As I reflect on my third Dinner Lab, experience a single word comes to mind, synergy. It was a truly collaborative effort of creative minds and local leaders. And it was pretty exciting.
The location of the September event was the most interesting of all of the Cleveland dinners so far. The site was St. Thomas Evangelical Lutheran Church, a sanctuary that won’t be around much longer. Brickhaus Partners intends to turn the property on Lake Avenue into a collection of luxury townhomes, and call it 95 Lake.
So as part of the experience, the developer, Andrew Brickman, and Cleveland City Councilman, Matt Zone, were on hand to talk about the big plans for the neighborhood.
And as an added bonus to the evening, there was entertainment this time. City Councilman, Kevin Conwell and his band, The Footnotes, played during cocktail hour and through most of dinner service.
The menu and the concept belonged to Chef Matt Mytro, (coincidentally, the same guy behind our Chef’s Table from last weekend.) He and his partner at Flour Restaurant, Paul Minnillo, like to combine old school Italian cuisine with the occasional modern touch. Mytro took this opportunity to take his modern approach to the next level.
First course was a warm burrata (a fresh Italian cheese made with mozzarella and cream) with vanilla infused potato chips and pickled chili. Innovative and tasty.
The second course was a mock beet salad with pistachio, whipped ricotta, dried olive and sorrel. It was definitely a favorite at our table.
My friend, Dani and I were still admiring the beautiful presentation when we noticed that her boyfriend, John, had already polished his off and was asking for seconds.
Course number three had easily the most tender swordfish I’ve ever eaten. Had to look up what “Alla bagnara” meant to understand how it was made…steamed in a garlic broth. Aha! That’s why is was so fantastic.
The fourth course was hearty and satisfying. Chef Mytro said they made the corn rigatoni fresh that day. But to me the lamb neck sugo (a rich tomato sauce) was the star of this dish. I could’ve eaten several bowls of that!!
Dessert was a familiar treat. The panna cotta sweetened with cereal milk that we’d enjoyed at Mytro’s restaurant, Flour, on Saturday. This time there was a toasted marshmallow, always a good idea.
I love these dinners for a score of reasons. But I appreciate them because they give me a reason to sit down through a relaxing service and enjoy my husband’s company, as well as those of good friends. Can’t wait to see what’s next.