Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Light" and Delicious Dishes

I was invited to attend a holiday wine tasting event at Light Bistro the other night, and it turned into one of the best meals (and fun) that I've had in a while. Chef Matthew Mathlage is a genius. For $25 we enjoyed five wine tastings, courtesy of Tracey English at Private Reserve, and at least 10 different tapas. Mathlage is famous for his small plates and "tapas style", which is great because you are going to want to try several different dishes while you're there. All of the wine pairings were outstanding, so I apologize if I don't remember all of the delicious dishes that we sampled that evening. I was feeling pretty good and happy by the end of the evening if you catch my drift.

Here are just some of the highlights:
Assorted cheese plate with 6 or 7 selections
Shaved carrot and cheddar cheese salad with nuts, dried cranberries, and a citrus dressing
Beef carpaccio sushi rolls
Pepper-crusted ahi tuna with a pineapple chutney
Lamb patties with a mint, thyme, and cucumber yogurt sauce
Crispy calamari served over creamy polenta (one of the table's favorites)
Warm bread salad with roasted tomatoes and melted mozzarella cheese
...and the finale were house-made cinnamon and sugar dusted donuts with chocolate sauce.

"R" and I have been to Light once before and enjoyed the three appetizers that we shared. This event helped remind me that we need to go here again, and again, and again! It also doesn't hurt that they offer $10 bottles of wine during happy hour- which are also very good. Don't let the low price scare you away from these quality wines.

Light Bistro
2801 Bridge Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 771-7130

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Don's "Lit" Up the Night

During the last Cleveland Independents' gift certificate sale, "R" bought one for Don's Lighthouse. We are both seafood lovers, and we've heard good things about the food at both Don locations (other being Don's Pomeroy House).

Now I can't write about the atmosphere or decor because my boyfriend is a huge fan of sitting at the bar, and I happen to give in on this night. Is it just me, or do any other short girls out there have trouble sitting at the bar for a long time with your feet just dangling?! What does a girl have to do to get a supportive foot rest at a reasonable height for a shortie like me? We didn't even get a glance in the dining room.

So on to the food....We started with the Don’s Sampler- mozzarella & tomato napoleon, two jumbo shrimp cocktail, crab cake ($12.50). The napoleon included fresh mozzarella, olive oil, crostini, vine ripe tomato, basil, and a balsamic reduction. The tomato was sweet even though the season was certainly over, and the balsamic reduction added just a little "zing" to the dish. My only complaint was that the crostini was a little over-toasted. The shrimp cocktail was pretty standard, but good. Both of the Don's locations are famous for their crabcakes- each prepared slightly different. It had a nice fresh crab flavor, and the pieces were quite large. The sauce was tasty but not overpowering, and the corn added a hint of sweetness to it.

I ordered the George’s Bank Sea Scallops- cast iron seared, asiago pine nut risotto, swiss chard, lemon beurre blanc ($27) off of the Dinner Menu. Don's Lighthouse offers a Dinner and Lounge Menu, and both are available in the lounge which is nice. The scallops were cooked to perfection, and the lemon beurre blanc sauce was heavenly. The light sauce complimented the risotto and swiss chard as well, so I made sure to get a little bit in every bite. The risotto was very nice, and "R" stole several bites off my plate. He ordered the King Crab Mac N Cheese- penne pasta, king crab, grilled shrimp, manchego & asiago cream, English peas, lemon chive crust ($13). The dish was very rich, but very good if you are prepared for it. It was a beautiful balance of chunks of seafood, pasta, flavorful cheeses, and a little crunch when you mixed the crust in.

While it didn't become one of our top restaurants in Cleveland to frequent, I think we'll be back. Overall the food was impressive (besides the terrible dessert that isn't even worth mentioning), and we are always up for a good crabcake!

Don's Lighthouse
8905 Lake Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102
(216) 961-6700

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