Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dinner in the Dark- Special Edition

Last night's Dinner in the Dark was a special version, and one that I am happy I didn't miss. Traditionally for Dinner in the Dark, six talented chefs come together to present a multi-course wine paired meal that leaves diners "in the dark" about what will be served and who is behind the dish. But they put that all aside this time, and recruited 20+ chefs to each do a tasting station. Taking place at AMP150, 260 diners descended upon the chefs and helped raise money for the Matthew Finkle Scholarship- which will help local young talent live out their dream of attending CIA.

Most of Cleveland's best chefs were in attendance, and there was a nice assortment of dishes to sample. There were quite a lot of pork dishes, but with bacon, sausage, tenderloin, pork belly...you just have so many good choice, so I see why several chefs had selected to work with it. We enjoyed strolling through the two rooms of tasting tables, but of course there were some highlights. First up was Chef Rocco Whalen's chicken spring roll from Fahrenheit, which is apparently on his regular menu and now I just can't wait to go and try the real thing. Also in that corner of the room was Ellis Cooley from AMP150, one of the founders of Dinner in the Dark, and his mussels were outstanding. Packed with flavor, and cooked right in front of you. I love a good mussel.SOHO is about to open on West 25th Street in Ohio City, so I was interested to try their dish. It was a light watermelon salad with a jalapeno vinaigrette. The heat of the dish overpowered it slightly, but other than that I loved the balance of flavors and light, crisp texture and it left my tongue dancing. Looking forward to their opening!Another personal favorite was the chorizo pierogi from Melange. I truly enjoy almost everything that these two chefs put out, and I need to get my butt over to Beachwood more often!One station that was causing quite a stir is Fat Casual BBQ. These talented chefs have worked through several great restaurants in Cleveland, and now they've opened "their" kind of place...with some wonderful meats and classic side dishes done well. It looks like we are headed there soon for their Friday special of slow cooked prime rib. One thing to note is that these guys have started catering for the Dinner in the Dark chefs during their regular monthly events, so that the chefs that are working so hard behind the scenes actually get to eat something that night as well. Overall it was a nice event, and it's always fun to see our city's best chefs gather together for a good cause. If you want to attend a traditional Dinner in the Dark, don't miss the June edition at Flying Fig! There are already only 38 tickets left for this event, so don't wait. Kudos to all of the chefs behind this, and thank you for a great evening.