It's been two years since acclaimed chef Parker Bosley closed his eponymous Ohio City bistro. And for the many fans of Bosley's conscientious cuisine, sourced almost exclusively from local farms, it has been a sad two years indeed. On February 2, diners will have a rare opportunity to relive his culinary magic when Bosley presides over a special guest-chef dinner at South Market Bistro (151 S. Market St., Wooster, 330.264.3663). This event is a homecoming of sorts, as Mike Mariola, South Market's chef and owner, was for three years Bosley's sous chef and disciple. "Parker did more to influence my thinking as both a chef and owner than any other individual," explains Mariola. "My approach at the Bistro is in many ways a daily homage to what I learned from this amazing friend and mentor." The five-course dinner, which begins at 6:30 p.m., will include a charcuterie plate of house-made duck terrine, fennel salami and smoked sausage; a brandade of salt cod and potatoes; winter vegetable soup; lamb and white bean stew; and sautéed apples in puff pastry with caramel sauce. Dinner is $48 per person (plus tax, tip and booze), and reservations are required.
With restaurants dropping like flies (add M Bistro and Bice to the list), it's nice to report an opening. Last week, Grotto Wine Bar (13101 Shaker Sq., 216.751.9463, grottoshakersquare.com) officially opened for business. Operated by Fabio and Ricardo Salerno, owners of Lago and Gusto, Grotto specializes in Italian wines and "tapas-style dishes." The focal point of the space is a 1,000-bottle stone-and-brick wine cellar. The menu offers options for small and larger appetites, with items like antipasto plates, osso buco sliders, calamari and grilled shrimp. In addition to a few soups and salads, heartier fare includes pizzas, pastas and "house plates." Brunello-braised short ribs are served with mushroom risotto; a prosciutto-wrapped pork tenderloin is served with black currant sauce; and a beef filet is topped with truffle butter. Prices generally are between $8 and $15. Grotto is open daily from 5 p.m.
On January 10, Georges and Claudie D'Arras suffered a devastating loss when their Olmsted Falls restaurant, Le Bistro du Beaujolais (8134 Columbia Rd., 440.235.8883), went up in smoke. Fortunately, nobody was injured in the blaze, but Georges says that the damage to the 1830s-era farmhouse was so extensive, there is no telling when he will be able to reopen for business.