Saturday was the perfect night for the aptly named latest feast by Emerging Chefs. A beautiful September evening on the patio of Spice Kitchen & Bar under the start of a Harvest Moon was the setting for a fantastic seasonal meal celebrating local cuisine.
The , marking the beginning of fall. It has a striking orange tint and looks larger than a regular full moon. Before the days of electricity, the Harvest Moon would provide additional light so the farmers could harvest their crops late in the night.
Chef/Owner Ben Bebenroth and Executive Chef Brandon Walukas of Spice Kitchen & Bar were the perfect hosts for this event. Spice’s City Gardens behind the restaurant, herb beds surrounding the patio and rooftop potted garden were all harvested for this event. In fact, fresh herbs were cut between courses for our meal. Now that is really fresh!
We started with the most amazing soup:
A pink banana squash was pureed with just a touch of cream to a silky smoothness and topped with apple creme fraiche, fresh sage and micro greens. This girl loves her squashes and this was truly one of the very best soups I've ever eaten. The apple creme fraiche was the perfect touch to an already amazing soup. This was my favorite course of the night.
Next up was a cool and fresh contrast:
Heirloom tomatoes were tossed with sweet onions, mixed greens and feta with a truffle vinaigrette. I loved the mix of tomatoes, especially the green zebra striped variety - so pretty on the plate! I especially appreciated this salad because tomato season in Ohio is sadly coming to an end. A version of this dish is on their current menu - grab it while you can!
Our 3rd course was an Ohio favorite:
Crispy perch was served steaming hot on a cool bed of coleslaw with ramp tartar sauce. Panko bread crumbs ensured that the fish was super crunchy. This is not your typical fish fry for sure.
I was really torn when reading our menu for the night. We were going to either have cauliflower and wilted greens (some of my favorites!) or the fish. After eating the fish, I wasn't disappointed any longer!
The 4th course was one that I was drooling over as soon as I read about it:
Roasted pork loin was served with spaetzle, cubes of butternut squash and brussels sprouts ~ fall on a plate! I gobbled this up as did everyone at the table - it was a huge hit all around.
We finished our evening on a sweet note:
Hot apple bourbon cobbler with salted caramel ice cream - oooh la la! Loved the additional sea salt that was sprinkled on top for an extra crunch. I am definitely going to add a splash of bourbon to my next apple dessert at home - love the additional layer of flavor it added.
A Spanish sherry-like wine was poured with this course and it was very unique.
|(image from Amazon.com)|
There was lots of discussion about this sweet syrupy dessert wine. People either loved it or hated it. I thought it was the perfect pairing for this dessert! The intense flavors complimented the apple and caramel and was a perfect sipper for a cool evening. Bonus points to the chefs for this one.
After dinner, we were invited to experience the rooftop -what a view! There are plans to eventually open this area to diners and I can't wait. It will be a coveted spot in Gordon Square for sure.
If you haven't yet visited Spice, you really need to. Chef Ben is a super sweet guy with true talent. The menu is small but packed with great choices. They have unique desserts, a nice craft beer selection and cocktails that will make you swoon! You can even have them cater an event for you.
Emerging Chefs had another spectacular event. And check out what they have planned for October! Next up is an insanely decadent feast, "The Roaring Twenties" at Crop Bistro.
This one is a splurge for sure at $175 per person but it will be a dinner party like no other. Chef Steve Schimoler is going for the gold with a 3 act masterpiece of food where you will not only get to eat amazing food by one of Cleveland's favorite chefs, but you will experience all the beauty of this stunning restaurant including the vault. Rumor has it that there will be double digit courses. Period costume or black tie required for this glamorous gala. October 28th 6-10pm. Get your tickets here.
*disclosure: I was provided a media pass for Harvest Moon. This in no way influenced my opinions - my thoughts and words are my own. I've been a huge fan of Spice since they opened and regularly frequent the restaurant at my own expense.*