At first pass, white-jacketed chefs wouldn't seem to have much in common with burly Browns players. But for the second year running, the two have teamed up to bring a Taste of the NFL Celebrity Dinner to Browns Stadium, in support of the Cleveland Foodbank and Cleveland Food Rescue. This year's event will be Tuesday, September 19, from 6 to 10 p.m. in the OfficeMax City View Lounge, and will feature food from 20 area restaurants. Among the mouthwatering delicacies will be artisanal cheeses from Baricelli Inn, walnut-crusted lamb chops from One Walnut, roasted vegetable ravioli from the Fulton Bar & Grill, and banana pierogi with chocolate sauce and pine nuts from Lola. Further inducements to buy your ticket now ($150 per person; 216-619-7469 ext. 402) include the chance to huddle with past and present players and celebs like Playmate Heather Kozar -- who was recently intercepted from the arm of Tim Couch by Chicago Bears quarterback Cade McNown. Expect the excitement to extend beyond the food.
From the valley to the shore . . . Napa Valley Grille's soon-to-be-former Executive Chef Norbert Peissert is scheduled to dock in the kitchen at Pier W (12700 Lake Avenue, 216-228-2250) soon. Peissert, along with Pier W's GM, Kelly Underation, opened the NVG in Beachwood Place in late 1998; Underation moved on last October, and Peissert follows her tomorrow. This may be a turning point for the Pier, whose food and service has lagged behind its spectacular view in recent years. As for NVG, GM Mike Jurgens says not to worry: The restaurant is negotiating with one of the city's hot chefs.
French kisses . . . Todd Stein, top chef at Sans Souci (in the Renaissance Hotel, 216-696-5600), will introduce his new menu on September 6. Among the 30 new or revamped items, Stein says he is especially excited over the addition of what is becoming his signature dish, an appetizer of tuna tartare with celery-root remoulade, capers, and kalamata olives. Other contemporary reworkings of the French-country theme will include roasted chicken with herbes de Provence in a lemon-thyme reduction sauce, and scallops and shrimp with corn-and-bacon risotto, shiitake mushrooms, and red-wine syrup. Stein is ordering most of the restaurant's vegetables from the Chef's Garden in Erie County, a family farm that caters to the nation's premier chefs; look for gourmet items like baby turnips, teensy kohlrabi, and jewel-like beets on Stein's menu.
Small bites . . . Chef Mark Wilson is moving on. His last day at the Grovewood Tavern and Wine Bar will be Friday, September 8; his new gig at Gates Mills Grille (6807 Mayfield Road, 440-446-1166) begins the following Monday. We suspect the future holds plenty of promise for Wilson, who has one of the most robust and exuberant styles in the city . . . Say arrivederci to Piccolo Mondo, the Warehouse District restaurant purchased by the Hyde Park Group earlier this year. PM's last supper will be served September 2; then, the doors will remain closed for approximately two months for major remodeling. According to Hyde Park co-owner Richard Hauck, when the restaurant reopens, it will be with a new name and a new menu of mostly Mediterranean fare. Meantime, Exec Chef Mark Shary will be spending time at Hyde Park's recently opened Blake's Grille in Chagrin Falls, getting a feel for the wood-grilled items that may find their way onto his new menu.
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