Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dinner in the Dark- May Event

Last night's Dinner in the Dark event was held at Washington Place Bistro in Little Italy. The event always rotates restaurant locations and charity of the month each time, so when I saw that May's dinner was being held at one of my favorite restaurants in Cleveland- I had to go. I had a feeling that it was going to be a good one, and it was.

Just check out the lineup...
A few of my favorites were there, including Adam Bostwick (formally of Melange and Hodge's) and Matt Anderson (Umami), and a couple of new chefs that I was excited to try. One was Fabio Mota from Club Isabella. I just haven't made it over to the restaurant yet since its opening, but I keep hearing good things about it.

We settled into the sunny back room of Washington Place Bistro, and were quickly served the signature cocktail of the night (pictured above). It was a light and refreshing take on a Tom Collins. Then came out the amuse bouche, an English pea and coconut milk panna cotta with black truffle honey and lemon zest.

We all really enjoyed this, and the truffle honey drizzled on the plate was outstanding.

First course came from Chef Matt Anderson from Umami. It was a huge chunk of Parmesan-crusted lobster meat served over first-of-the-season vine-ripened tomatoes, seared greens, and a sriracha vinaigrette. I really enjoyed this course.
Next up was Chef Nate Barker from the Welshfield Inn. Our second course was a scallop served with a pickled salad of beets, red onion, and shiitake mushrooms. Fennel, sea salt, and fiddleheads rounded out the dish. Have you ever had a fiddlehead? This was my first time. A member of the fern family, it is inedible after it opens and only has a four week season. Very cool looking, and this course was delicious.
Third course was a light and fresh asparagus salad from Chef John Selick at University Hospitals. He spoke briefly about their approach to food and serving the hospital patients. Who knew you could get such great, locally sourced whenever possible, food there?!
Then we moved on to the fourth course, a salt-crusted bronzini with pan seared black polenta and red pepper sauce from Chef John Roskowski of Washington Place Bistro.
This was our table's least favorite dish of the night. The texture of the fish was a little too soft, and we found several bones throughout. It took away from truly experiencing the flavors, as we were constantly searching for those bones.
In between this and the next course, we were treated to a durian mousse. Have you ever heard of durian? Apparently, the smell of this fruit is compared to sweaty gym socks and rotting garbage. Good thing it tastes better than it smells!
Our last savory course was from Chef Fabio Mota, and it was a sirloin ramen with rare beef, cabbage slaw, nori sheets, and a poached egg.
Unfortunately, the yolk of the poached egg had hardened by the time it arrived at the table. I think it would have only added to an already great dish. Guests were given painted chop sticks to slurp this course with, and we got to take them home at the end of the night. The flavors were well-balanced, and I had fun enjoying this dish.

Our last course of the night was from Chef Adam Bostwick. While it wasn't my favorite dish of the night, it certainly was the star of the evening! The menu pictured a baseball. What the heck is a baseball dessert going to be? We had fun guessing, but here is Adam's interpretation of game day.
He playfully created a soft pretzel bread pudding with beer caramel and Stadium Mustard ice cream. Yes, you read that correctly. Stadium Mustard ice cream, folks. Combined, all of the components truly did remind me of baseball game flavors. His own cracker jacks added great crunchy texture to the dish as well. Home run! If I was a sweet vs. savory person, this probably would have been my favorite course.

Overall, we really loved the meal. We tried two unusual ingredients, fiddlehead ferns and durian, and a great variety of flavors throughout the dishes. I am so glad that I didn't miss this one! All proceeds benefitted The Dancing Wheels Company & School this month.

Next up, they'll be at Fat Casual BBQ for an outdoor Dinner in the Dark in June.


Crystal @EatDrinkClev said...

I am SO sad I had to miss this one!! Still recuperating so I had to skip it. What a GREAT menu!!!! I've had durian before (frozen) and thought it was ok - but it had a funky flavor too. I much prefer fiddleheads!

Alicia at Poise in Parma said...

I saw the "baseball" course last night on Twitter and too wondered what Chef Adam would be up to...
All the courses look great. That panna cotta would have been right up my alley!

Sarah @ Cooker Girl said...

Wow, great menu! And interesting ingredients!