Disclosure: I accepted an opportunity to share info about/attend Dinner Lab’s latest Cleveland pop up from Brickhaus Partners. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
As I teased on Wednesday, Hans and I headed to our first Dinner Lab experience to 1) celebrate nine years of wedded bliss and 2) to check out this new-to-Cleveland dining phenomenon. Brickhaus Partners‘ surprised everyone with the location of the dinner earlier that day: the soon-to-be 95 Lake complex, to be built on the location of the former St. Thomas Lutheran Church on Lake Avenue.
I have to admit — walking up to the empty, dated religious complex left me with an energetic shift: after the many years of it being used for the gathering for a spiritual purpose, I was slightly saddened for a moment knowing it was sitting unused. But upon getting inside, I felt another immediate shift as the 85 some guests plus Dinner Lab staff filling the space enlivened the environment with their excitement for food, community and surprises.
With a few loud clinks on a wine bottle, Samantha from the Dinner Lab team got things going, welcoming Chef Matt Mytro from Flour Restaurant to say a few words. His menu for the evening, Antico E Moderno, was inspired from his work in the Flour kitchen — definitely apparent in the Italian inspired dishes listed on the cards at each place setting.
Armed with a copy of Edible Cleveland and a handful of new culinary loving friends/dining mates — thanks to the long table seating arrangements — it was time to dine. Here’s what we had…
PreMeal Featured Cocktail, the Negroni Mytro
First Course: Warm Burrata with vanilla infused potato and pickled chili
Second Course: Mock Beet Salad with pistachio, whipped ricotta, dried olive and sorrel
Third Course: Swordfish Alla Bagnara with smoked lemon & potato, caper berries and garlic & parsley
Fourth Course: Sweet Corn Rigatoni with lamb neck sugo, tomato and ricotta salata
Fifth Course: Cereal Milk Budino with toasted marshmallow, cocoa nibs and banana
My thoughts? While I enjoyed certain aspects of the dishes more than others, I think Chef Mytro overall knocked it out of the park:
- The cocktail was tart yet refreshing, waking me up from a post-work slumber (there might have been a nap on a certain couch in Parma before arriving that evening) — also setting the mood for some excitement to come.
- The burrata was lovely, but it was the addition of the vanilla to the potato chips that had our table talking. Sneaky yet scrumptious.
- The beet salad was more cheese and less “salad” — not that I’m complaining what so ever — as the whipped ricotta was something I’d like to smear on a gluten free bagel every morning of my life. The creative use of the beets in the sauce “dots” (you’ll notice in the photo above) mixed with the cheese were a sweet, sweet treat.
- The swordfish was perfectly prepared, but yet again, the potato stole the scene –- its lemony taste suprising diners.
- The rigatoni was an extra special treat as Chef Mytro offered a gluten free offering for gals like me. The pasta was like no other GF option I’ve had before, and solidified my need to check out Flour in person STAT. By far my favorite course.
- The budino reminded me of a part pot de crème, part pudding — all deliciousness. The cocoa nibs were a nice finishing touch to the last course of the meal.
LONG STORY SHORT: I owe a big thanks to Dinner Lab, Brickhaus Partners and Chef Mytro. Not only did I have a fun and unique culinary experience, I made some new friends, tried some new ingredients, plus celebrated with the love of my life enjoying some of the things I love most: community, food and the reimagining of all that is Cleveland. Cheers to the team for making Wednesday night possible — here’s to many more Cleveland chefs being featured at Dinner Lab events!
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