Thursday, March 1, 2012

CLE Dinner Club Checks Out Fountain

It is really exciting when a meal or an event is so good that I just can't wait to share it with you. This is why I blog.

And it happened the other night at the CLEDinnerClub outing to Fountain in Moreland Hills. Located in the same plaza as Flour, and just a short drive down the road from the heart of Chagrin Falls, it was pretty easy for the west-siders to get to. When I walked in, I was struck by how different it was compared to what I was expecting. It was much bigger, and most of the dining room was split into small sitting areas with coffee tables, big leather chairs, and other soft seating. It was begging us to settle in for a bottle of wine and a slow meal of many small shared plates. We hadn't even tasted the food, and I already pictured us coming back. But the food, ahhh the food...

Our table of 14 was treated to a truly special meal, courtesy of Chef Brian Okin (of Dinner in the Dark fame)- who took over the Fountain kitchen not too long ago. There was a lot of food consumed that night, so I'll get right to it.

We started with shared boards of Charcuterie and Cheese, before the first course of a FOUNTAIN SCALLOP- seared scallop, speck, creamy polenta, and truffle honey oil.This was my favorite dish of the night, and it set the tone for the meal. The larger pieces of speck were a little chewy, but other than that the dish was exceptional and I'd love to have a whole plate of them. A perfect sear on the scallop, soft and creamy polenta, and the truffle honey oil just brought it all together.

Next up, WILD MUSHROOM CONSERVA- wild mushrooms steeped with fresh herbs and olive oil, frisee, and a poached quail egg.Frisee is just not a green that I personally enjoy too much, but that being said- it was a nice salad. The dressing was light and herbaceous, and the poached egg with the slightly warm mushrooms was delicious.

Course three was a LOBSTER PASTA- seared lobster, sweet and hot peppers, fresh basil, gruyere crema, and papardelle pasta.This was a crowd favorite at the table, and probably my third favorite course (and all three were close). I am a lobster nut, so when I saw the plate set down in front of us with a gorgeous half tail- I was thrilled. The gruyere cheese sauce was faint enough to let the rest of the ingredients shine, and the pasta was cooked perfectly. My only objection to this dish was the amount of cooked peppers. I love the flavor of peppers, but don't really like to eat cooked peppers. After finishing, we discovered that my serving had about double the amount of peppers in it. I should have switched plates with "R".

We still had two courses left to go, but Okin surprised us with two family-style plates to share as a "snack" in between the pasta and the final savory course. Here is a shot of the Seared Lamb with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes:The meat was so tender, and it stole the number two spot in my mind. During our "snack", we also enjoyed a Baked Eggplant dish.

The last savory course was up next- PORK OSSO BUCO- braised pork shank, seasonal roasted vegetables, creamy polenta, and gremolata.You just touched the meat with your fork, and it fell right off the bone. Even though I was pretty full at this point, I still managed to eat most of the meat, half of the polenta, and all of my veggies. The baby brussels sprouts and carrots were both delicious, and the carrots (from Chef's Garden) had a caramelized sweetness to them that was unique.

Now, I am not normally a "sweets" girl. Give me salty and savory any day, and I'm always going to choose a cheese plate for dessert when given the option. So, the fact that I was stuffed and we were headed into the final course- dessert, I was content in thinking that I was done. I was wrong, because this is what came out:It was a OHIO APPLE CREPE- caramelized local apples, brie, and a sherry raisin reduction. The crepe was light and fluffy, and the flavors of the sweet apples and brie worked so well together. Add in a bit of the sherry raisin reduction to your bite, and suddenly I had eaten half of it.

This meal was truly one of the best multi-course meals that I've had in a long time. Usually, you have at least one that doesn't fit your personal taste, or was a stumble in the kitchen- but not here. I think you can see that the menu was well-thought out and progressed nicely, and each of the dishes were executed with great flavor balance and beautiful presentation. Looking at their menu online, it appears that about half of the dishes that we enjoyed are currently on the
Cuisine Lounge menu.

It left me wanting more, and isn't that the point? I cannot wait to get back over there. A big thank you to Chef Okin and Fountain for hosting (and spoiling) us, and to Joe G. for coordinating these fun CLEDinnerClub outings where we all get to explore new places, enjoy wonderful meals, and meet new friends. The next one is set for the end of March at Washington Place Bistro.

34105 Chagrin Boulevard
Moreland Hills, OH 44022

Fountain Cafe and Lounge on Urbanspoon


Unknown said...

Loved the review, thanks for sharing your experience. Chef Okin did a wonderful job and you can't beat the value we got. Look forward to seeing you at another dinner soon.

Jen @ Why CLE? said...

Sounds fantastic! Fountain has long been on my must-dine-at list and this makes me even more anxious to check it out.

Crystal @EatDrinkClev said...

So sad this place closed! It was a fun close place for us. Prices were steep but the food was AMAZING!

Bite Buff said...

It has since closed.