Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Taste of the NFL 2008

Last night I was able to represent Nemo Grill at the Taste of the NFL 10th annual celebrity dinner. The goal of the event was to raise funds for the Cleveland food bank, along with other organizations helping to alleviate hunger. The event is held at the Cleveland Browns Stadium on the club seats level. This makes for a great venue, a perfect blend of sport venue, and plush upscale service. It’s equally enjoyable to work the event at this venue since everything there is on such a massive scale.

We offered pork shoulder confit over braised red cabbage. A very flavorful offering when your only presenting people with 2-3 bite sized portions. Everyone seemed to sincerely enjoy it. Most of the people we spoke to where not familiar with the restaurant. Hopefully a few of them that walked away with cards with come to the restaurant in get a larger taste of what we are doing.

The only down side was that we prepped almost twice as much food as we used. There where a lot of people there, and plenty of other restaurants exclaimed how busy they where, but we where slightly disappointed. Our table was all the way at the end of the venue, which wouldn’t be so bad if the venue was a straight and narrow shot, start and end. But in this case an escalator brings people up right in the middle of the venue, which is where all the action is; the booze and wine, the seating, the live and silent auction. You can’t blame them as it’s easy to find everything you need in that area without wandering to the far wings where we waited quietly to dish out our sampling.

Luckily at these event restaurants are more than happy to share with other restaurants and everyone gets to sample each others presentations. While I missed a lot of things I found the veal tortellini from Lago very good. The tuna from Players was full of flavor. The best thing I tasted was prepared by the Cleveland Browns chef’s and consisted of blue cheese risotto toped with a small piece of braised short ribs, tiny cherry tomatoes, and a strip of parmesan cheese. The reserved use of blue cheese added to the flavoring instead of taking over, and the burst of acid from the tomatoes really brought this little sampling together.

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