A hungry girl's adventures in Cleveland and beyond.

Last Tango in Tremont - Emerging Chefs

A hot summer evening. A hidden patio. Cool food to tempt the tastebuds. And cocktails by the drink-master himself. This was Last Tango in Tremont.

When I heard about this latest event from Emerging Chefs, I knew it would be something special. And obviously so did a lot of other people because this event sold out in a flash. 

Chef Brian Rosander prepared a meal that was composed of cold or slightly warm dishes in an effort to beat the heat. He encouraged us to take our time and savor the complex flavor combinations  as we sipped the cocktails created to compliment them by the Velvet Tango Room's owner and mixologist Paulius Nasvytis. Sip and savor we did!
The dashing owner of the VTR Paulius Nasvytis
(photo from )
I initially was disappointed that I wasn’t seated on the beautiful patio, but as the temperatures soared, I was thankful for the shade and air conditioning my spot in the "secret" back room offered.

This seat proved to be extra special because I was accidentally seated next to a Twitter friend I had hoped to meet in person for the first time that night – bonus! 

@anet414 IRL - awesome!

This brings me to my one complaint of the night - the seating. While the VTR offers the perfect setting for some nibbles and small bites to go with your cocktail, it was overflowing with guests and many of us had to balance our plates and silverware on our laps due to the lack of room on the tables. Especially for a blogger, this created a juggling act that was very distracting. But luckily, no major mishaps at our table!
The cocktails were sublime and everything you image when you hear Velvet Tango Room. If you have not yet visited, you must go run because you won’t believe how magical a great drink can be. No artificial anything, no mixers and no crap – Paulius is serious about his drinks and you will seriously LOVE them.
Thanks for working so hard for us ladies!
Chef Rosander got us off to a great start with his chilled pea soup. It was creamy without being heavy and popped with fresh pea flavor. And the dollop of fresh crab, morels and drizzle of oil elevated this simple soup to divine! The White Lotus had a kiss of honey and lemon and the cocktail paired perfectly with it - bringing out all that freshness without overpowering it.
Course two was like a bite of Cleveland: potatoes and sausage two ways. All we needed was a pierogi to make it complete! The mashed potatoes were enriched with blue cheese and were super creamy. This course was paired with my second favorite drink of the night - the Manhattan. Seriously, it will make you swoon not just because of the kick but because of the cherry. Imported from Italy and nothing like you've ever tasted before, this is not your typical maraschino. Yum!
Aligot-purple majesty and american potatoes, laguiole and cave-aged rogue blue cheese and toulouse sausage
Best. Manhattan. Ever. Get it just for the cherry.
Course three was my favorite. It was seasoned chicken topped with fresh roasted tomato and basil with a drizzle of basil oil. It was like a caprese salad but heartier and richer. Everyone at my table had the same wish - a slice of crusty bread to sop up all that juicy goodness. This course truly tasted like summer. It also included my favorite cocktail of the night - the Apricot Lady. This fruity refresher with a swirl of egg whites could be my favorite cocktail this summer.
Apricot Lady
Chicken Mousseline with Tomato Tarte Tatin
 Love how the juices ran into the basil puree and acting as a dressing
If only I had bread, this plate would have been clean!
I though this course would be hard to beat and I was right. The next course was good, but paled in comparison. This was a cold bread pudding type dish with chunks of pork belly and apples. I think I only had one piece of pork in mine and many stated they had the same or none. I liked the flavor of the pork but some other diners commented on not liking the texture so maybe it was good that I only had one. The dusting of powdered sugar reinforced that this should be breakfast in my mind. I also wasn't a huge fan of the Bershire Martinez cocktail that was paired with it - it was just a tad too bitter for me and really really strong.
Poached Pork Belly with Brandy Clafoutis
We ended the evening on a high note - the dessert course was a unique and interesting combination of creaminess, rosemary and chocolate. Sounds crazy right? My mouth was shocked by the first bite but by bite #2, I was digging in for more. The flavors danced on your tongue and were a wonderful combo. I loved the green apples too - that and the rosemary kept the creaminess in check. Loved it! The creamy goodness was echoed in the beverage choice - one of my all time favorites - a White Russian. The VTR's famous ice cubes were dusted with just a touch of fresh cinnamon that was the perfect compliment to the dessert. What an ending!
Ginger Fruit Tartare with Rosemary Cream Catalana & Chocolate Rosemary Ganache
These ice cubes are specially made in a specific shape and lower temperature than normal to ensure that your drink doesn't get watered down. Genius!
So it was another fabulous night thanks to the Emerging Chefs group. While the Velvet Tango Room isn't easy to find, it's worth the effort. Look for Chef Rosander to be announcing some big news (hopefully next week!) that will allow you to taste his food for yourself. 

In addition to the great food and drinks, they teased us by having the chef for their upcoming event come and say hi. 
Chef Jeff Fisher promised a heavenly feast at Sagra di San Rocco on August 3rd from 6-9pm. $50. It will be a family-style Italian party with wines from Tuscany DistributorsBuon appetito! Get your tickets here. You just might be saying "Ne voglio ancora" by the end!

*Disclosure: I was provided a media pass for this event. 
As always, my opinions are my own.* 

You can read some of the other bloggers post about this event by clicking on their name below:


  1. I love a guy with a spiffy cane! Nice touch! Thanks for the post! You got some really great photos!

  2. Looks amazing.

    You know...after living in Padua, my employers gave me a bottle of Maraschino liquer from nearby Torreglia, a town I almost lived (and where a friend of mine is from). It is definitely different than we are used to - :-)

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