I have crossed the first one off my 2012 "Top 10 To Dine" list- Bistro 185. Full disclosure- I've been to Bistro 185 many times for lunch, and a couple of happy hour stops, but this was my first time there for dinner (which is why it made the list).
Bistro 185 is located on East 185th Street, and quietly has gathered quite a local following. But, I feel, that this hidden gem does not have the popularity that it deserves. Since I used to work in the Collinwood neighborhood, this was a perfect spot for co-workers and I to pop out for lunch to, or gather for a cocktail (or several) after work. It is dark and cozy, with rich wood and deep hues. They have great happy hour deals in the bar area from 4:30-6:30PM on Mondays-Fridays, with drink specials and $5 small plates. Both the lunch and dinner menus are extensive, without being overwhelming.
On our maiden dinner visit, "R" and I shared the Medjool Dates starter that are stuffed with almonds, wrapped with bacon, drizzled with a balsamic glaze, and then topped with crumbled goat cheese. The order included five dates, and several large dollops of creamy, soft goat cheese. I really love bacon wrapped dates, and this version was no exception. The bacon was crispy, goat cheese present enough to add wonderful flavor, and the sweet dates worked well with the balsamic glaze.
I was in the mood for scallops, so I ordered the Pan-Seared Day Boat Scallops served with a butternut squash risotto and wild mushrooms.With only three medium-sized scallops, it was more "risotto" and less "scallop" than I had anticipated. The way that the dish is described on the menu, I think this is a little misleading. That being said, the scallops had a nice sear to them, and I enjoyed the rich risotto. There was more than enough for me to take home as leftovers. The chunks of butternut squash and diced mushrooms added just enough texture to the risotto, so that it wasn't just soft and creamy. I would order this dish again, but it would be hard to because several other dishes sounded tempting on the menu.
The prices are a little high, with most of the entrees ranging in the mid to high 20's. But the restaurant prides itself on sourcing local product, and they even have their own rooftop garden. They often have special events and themed dinner specials, so stay up-to-date by following them on Facebook and Twitter.
I'm happy to finally try their dinner menu, and to conquer one restaurant on my Top 10 list. It was a great first stop.
991 East 185th Street
Cleveland, OH 44119