
- wild mushroom crostini with lobster and chanterelle mushrooms with Roquefort
- white and green asparagus involtini wrapped in beef carpaccio, egg and horseradish with sauce Robert
- roasted baby vegetable salad with turnips, beets and Humbolt Fog goat cheese
- braised beef short rib with polenta and gremolata
- olive oil poached salmon with fresh fava and cranberry beans with Avgolemno
- strawberry napoleon with lavender lemon curd creme fresh and Chantilly black pepper macerated strawberries
While I (we) enjoyed everything (except the asparagus – that was the only thing I couldn’t eat because of the beef carpaccio), standouts for me were easily the dates, salad (that cheese alone made the dish), salmon and dessert. And yes, Sawyer even meticulously dusted “soap” on each one with powdered sugar.
When I first saw the menu, my initial reaction was ho hum about the salmon and basically giddy for the short ribs. I absolutely love braised short ribs, hands-down one of my favorite meals and have never been a huge salmon fan. Last night was the exact opposite. While I thought the short ribs were good, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed each bite of the salmon – and I liked it much better than the short ribs. Here’s to hoping that item makes its way to the menu as a regular.
I unfortunately never made it to any of the Iron Chef viewing parties at Lolita, but I have to imagine they were similar in atmosphere and spirit to last night. I was really happy we made it there with our friends and got to experience it first-hand. There is so much great stuff happening in our city, culinary and beyond, and it’s really something to watch.
Congratulations, chefs! Looking forward to the rest of the season.