On Friday May 27th I attended the Mardi Gras en Mai event by Emerging Chefs. The featured chef of the evening was Chef Chris Quinn of US Food Services. Chris was very excited about this event because he had a vision for what he wanted to do with food and the Mardi Gras theme. When I walked into the door of 2020 Center Street on the West Bank of the Flats the feeling of Mardi Gras began right away. I was kindly greeted at the door and presented with an array of beads to wear to help get in the festive spirit. Also at the door was David Moss of Emerging Chefs wearing an outfit that only a picture could do justice to!
For the Amuse, we were served a salad of Micro Greens with a Jambalaya Puree and a "fleur-de-lis" cracker. This was perfectly balanced from the fresh and light micro greens to the rich and spicy jambalaya. The entire table was impressed how the heat from this dish was there, but never for a moment made you feel like the heat was too much. The cracker that came with this course was very light and fluffy and added a little texture to the greens and puree. Overall, I loved this dish!
Ettoufee pierogies, herbed creme fraiche and crispy crawfish tail. This course was served with a deconstructed Hurricane. The pierogie was thick, yet not dense, it remained light and fluffy in its texture. It was filled with a very flavorful and creamy spicy crawfish filling. The crawfish tail had a sugared crust on it and was a great little bite! Again, this dish had a perfect balance of flavor and heat. The drink itself was very interesting. The hurricane was in Jello form and served with a glass of grenadine. A very unique take on this drink!
Muffaletta with sea scallop mousse and tangerine sugar. This course was served with an egg that was filled with Ramos gin fizz, egg whites, sugar and orange flower water! The muffaletta portion was a piece of bread filled with an olive tapenade. When all of the pieces were combined into a single bite most of the table agreed this dish was the star of the night. The scallop and scallop mousse were so flavorful, but when a little sweet tangerine sugar was added to the salty side of the olive tapenade Chef Quinn really had created the perfect bite. Top that with an amazing gin and egg white based drink inside an egg shell and you have one creative course!
Voodoo chicken, cornmeal encrusted okra, spiced broth, and micro mustard greens served with a Sazerac. Chef Quinn explained that when he walked into the venue and saw the artwork, especially the old pizza oven, he knew he wanted to do a dish around voodoo. The chicken had good flavor thanks to the spiced broth and seasoning, but was slightly dry inside. The okra and microgreens added a freshness to the spicy broth which once again was showing well balanced heat. The drink for me was much to strong in terms of alcohol and cherry so I passed it along to another willing drinker at our table.
Mango Habanero Popsicle served with a mango and raspberry salsa . Yes this was as good as it sounds. Sweet mango, spicy habanero and the cool icy Popsicle...how could this possibly be bad!
Veal strip loin with an espresso rub and a bourbon and Dr. Pepper glaze. Served with a corn fritter, haircot verts and a couple Dr. Pepper jellybeans. The drink paired with this dish was a Syrah red wine. The veal itself was slightly overcooked, but thanks to the amazing bourbon/Dr. Pepper glaze and a bit of flavorful fat this was very tasty. The corn fritter added texture and the haircot verts were very tender and warm. The dry red glass of Syrah was a perfect compliment to this dish.
Beignets served with four types of sugar (raspberry, lime, espresso and vanilla bean) and a melted chocolate ganache. A perfect way to end the evening! I loved the beignets dipped in the chocolate and then the espresso sugar the best!
Sushi at Sunset on June 16th!
Also check out Mardi Gras en Mai recaps by WhyCLE, Poise in Parma, and Clue Into Cleveland!
Disclosure: I was provided a media pass to attend this event. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.