Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dinner at the Summit Restaurant

We introduced two of our foodie/wine-loving friends to the hidden gem in town called the Summit Restaurant. It's the fine dining establishment connected to the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State College, a neighbor of ours here in Clifton.
If you're not familiar with this excellent dining option, you really ought to check it out. The Summit serves dinner Thursday - Saturday under the guidance of professional chef Matt Winterrowd, assisted by top students from the culinary school.
We went on an extra-special evening when our city's top chef participated in the kitchen by contributing one starter and one entree to the already-enticing menu at the Summit. While Jean-Robert de Cavel gets his new downtown eatery ready to open later this spring, it was a wonderful treat to partake of his cooking--and his delightful personal presence after the meal.

Above are photos of some of our choices. My personal favorites were the stellar lobster duo (top photo), J-R's appetizer of lobster salad next to a cup of lobster bisque. It was even better than it sounds, thanks to Chef's inventive touches. I love how he selected common ingredients for both the salad and the bisque -- such as apple, watercress or black truffle -- and yet produced two distinctive but complementary taste sensations. As far as I could tell, most diners found this treat as irresistible as I did, along with two of the three accompanying me at our table.

Our entrees included Chef de Cavel's rich beef and bison preparation with a complex red wine/chocolate sauce and Chef Winterrowd's red snapper preparation. Both got oohs and ahhs from my companions.

Finally -- dessert. The chocolate one (second from bottom) was a hit at our table, but it's the final photo of my coconut cloud (I think it was called) that was my second-favorite dish of the night. I could eat that every night: very light coconut ice cream -- more like ice milk or granita -- with crunchy basmati rice and tropical fruits. It was not too sweet, not too rich and a positively perfect finish to a marvelous meal.

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