The chef who loves it| Forage Public House's Demetrios Atheneos
Fine art| A masterpiece of French cooking, this simple stunner ($9) layers brioche bread with Pennsylvania foraged mushrooms, balsamic syrup, shaved Parmesan, chives and microgreens. "It's real earthy with the mushrooms and rich with the beurre blanc," says Atheneos. "The balsamic adds a little bit of tartness and sweetness."
Seconds, please| Three or four years ago, Atheneos and his wife, Susan, had the hors d'oeuvre sent to their table by the maitre d.' Hooked by chef and owner Zack Bruell's savory take on a traditionally sweet item, the couple orders it every time they return. "I love the creative thinking," Atheneos says.
Spin off| Atheneos is such a fan of the L'Albatros dish that he makes his own variations, including mushroom crepes. "Right now, I've got a foraged Killbuck Valley mushroom bread pudding at Forage."
French connection| Bruell's creation transports Atheneos to his past gigs working as a chef at French bistros and brasseries in Florida. "It takes me back to my early days in classic French kitchens with classic French butter sauces," Atheneos says. "It's so good; I can't not get it."
L'Albatros Brasserie & Bar, 11401 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, 216-791-7880, albatrosbrasserie.com