Thursday, July 26, 2012

Man v. Brian Okin

That's the name of our new reality TV show- Man v. Brian Okin. I'm pretty sure that "Man" lost last night.

What am I talking about? Last night was another CLEDinnerClub outing, and this time it took us to Luxe. Chef Brian Okin (co-founder of Dinner in the Dark and former chef at Fountain) recently took over the kitchen, and we couldn't wait to see his menu changes. 23 of us gathered for a family-style dinner that was completely the chef's whim. The only thing that we knew would be included in the meal...a mystery meat from an "unusual" animal.

We settled in at our table with some of Luxe's delicious cocktails. The Bloom and Medusa are my personal favorites-- light, citrus-based, and summery. Then the food started to arrive-- stuffed zucchini blossoms (one of my favorite dishes of the night), fried talleggio with oven-dried tomatoes, their Mediterranean trio of dips with pita, the de-LUXE pizza with chorizo, the wild mushroom pizza, pork belly with poached eggs (a table favorite)... We thought that the meal was done.
Boy, were we wrong. That was just the first course! Next up-- salads. The table received three kinds of salad. This included a prosciutto and melon salad with arugula, kale salad with ricotta and avocado, and a shaved asparagus and fennel salad.
Honestly, I liked all three. I'm a salad girl.

Totally full, and almost calling "uncle"...we still had the main (and final, phew) course. This is where the "mystery" meat would appear, and we couldn't wait to see what it would be.

Chef Okin rolled out SIX different kinds of entrees for us, including: walleye in a dill sauce with summer vegetables, pork and chorizo sausage with creamy risotto (great spices!), chicken and mushrooms, Himalayan rice and beans, shrimp and grits with Ohio sweet corn, and the highlight of the night...kangaroo.
Here's Joe G. digging right in to the kangaroo.

I had no problem trying this unusual meat. Almost everyone at the table sampled some. Some felt that it tasted like a gamey beef, and others got a hint of lobster from it. Paired with blueberries and caramelized onions, I thought that it was a little tough but delicious!

Several of these dishes are available on the new Luxe menu (don't worry, the gnocchi with short rib is still there), but after our experience last night...I suggest checking out their Family Meal option. It's a two person minimum, but for $28 each-- Chef Okin will create a personalized three-course tasting menu for you. This is one talented chef, and I'd gladly blindly put my meal in his hands any day. I already can't wait to go back and try more. Perhaps on their fantastic patio with another Bloom in my hand.

Thank you, Joe G. for organizing another great dinner club outing (follow the club on Twitter at @CLEDinnerClub), and to Chef Okin for sharing his talents with us last night. "Man" definitely lost. I don't think that I am going to eat today.

6605 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH


Amanda @ Clue Into CLE said...

I could have died when they brought out the last couple of dishes. But I would have died happy.

That meal was one of the best I've had since moving here. Luxe definitely jumped high on my list of good eats in the city after last night.

August is a mess for me but I hope to make it to the next CLE Dinner Club.

Modern Musings said...

What an insane meal this was. Every bite was fantastic and the food was neverending.

On a sidenote, I had no idea you were 'Bite Buff' when I met you :) It wasn't until later that I figured it out. Lovely to meet you!

Jen @ Why CLE? said...

Everything sounds amazing! I can't believe you all got to try cool!

Bite Buff said...

Yes, too bad that we were seated so far away. I would have liked to chat. Next time!

Bite Buff said...

I forgot to mention the Brussels sprouts! I knew I was forgetting something. Went to Luxe for happy hour tonight, and had a tasty meal from the new menu.