Please Cincinnati

 Please is the brainchild of local chef, Ryan Santos.
Chef Santos hosts pop-up dinners around town utilizing fresh (often local) ingredients.

After following Chef Santos on Twitter for the past year and hearing him speak at Creative Mornings, I was happy to finally get tickets to one of the dinners. Tickets are released via email list, on a first come/first serve basis. The gatherings are small, so the competition for spots can be fierce.

Due to a last-minute cancellation I was able to snag a pair of seats to the Biodynamic Wine Dinner hosted in Chef’s home in early May. Score.

My guest and I arrived promptly at 6:30pm full of anticipation but empty stomachs.
We were met with this lovely table set-up.

After introducing ourselves to the other diners, it was time to feast!

Chef came out prior to each course and took us through what we’d be enjoying.
Our sommelier for the evening, Lauren, took us through each biodynamic wine prior to dining as well. What’s biodynamic wine you ask?

Biodynamic wines are wines made using the principles of biodynamic agriculture. Biodynamic refers to both the agricultural methods and the handling and processing of the fruit post-harvest (Thanks Wikipedia!)

What I loved about the small group and individual attention was that I asked a million (geeky) questions about the wine and it certainly created some conversation around the table. Dining with like-minded individuals? A win. And I had even tasted the food yet.

But taste we did.

Note: All Menu & Wine listings pulled from the posting on the Please Facebook page.
I believe some of the actual ingredients may be slightly different from what was posted.

first course: asparagus, farro verde, chard, wild herbs
Faillenc Sainte Marie Corbieres Blanc, 2011

Off to an elegant start. I loved this dish. Not only was it absolutely gorgeous, the asparagus and tender herbs whet my appetite for more to come.

second course: carrots, woodruff, pig’s head, black walnut, mustard
Donkey and Goat Roussanne “STONE CRUSHER”, 2011

While this could have easily been written off as just “carrots”; it was so much more. A lightly sweet and savory dip into how effortlessly delicious Chef makes something as simple as carrots taste.

third course: lamb neck, bitter greens, buckwheat, peas, spring flowers
Montinore Pinot Noir, 2012
I loved this. The tender lamb, the strong herbs, the spicy radish. I could stopped with this course and been so happy.

fourth course: raw beef, morels, ramps, sorrel, turnips
Jacques Puffeney Arbois Rouge Poulsard, 2012 IMG_8588
But wait, there’s more. I loved this take on a beef tartare (or even a lamb tartare) so you know I was loving every tender, perfectly seasoned bite.

cow & goat’s milk cheese aged in sycamore leaves
Casa de Santa Eufemia Tawny Port
I never met a cheese plate I didn’t like, and this was no exception. The sweetness and the texture of the honeycomb accompaniment took this over the top.IMG_8593
Just pretty, happy things.

marshmallow with spruce, sorrel, yarrow and chickweed
Chateau Loupiac-Gaudiet Sauternes, 2010
Dinner finished with this woodsy dessert. I believe that was a woodruff ice cream, which I really enjoyed; it was herbal without being too overpowering.  I applauded the non-chocolate dessert option, but marshmallow is not my thing, so I tasted the ice cream but left the rest.

Overall, I think what Please is doing is a true testament to the growing food scene in Cincinnati. People are excited (and demanding) the type of local and sophisticated food that Chef Santos is bringing to the (beautifully set) table.

Looking forward to seeing more from Please. If I can get tickets.


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