No, we weren't blind folded and served scary foods; the 'dark' part refers to the fact that until service starts you don't know what you are going to be served, or the chefs that are going to be be preparing the six course, beverage paired menu.
Dinner in the Dark was created by chefs Brian Okin (Verve), Ellis Cooley (Amp 150), and Jeff Jarrett (Palate Restaurant) to bring together Cleveland's chefs and food lovers to share their passion and compassion. Ticket proceeds benefit a local charity chosen by the participating chefs. Last night's benefiting charity was the the Cleveland Sight Center.
Along with my favorite pie baker, Diane Sikorski from Humble Pie Baking Co., and her husband Steve, my dining companions included two fellow local bloggers, Nancy from Fun Playing with Food, and Tom from Exploring Food My Way, so there was a lot of photography at our table (with superior equipment to my toss in the purse camera), so check their blogs for the details I've missed. Expect better photos from them as well.
We started with a cocktail of Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon with Pinot Noir Syrup, Rose Water and bitters. I'm not a hard alcohol drinker, but this was really delicious. The floral notes and the syrup really balanced the bourbon. (I didn't finish it or I probably would have fallen asleep by the third course).
The amuse bouche was a delicious little tart filled with smoky caramelized onions and figs, topped with a bleu cheese ice cream and a crispy sweetbread. Created by Adam Bostwick from Melange.
|Amuse Bouche: Onion Fig Tart, Bleu Ice Cream, Sweetbread|
|Mushroom Bread Pudding|
Next up, a clever take on a reuben with slaw, a tasty kimchi with tart Granny Smith apples and a mini calves tongue sandwich on rye created by Matt Mathlage from Light Bistro. The sandwich was wrapped with a piece of parchment paper to give a bit of a 'fast food' look according to Matt, but more than a few dinners were a bit perplexed at first (including) me, thinking that perhaps the wrapper was some kind of edible garnish. Served later, with more drink pairings, the paper may have created some interesting reactions. It was paired with Piedmont beer, quite successfully.
|Kimchi with Calves Tongue Sandwich|
|Beet Salad, Blood Orange Gelee|
|Artic Char, Smoked Corn Risotto|
|Espresso Veal Strip Loin|
There was a silent auction for $400 in restaurant gift certificates as well as a raffle to benefit the Cleveland Sight Center. Dinner tab - a steal at $65, plus tax and tip.
There were amazing microgreen garnishes on many of the dishes hand delivered from the Chef's Gardens, whose lucky employee Mike and his wife stayed to enjoy the feast.
We'd paid upfront at the suggestion of waitress to make a speedier exit, but as we waited for the silent auction results, a surprise final treat was delivered to our table - Peanut Butter and Jelly Popcorn with Peanuts. The grape jelly had been reduced to it's concord grape flavor, and combined with the peanut butter and peanuts was a delicious, playful combination.
News channel 5 WEWS was on hand to do a story. Check out this clip for background on why the Cleveland Sight Center is near and dear to Chef Jarrett's heart.
Channel 3 WYKC was there as well, their clip here.
To see the secret menu, plus bios of the participating and founding chefs, visit Local Food Service here.
For one of my dining companions photos, including the cocktail and popcorn visit here.