Friday, November 9, 2007

Playing With Dante's Food

There has been a great buzz in Cleveland over the purchase of the former Lockkeeper's restaurant by Chef Dante Bocuse. This week, we finally got to play with some of Chef Dante's food (which is now also partially prepared by Chef Jeff Jarrett, most recently of Light Bistro and The Leopard). Although the service was a little strange, the food was mostly as fabulous as we've heard; I'm certainly looking forward to returning when I am feeling better (this silly fungus that's been bugging me since before Chicago has really put a crimp in my dining style of late).

We were warned about the addictive properties of the breadsticks:

They are light and crunchy and just a bit spicy - and it is really hard to eat just one!

Bread service arrived about the same time - cleverly served in a "modified" 331/3LP:

The bread was good, but not as good as those crunchy breadsticks!

For appetizers, Bob and I shared the Calamari and a Charcuterie plate.

The calamari was very good, though not the best I ever had. They do get points for including tentacles and not just rings!

The charcuterie was also good - but seemed like it still needed some development. My favorite was the duck prosciutto, which had a rich flavor. The fresh Apricot relish on the right was extremely well received. The duck rillette in the ramekin on the left was a bit of a disappointment - but I just had this delicacy at Alinea a couple of weeks ago, so it was following a very tough act.

As the servers brought our appetizers, it came to their attention that we had not gotten the evening's amuse, which was a tomato soup shot of some kind. Chef Dante immediately prepared an intermezzo for us, which was simply delicious:

Diver Scallop with Bacon

This morsel made me go "mmmhhh"!

Unfortunately for me, my tummy was not giving me a lot of leeway on enjoying the rest of my meal - I decided instead of the entrees to have the Tuna Tartar Appetizer and a "starter" portion of Gnocchi. The Dante menu is interesting in this way - there are several sections where the diner is given a lot of control over the food - pastas are all offered in three sizes. "Taste", "Starter" or "Entree". My "starter" portion could have been a meal all by itself!

Gnocchi with Fresh Sweet Corn, Bacon and Cream Sauce

The silky smooth pasta and sauce were just what my tummy ordered! Unfortunately for me, my tummy did not do so well with the Tuna, which I managed just one bite of:

Tuna Tartar over Fried Potato Cake

It was a lovely bite, though, and the leftovers made for lunch shortly after.

Bob's plate was lovely.

Hangar Steak with Mushrooms and Scalloped Potato

The steak was perfectly cooked to medium-rare, and was accompanied by the best scalloped potatoes I've ever tasted.

The best part about Dante is, well, Dante - he is a musician and infuses his large character into every aspect of the restaurant. His website. I look forward to trying Dante the Restaurant again soon!

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