Just a short 45-minute drive from Fort Wayne, Cerulean at Winona Lake is one of the area’s most unique and exciting culinary experiences. It approaches food as inspiration – a source of joy and communion – and that’s exactly what you’ll find there. The atmosphere is fun and inviting. The menu fuses tapas, sushi and high-end dinners into a perfect combination of choices, each carefully crafted for quality and presentation. I love to share food, and that’s one of the reasons tapas has always appealed to me. Cerulean gave me the opportunity to truly experience my food – taking my time, tasting each bite and enjoying the company of friends. And the drink menu? Wowzers! Cerulean offers a full menu of creative craft cocktails like nothing I’ve seen anywhere else.
The menu at Cerulean is constantly changing, but you can expect to be overwhelmed with the locally-sourced, delectable choices. Here are some highlights from my visits.
Maple leaf duck bacon tomato, black risotto, endive ($9): Duck bacon? Yes! The duck bacon had a nice light flavor, and the texture was superb; not crunchy like typical bacon, but tender and juicy with a thin layer of fat on one side to lend richness to the taste. The black risotto was extremely cheesy and sticky, and I loved it. It was salty and comforting and complemented the smoky duck bacon.
Viking lamb sausage melon, mustard, cucumber-tarragon puree ($8): The combination of melon, sausage, mustard and cucumber-tarragon puree was savory and unexpected. The subtly sweet melon tempered the salty sausage, and the mustard added a delightful punch. It was served topped with edible flowers, which was a nice touch.
Gunslinger – tuna, avocado, tomato, cilantro, scallions, sriracha, lime ($10): This is the most surprising roll I’ve ever eaten; it knocked the wind out of me. The mix of flavors from the scallions, cilantro and lime gives this roll a heavy Mexican flair, but once the shock of that wore off I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did have to take a break after the first bite to regain my senses. I can handle spice, but this was a little much for me. A few bites in, I got used to it and finished it with ease.
Red dragon – tempura ebi roll topped with tuna, eel and eel sauce ($14): Though this roll could be compared to a typical tuna roll, I enjoyed the added flavor of the scallions. Plus, it served as a nice buffer after the smoking hot gunslinger. It is super meaty – meat on the inside, meat on the outside. Delicious!
Eel – unset eel, tempura asparagus, cucumber, topped with shrimp & avocado ($11): Eel is my favorite, so there’s very little that could be done to mess up this roll, but I especially enjoyed the added flavor and texture of the tempura asparagus. Normally, I steer away from rolls containing asparagus, but this one was delightfully appropriate.
Tiger – avocado, cucumber, carrot, red peppers, peanut sauce, ginger, lemon zest, scallion ($7): This roll is lovely. The peanut sauce is a nice touch and gives it a Thai flair. I also liked the taste of ginger in the roll. Normally, I eat raw ginger between each bite, but incorporating it was surprisingly pleasing.
Sunrise – eel, red pepper, snap pea, topped with avocado, shrimp, orange tobiko, and unagi sauce ($13): The most surprising aspect of this roll is the snap pea. It lends a very fresh and green taste to the other flavors, and the crispy crunch is impeccable. The creamy avocado and fresh shrimp blend together harmoniously, and the salty orange tobiko rounds it all out.
Cigar Box – Great Kings St. scotch, tobacco syrup, Green Chartreuse, Angostura, Ardbeg rinse and charred cedar bitters ($11): The waiter described this as a manly drink, reminiscent of an old cigar lounge, and it didn’t sound appealing to me at all, but one sip in and I was hooked. It is the most unique drink I have ever consumed – both spicy and soothing at the same time. And while, yes, it could be described as drinking a fine cigar, I found the layers of complementary flavors pleasant. It’s definitely worth the drive to Cerulean just to experience it.
If you haven’t been to Cerulean, I recommend making the trek to Winona Lake to do so. It is a bit pricey (our bill came to over $80), but for special occasions, this is the perfect spot. Check out the full menu on the restaurant’s website.
1101 E. Canal St., Winona Lake
11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Sat
5-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs
5-10 p.m. Sat
by Amber Recker
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Josh Johnson — Comedy at Calhoun Street Soups, Salads & Spirits, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $10, (260) 456-7005
Vince Gill — Country at Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $39.50-$79.50, 424-5665
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Community Orchestra — Mussorsky's Pictures at an Exhibition at Auer Performance Hall, Rhinehart Music Center, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 7:30 p.m., $4-$7, 481-6555
Open Mic Night — Variety at Checkerz Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 7-10 p.m., no cover, 489-0286
Scratch N Sniff 2.0 w/1/4 Kit Kurt — Variety at Deer Park Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 6:30-8 p.m., no cover, 432-8966
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Fort Wayne Karaoke — Karaoke at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — Variety at Office Tavern, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 478-5827
Three Rivers Karaoke w/Rob — at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
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41st SOCA Student Exhibition — Works from students currently enrolled at USF’s School of Creative Arts, daily thru April 30, Weatherhead Gallery, USF Rolland Art Center, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Fort Wayne Artist Guild Exhibitions — Works by Alice Siefert at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Jennifer Caudel at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, Anita Trick, Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Darlene Selzer Miller at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Patricia Weiss at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Emily Jane Butler at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Carolyn Stachera at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, John Kelty at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service, Wiletta Blevins at Town House Retirement, Karen Bixler at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Barb Yoder and Karen Harvey at Will Jewelers, thru April 30, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Rhoda Gerig: The Hope of Eagles — Photographic images of eagles, daily thru June 4, Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Exhibition of works by IPFW graduation seniors, daily thru May 3 , Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery, Main Library, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Senior thesis projects from Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates Brenda Drayer (sculpture), Derek Hibbs (printmaking), Ellen Mensch (painting), Nathaniel Morris (sculpture) and Kyle Snodgrass (sculpture), daily thru May 7, Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709