After the Times-Picayune article by Todd Price came out profiling me as a beer blogger and Root as a restaurant that valued the pairing of beer with fine food, we (me and the guys at Root) came together to talk about promoting/expanding/improving their beer menu. Root decided to host a beer dinner on August 27th. They invited me to choose the beer pairings based on the menu that Chef Lopez put together! Obviously a huge honor for me as well as an extremely fun project.
See below for the menu with the pairings. Many of the courses chosen are Root's most lauded dishes - the stars of their menu. Although I was given free reign to request any beer that is distributed in this market, I wanted to show how their beer menu as it is now complements the regular food menu.
The dinner will $75 per person, not inclusive of tax and gratuity. The beer will be served in five ounce portions. Reservations will be available by phone (504-252-9480) only for seatings at 6:15, 6:30, 6:45, 8:30, 8:45 and 9:00.
Amuse Bouche #1
Pickled Plums, Heirloom Tomatoes, Black Olive Powder, Lemon Balm “Caviar”
Amuse Bouche #2
Sweet Corn Gnocchi, Miso Butterscotch, Roasted Mushrooms, Huitlacoche Cream, Popcorn Shoots
* NOLA Blonde: Blonde Ale *
Roasted Tri-Color Pickled Beets with “Face” Bacon, Point Reyes Bleu Cheese, Raspberries, Gingersnap Beet Crumble, Candied Pistachios
* Samuel Smith India Ale: English IPA *
Grilled Compressed Watermelon Salad with Pimentón Tuna, Local Goat Feta, Avocado, Chili Lime Vinaigrette
* Bavik: Belgian Pilsner *
Middle Eastern Falooda
Cohiba Smoked Scallops with Chorizo Dust, Caramelized Cauliflower, Fennel Choucroute
* Rochefort Trappistes 8: Belgian Dubbel * (included the Beer Advocate review 'cause I've never seen a beer reviewed that high)
Herb Encrusted Lamb Loin with Parsnip Bark, Strawberry Shiitake Barigoule, Parsnip Mostarda
* Brasserie d'Achouffe McChouffe: Belgian Strong Dark Ale *
Yorkie: Chocolate Covered Peppermint Pattie, Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, Coco Puffs, Minted Milk
* Rogue Chocolate Stout *
I tried to keep diversity in mind while choosing the beers- although there are three beers chosen that were brewed in Belgium, they are different styles and different brewers. And the food that Chef Lopez creates is very well suited to the complex flavor profiles of the beers selected- if you look at the ingredients of all the courses, you'll see that the challenge was to find beers that were able to stand up to the strong and diverse flavors of the food while complementing it.
I kind of wanted to do something that wasn't a desserty-sounding beer for the dessert course; however, the Rogue Chocolate Stout is an EXCELLENT beer and went perfectly with the mint (which is a very dominant and tricky ingredient to pair) and the roasted chocolate flavors of the beer added a complementary additional chocolate flavor to the chocolate as used in the dish. It's a challenge to me to set my wish to be clever and daring and non-traditional aside, but I did so because I honestly believe this is a worthy pairing.
So! Make a reservation and then you can tell me if my palate was on point or totally off target. I'd love to have your feedback, as well as show other restaurants in town that beer is a beverage to be respected and reckoned with! The only way we can do that is to support events like this. See you there, I hope!