There are a lot of things to admire about the new Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern. They restored a legendary institution, and it can now be enjoyed by a whole new generation of Clevelanders. Their business model is based around hiring and helping musicians, because they understand the importance of a steady income to a budding rock star’s career. Perhaps even more impressive than these things, however, is the Happy Dog’s desire to foster a sense of community by experimenting with new and different ways to bring people into their bar and restaurant.
This week Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern debuted “Uptown Chefs in the Underdog,” a unique dining experience that draws upon the immense culinary talent situated within University Circle. Chef Doug Katz of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Provenance and Shaker Square’s Fire Food & Drink, teamed up with the Euclid Tavern’s own head chef, Daniel Garcia, to present an inspired four course Italian meal. Each tackling two courses, Katz and Garcia dazzled the palate with ingredients that stretched far beyond the Happy Dog’s usual hot dog toppings and tots.
Two exquisite parsnip agnolotti started the meal, accompanied by a savory broth, onions, chili oil, herbs and a garnish of thin slices of radish. Of the four dishes prepared, this Chef Garcia original was undeniably the highlight of the night. A refreshing salad of kale, brussels sprouts and pine nuts prepared by Chef Katz followed, with croutons composed of polenta and ricotta cheese. These croutons were so delicious they could have constituted a dish all their own.
Moving into the entrées, Garcia cooked walleye to perfection and complimented it with a medley of romesco, braised fennel and chickpeas. Housemade pork sausage finished the menu; served with a cauliflower puree, white bean ragout, fennel, carrots and peppers.
For the four dishes, a pairing of three drinks that included a classic Negroni, choice of Italian beer or red wine, and newly minted bourbon and gin cocktail called “The Mutt” perfectly complimented the meal.
The meal served for the inaugural “Uptown Chefs in the Underdog” rivaled the best of the best Cleveland cuisine. Here’s to hoping this becomes a monthly addition to the Euclid Tavern’s repertoire in their ongoing mission to bridge Cleveland’s East-West divide. With more meals like this, anything is possible.