Friday, September 6, 2013

Cibreo Italian Kitchen Opening

On Wednesday, "R" and I were fortunate enough to be invited to the Media Preview dinner at Playhouse Square's newest addition- Cibreo Italian Kitchen.
It's the new restaurant in the fleet from the Driftwood Restaurant Group of Scott Kuhn and partner/chef Chris Hodgson, with a nod to Tuscany right in the heart of Downtown Cleveland.
With gorgeous stone work, deep tones, exposed beams, wine barrels, and more...diners will certainly feel transported to another area. The old Bricco space is barely recognizable, in a good way. The space is warm, inviting, and rustic...just like the food.
We were treated to a five-course meal from Executive Chef Erik Martinez, featuring some of their favorite dishes from the menu. We started with a Sausage, Porcini, and Bean Soup.
Even after the following four courses, this soup was ingrained in my memory and remained a top favorite of the meal. I want more.

The second course was one of their traditional Italian risottos- the Risotto Funghi with porcini, truffle, shiitake, and pecorino toscano.
It arrived piping hot in a gorgeous clay pot. Consider yourself warned- this picture doesn't do the serving size justice, and you should consider sharing this dish. For the $16 price tag, it's a steal, and could easily be paired with some smaller dishes to make a meal for two. While executed well, and full of deep wine flavor, this dish ended up being my least favorite of the meal. Personally, I didn't think that the flavors were developed enough, and unless you were biting right into a piece of mushroom, then the earthiness of the mushrooms didn't shine through. Maybe paired with a bright, light salad and I'd care for this more? It was just too heavy, too much, and too one-note for me. I'd love to try their lighter versions of risotto in the Asparagus or Cibreo Pesto dishes.

Next up, the pasta. What is a good Italian restaurant without decadent pasta? They hope to eventually be making their own pasta in-house. We sampled the Bolognese.
The pappardelle held up well to the veal, pork, and beef in the sauce. Perfectly portioned to have the right amount of sauce to pasta ratio. It was a crowd favorite, and it certainly sparked my interest enough to want to try some of their other pastas.

The last savory course was my favorite of the evening. We had the Pork Osso Buco with brown butter polenta, gremolata, and swiss chard.
This dish was so smart. All of the components just complimented the tender pork so well. I made sure that each bite included some polenta and a bit of swiss chard. The brightness of the gremolata and the buttermilk in the polenta helped offset the richness of the meat. I'd order this again in a heartbeat.

What better way to end an Italian meal than with Gelato?!
We sampled the Passion Fruit and Nutella flavors. I lied before I tried them, and said "I only want one bite of each." Upon trying some, I went back for more. It was so creamy and light! Luckily, Michelle didn't judge me because she had just added a small scoop of the Nutella one to her coffee. Genius idea, by the way.

What a wonderful addition to the growing area, and I encourage you to check it out once they open to the public on Monday, September 9th. They will be open for lunch and dinner, featuring some special deals and a private event space. Welcome, Cibreo! We're glad to have you.

Cibreo Italian Kitchen
1438 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Media Preview with a guest, and received a complimentary meal and two drinks. I chose to share this experience with you. All opinions posted are 100% my own.