Olive, White, Whole Wheat Bread with Paprika Hummus
Charcuterie – Country Terrine, Mortadella, Duck Confit, Chicken Liver Mousse, Pork Prosciutto, House Made Slim Jim, Lamb Prosciutto, Duck Prosciutto, Lamb Sausage, Spicy Beef Sausage, Finocchiona, Pickles, Raisin Tomato Jam, Moustarda, Crackers
Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras – Apple Pie ‘ala mode’
Linguine alla Carbonara – Poached Egg, Pancetta, Truffle Oil
Pappardelle Bolognese – Ragu of Beef, Veal, Pork
Beet Fettucine – Goat Cheese Crema, Toasted Walnut
Polenta – Maple Glazed Pork Belly, Pumpkin, Sage
Carnaroli Rice – Butternut Squash, Mint, Oranges / Black Forbidden Rice – Candied Ginger, Shiitake, Macadamia / Red Bhutanese Rice – Red Wine, Red Apples, Red Onions
Spiced Pumpkin Nutella Parfait – Candied Hazelnuts, Rice Krispie Treats, Nutella Cream / Apple Torte with Butterscotch Buttercream – Fried Pecans, Cider Sauce, Apple Vanilla Ice Cream / Pistachio Mousse Tartlet – Orange Curd, Pistachio Biscotti, White Chocolate Orange Sherbet
One of Cleveland’s gastronomic old-guard, a modern-Italian and Mediterranean eatery housed in a former Bank in Tremont, Dante had long been a place worthy of consideration for a special event in Northeast Ohio, the recent launch of a 21-course tasting raising eyebrows though the daily a la carte menu had long offered plenty of room for variety with value.
Owned by Chef Dante Boccuzzi, his collection of restaurants now bolstered by the casual Dante Next Door and a Cleveland-based Pizzeria in addition to spaces in cities further East, entry to Dante sees diners met by a hostess podium lined with candy beneath low lighting, the ceilings reaching skyward as Motown plays lowly and vibrant paintings decorate the walls.
Seated and greeted by a young female server, the restaurant menu accurate to that online with the addition of a few daily specials, it was only after substantial discussion of plates and portion sizes that decisions were collected, a dozen plates served in five courses beginning with three housemade Breads and piquant orange Hummus.
Making everything from Bread, Pasta and Desserts to Charcuterie in house, those favoring a good board would be foolhardy to pass on Boccuzzi’s $18 platter serving no less than eleven Meat selections in addition to Pickles, Jams and Crackers, both Lamb selections as well as the Terrine and Confit particularly impressive, and by itself more than enough to serve as a proper meal.
Intrigued by the description of Foie Gras ‘ala mode,’ a seared Steak proving to be exactly that when plated next to an unsweetened apple pie topped in a slowly melting Vanilla sphere that added a mellow top note to each bite, course three presented a trio of pasta “tastes” alongside a creamy mound of Cornmeal, the Linguine alla Carbonara unfortunately a touch undersalted while the Beet Fettuccine and ribbons of Pappardelle were each exemplary beneath their rich Sauces.
Attempting to show some restraint by sending back part of the Mascarpone Polenta after finishing more than half, in addition to the roasted Pumpkin and Pork Belly, course four was clearly more than was expected from $6 Risotto tasting portions, the all-red Bhutaneese, Wine, Onions and Apples a pleasant shock to the senses by way of its focus on acid while the Carnaroli and Black Forbidden Rice were both appropriately textured, though slightly overwhelmed by the addition of poignant herbal ingredients.
Happy to see a dessert tasting also offered, essentially three half-portions from the menu at a cost of $18, one would be strained to fault any aspect of the complex Pumpkin Parfait or forgivingly light Pistachio Mousse with Orange Curd and Sherbet, the Apple Torte with Butterscotch nonetheless an overwhelming favorite as fried Pecans were melded to the cake by way of Ice Cream, dehydrated Fruit Chips and sweet Cider Sauce.