Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Cleveland-Philly Connection

There are those among us who think nothing of driving 10 hours for 10 courses — you know who you are — but most of us tend to dine closer to home. On Thursday, March 3, Team Sawyer shortens the distance between Cleveland and Philadelphia by hosting Jeff Michaud, chef/partner at Osteria and one of that city’s finest young culinary talents, at the Greenhouse Tavern. Instead of traveling east for 400 plus miles to taste his food, all you have to do is get yourself downtown to East 4th Street.

Michaud is preparing an Italian inflected pasta-centric tasting menu that’s paired up, plate for plate, with Jonathon Sawyer’s distinctive French-inspired, locally flavored fare. My sneak peak at the particulars for the family-style, six-course feast made for a seriously mouth-watering read: Ohio chevre salad/shrimp with guanciale and zolfini bean ragout; salt roasted sea bream with sauce menuiere/capon ravioli alla Genovese; pan braised quail/ rabbit porchetta. The extraordinary beverages — wine, beer, cocktails, grappa, and cheeses — some making their Ohio debut straight from Michaud’s own affinage (aging cooler) are alone worth the $97 per person price.

Chefs from different restaurants and different cities joining forces to create one-of-a-kind eating experiences has become something of a trend, here and around the country. I posted a piece last July about what I called a staycation dinner at Moxie featuring a Turkish chef from NYC.

This is quite a match-up. The James Beard Foundation named Michaud “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic region” in 2010. Last week, Sawyer, already crowned by Food & Wine Magazine, was among the semifinalists for Beard’s “Rising Star Chef of the Year” award. With a duo like that there’s no doubt it will be a meal and night to remember, and one that provides conversational fodder for a long time.

I’ll be there. Forks lift off at 7 p.m. Reservations and prepayment required.

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