They may not be able to swim over to your table anymore, but the tasty treats at the new sushi bar at Eugene's Restaurant (28260 Miles Road, Solon; 440-349-1480) do the next best thing: They sail to your seat on a little wooden boat! GM Dennis Em says he picked up the "sushi on a floating boat" notion in California, from whence all of the best gimmicks come. But even if the miniature fleet, which circumnavigates the oval bar at tabletop height in a narrow channel, brings to mind the Duck Pond carnival game, the "cargo" here is a heck of a lot better. Sushi chefs Eddie Tse, formerly of Otani, and owner/chef Eugene Em, who honed his skills at Shuhei, do a fine job with nigiri and maki sushi standards, with à la carte prices in the $4 to $6 range. In addition to sushi, Eugene's serves a full menu of steaks, chops, pasta, and seafood. The restaurant offers lunch Monday through Friday and dinner daily.
Courses of Action . . . Nearly all of us who love fine food share a nagging guilt: While we spend our days exploring the wonders of a $50 bottle of truffle oil or considering where our next great meal will come from, a little voice reminds us that more than one out of four of Ohio's children goes to bed hungry each night. No wonder, then, that Cleveland's finest chefs and restaurateurs are in the forefront of the war against hunger with events like the Taste of the Nation All-Star Chefs Series. The series -- three different meals at three different venues on three different dates -- began last week with a five-course feast at the Inn at Turner's Mill in Hudson, and continues on Sunday, March 19 with a hearty Winter Steak Dinner at John Q's Steakhouse (55 Public Square). The manly meal will feature the talents of the steakhouse's Steve Englehart as well as Norbert Peissert (Napa Valley Grille), Frank Belosik (Baricelli Inn), and Jim Gillison (Blue Point Grille); tickets are $100. On Sunday, April 9, comes the big blowout: the Fourth Annual All-Star Chefs Dinner at the Baricelli Inn (2203 Cornell Road). Among the kitchen magicians who will be feeding you so that others may eat are Michael Symon (Lola), Marco Klein (Sans Souci), Karen Small (Flying Fig), Steve Parris (Fulton Bar & Grill), Michael DeGeronimo (Salvatore's), Vid Lutz (Johnny's), and Leslie Minnotti (Baricelli Inn). Tickets for this 10-course extravaganza are $150. And remember: Every penny of your ticket price goes directly to anti-hunger programs. Call the Greater Cleveland Restaurant Association, 216-381-3800, to reserve your spot now. And maybe that nagging little voice will take a breather.
Grist for the rumor mill . . . One of the city's top young chefs, now cooking up a storm on the East Side, is looking to make a crosstown move to the happenin' Tremont area, where culinary artistry is better appreciated. No word yet on whether the new spot will replace or supplement the East Side location.
Happy Birthday? . . . LeFever's River Grille (2291 Riverfront Parkway, Cuyahoga Falls) marks its first anniversary this week. Owner Robert LeFever and Exec Chef Patrick Kunkel opened their restaurant on the river last February 27. Come warm weather, the wraparound deck is a prime spot for enjoying Kunkel's menu of regional American comfort foods.
Tips are encouraged
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