Eugene's Turns Blue 

A Solon sushi stop rolls on in a new direction.

Eugene's Restaurant (28260 Miles Road, Solon; 440-349-1480) will soon become the Sapphire Grille and Sushi Bar. GM Dennis Em says his family will maintain ownership of the space, but they'll be bringing in new management, new kitchen staff, and a new chef, with an eye toward becoming a more upscale, contemporary dining room. The restaurant will remain open for lunch during the transition, but the main dining room will be closed for remodeling for the next several weeks. Two things that won't change are the sushi bar, with its zany "floating boat" concept, and the commanding presence of sushi chef Eddy Tse. An infusion of money and inspiration from a new investor is at the root of the changeover, Em says. The restaurant has been struggling for the past two and a half years to develop a clear identity and a strong customer base.

Hunger SOS

It's time again to Share Our Strength with local hunger relief agencies. For the second year running, Cleveland's Taste of the Nation will be divided into a "Culinary Series" of events, including a five-course Mardi Gras Brunch on Sunday, March 4, at The Inn at Turner's Mill in Hudson ($60/person); a 10-course All-Star Chef's Dinner on Sunday, April 1, at the Baricelli Inn in Little Italy ($175/person); and A Taste of J. Pistone champagne reception on Sunday, April 29, at J. Pistone Market in Shaker Heights ($60/person). All proceeds go to the Northeast Ohio Food Rescue, the Cleveland Food Bank, and the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland. Tickets can be purchased in advance at each host restaurant, or by calling the good folks at the Greater Cleveland Restaurant Association, 216-381-3800.

New chef on board

Chef Matthew Moore has moved into the position of executive chef at Lure at Bratenahl Place (One Bratenahl Place, 216-541-3900). The Dayton native has been cooking up a storm in Northeast Ohio for the past four years, most recently as sous chef at Lure Bistro in Willoughby and, before that, at Players on Madison and the late Tutto a Posto. Moore recently unveiled his new menu, and it sounds mouthwatering, with treats like Dungeness crab tart, pork loin confit, and green-peppercorn-crusted tuna among the contemporary offerings. Things are apparently going so well at his two restaurants that proprietor Nick Kustala is reportedly thinking about opening a few more.

Learn from the best

If you want to turn your own little kitchen into what Alison Cook of Gourmet magazine called "a small temple to local produce," who better to learn from than the master: Cleveland chef Parker Bosley. The proprietor of the eponymous Parker's Restaurant and Bistro Bar (2801 Bridge Avenue, in Ohio City; 216-771-7130) will share the secrets of his intensely seasonal preparations with students at the Solon Mustard Seed Market and Café cooking school during a demonstration class next Monday, February 12, at 6:30 p.m. The night's creations will include onions baked in celery cream; potatoes roasted with smoked pork; roasted beets with apricot glaze; and winter vegetables in phyllo, with thyme-tomato sauce. And yes, dear, there will be samples. Call the cooking school at 440-519-3663 to register; cost is $30.


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