Diners always hold their breath when a chef jumps ship from their favorite restaurant: Will the menu change? Will quality suffer? But the transition at Erie Bleu (4204 Detroit Avenue; 216-651-2538) -- from Warren Dolata to Bo Mueller -- is shaping up to be a smooth one. Mueller, a graduate of the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute and former executive sous chef at the Elyria Country Club, has been Dolata's first mate since the artful Ohio City dining room opened in February, and the two men have been working together closely over the past month to prepare for Dolata's departure. While Mueller expects to put his own personal spin on the seasonal offerings come fall, he vows that Erie Bleu's basic menu, which builds upon Asian, Mediterranean, and American flavors to create dishes of stunning intensity and depth, won't stray far off course.
As for Dolata, the Johnny's Bar alumnus will be reporting for duty in the kitchen at Mosaica, a soon-to-open fine-dining restaurant in Westlake. The new venture is being developed by partners Peter Diamantes and George Voutsiotis, two veterans of the local restaurant scene. Diamantes was Dolata's boss back at Johnny's, and now owns Athena's Deli and Restaurant in Avon Lake. And Voutsiotis owned the popular Georgio's in Lakewood until June of 1999, when a giant drugstore chain gobbled the restaurant up. Mosaica is located on the corner of Detroit and Clague roads, in the former Panorama space; the interior is undergoing extensive remodeling in an attempt to capture what can only be called a sort of "European castle" theme. Diamantes says the restaurant will serve "progressive American cuisine," which Dolata describes as American dishes piqued with Asian and Continental accents -- not unlike Erie Bleu. The restaurant is scheduled to open for lunch and dinner around the end of September.
Tackling hunger . . .
Get ready to take a big bite out of the local dining scene at the Taste of the NFL/Cleveland Browns Celebrity Dinner Monday, September 10, from 6 to 10 p.m. in the stadium's Office Max Club Lounge. This will be your chance to sample dishes from 21 of the region's best chefs, including Michael Symon (Lola), Marlin Kaplan (One Walnut), and Steve Parris (Fulton Bar & Grill). Delicacies include peanut-crusted sea scallops from Kosta's; fennel- and coriander-roasted duck from the Watermark; and Thai beef salad with potato noodles and red curry vinaigrette from Mojo. Then there's the foie gras . . . the yellowtail tuna sashimi . . . and the sushi-style beef carpaccio. And, for dessert, cotton candy from Century at the Ritz. Tickets are $150 per person. Sure, that seems like a lot, but besides giving you a real taste of the town, the entire amount goes directly to the Cleveland Foodbank, where each $1 donation feeds a family of four. To order, log onto www.cleveland.com/tasteofthenfl or call 216-514-8411, extension 223.
Tavern time . . .
Next week is the 12th anniversary of Rocky River's Linden Tavern (19865 Detroit Road; 440-333-1609), and owners Herb, Kevin, and Julie Eglinski are once again marking the occasion by rolling back prices to levels not seen since 1989. The week's daily specials will start with a $3.99 USDA Choice sirloin on Labor Day and end the following Sunday with 10¢ Buffalo wings. In between will be 49¢ stuffed portobello mushrooms, a $3.99 pierogi dinner, $6.99 prime rib, $2.99 peel-and-eat shrimp, and 99¢ domestic bottled beer. If you go, get there early; the event is so popular, the tavern doesn't accept reservations during the celebration.