Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Battle: Mint - Iron Chef America at The Greenhouse Tavern

CLE restaurant
Greenhouse Tavern
Sawyer Puppet in the house!
As soon as I heard that our much loved wonder chef Jonathan Sawyer was going to be competing on Iron Chef America, I was giddy! Not only is The Greenhouse Tavern one of my very favorite restaurants in the CLE but the chef is just an all around culinary genius and great guy. I couldn’t wait for him to return to Kitchen Stadium and show the rest of the country his mad kitchen skills.

I was even more excited when I found out that Chef Sawyer would be hosting a watch party/Tweet up at The Greenhouse AND I was able to score a highly sought after ticket thanks to some early morning last day of vacation goofing off on line. (insert happy dance)

All the fans were in a frenzy leading up to Sunday’s show. The Tweetdom was on overdrive with Tweets about #TeamSawyer (Jonathan Sawyer, Brian Goodman and Jonathan Seeholzer) filling up my feed for days.

So great to finally meet Farmer Lee Jones!


We arrived at 8:30 and sat with @WhyCLE, Clue Into Cleveland, Miss WineOH, and @TweetMeSlow and their significant others. The place was already hopping! It was a who’s who of the C-Town foodie scene. Lots of Tweeps and fellow bloggers were there including Smitten in Cleveland, @LoquaciousC, The Brewers Daughter, Michael DeAloia of Emerging Chefs, @Justin_McI, @BQRC23,, @lzone and of course the ever present regular at the Greenhouse, @JoeG2001. Also spotted were Chef Rocco Whalen of Fahrenheit and @DougTrattner.

As soon as the show started, the place went crazy! The battle between Geoffrey Zakarian vs Jonathan Sawyer was on! #TeamSawyer described the contrast between the two teams as Beards vs Manicures - love it!

Mint was revealed as the secret ingredient. There was lots of cheering and tweeting going on. We watched the show on TVs throughout the restaurant and kept up with the tweets thanks to a huge screen displaying the Twitterfeed. Nobody was really able to pay close attention because there was so much going on – total sensory overload! We were truly the noisy and boisterous Clevelanders that Chef Sawyer described us as. Thankfully the show will be re-aired so we can watch it again since I forgot to set my DVR! I want to actually see how he managed to make cheese for the raviolis – first time that’s been done on the show. 
Chef Sawyer on TV
...and watching himself on TV
We were excited to get to try some of the Iron Chef "mint bruisers" (another great Sawyer quote) for ourselves:
mint bruisers
Chevre salad and fritter

Mint Fritters with zucchini, feta cheese and preserved lemon

Chevre Salad with Ohio Lamb meat confit, crispy mint, lamb sausage, fresh chevre cheese, aged chevre and sexy chardonnay vinaigrette

Stoner Sandwich with shamrock semifreddo, fresh waffles, Sicilian pistachio and organic chocolate dirt
Jonathan Sawyer, Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland
this picture doesn't do it justice!
Antigriddle: it's a quick freeze cooktop
The absolute favorite of both the judges and mine was the Stoner Sandwich. It seemed to steal the show even though all the other dishes were great. That was in spite of the original batch of chocolate dirt biting the dust in a kitchen mishap and the Chef daring to use an Antigriddle for the first time for the semifreddo. There were lots of requests for this upscale ice cream sandwich to be added to the menu at the restaurant. If they do offer it when you are there, order it! It was fantastic. 

On WCPN on Monday, Dee Perry interviewed #TeamSawyer members Jonathan Sawyer and Brian Goodman and they revealed that this dessert is based on a Sicilian classic made with foccacia bread and pistachio gelato. I dare say that this one sounds even better than the original.

Gracefully taking 2nd as the winner is announced


Interviewing with class and style


After all the hard work the staff did that night, I gladly bought a Kitchen Coffee! For the cost of one drink, you buy the kitchen a round of beer and then get to ring the bell to let them know you did. I know that they were a happy crew that night because the bell was ringing off the hook.
Black Label Beer
Ringing the bell


Cheers to the awesome kitchen crew


great job!
So while Chef Sawyer and his team didn't get to take home the title of Iron Chef, they rocked Kitchen Stadium and had blast doing it. And they really made everyone very proud. We are very lucky to have Chef Sawyer here in Cleveland. According to Joe Crea of the Plain Dealer, "look for an upcoming special in Greenhouse's basement dining room, featuring the complete "Iron Chef" menu, Sawyer adds. It could come as early as Saturday night, when the show re-airs at 5 p.m. on Food Network." If you haven't done so already, you need to visit both of his restaurants and taste for yourself what makes Jonathan and his team so special.

And there's a rumor that there's a THIRD restaurant in the works in Uptown Cleveland by the new MOCA ...stay tuned!

You'll soon be able to buy Jonathan's famous vinegar - it's coming out of his basement and into his restaurants so you can try your hand at using them at home.
 


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