In the course of my work, I get invited to cover food events of all types, though namely ones that focus on beer. Like their counterpart the wine paired dinner, beer paired dinners are an opportunity to allow chefs the creative freedom to create dishes in an environment of creativity. It also helps that they are becoming more and more widespread and have been elevated into the lower echelons of haute cuisine. Who knows, maybe one day Daniel Boulud will host an event… oh that’s right, he’s already built a restaurant to focus on beer and the French brasserie concept. Kudos.
A few days ago I was invited to attend a particular beer dinner at the impressively deceptive 50 Ocean restaurant on the oceanfront of Delray Beach, right smack on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and A1A. Why deceptive? Because it’s housed right above Boston’s on the Beach and the Sandbar (their outdoorsy tiki hut themed, bikini wearing, tequila drinking concept). An elevator or small doorway just on the inside of Boston’s clues you in to make your way upstairs.
The dinner was a unique one in its concept: to move backwards through what would normally be the course order of dinner, starting with dessert and ending with an appetizer. Without too much more ado, here is what unfolded before us:
Course 1: Cherry blue vein clafoutis, brown butter shortbread, mocha caviar. Paired with 2015 Marshal Zhukov.
Course 2: Slow simmered akaushi, potato-pumpkin whip, crispy onion. Paired with 2015 Good Gourd.
Course 3: ‘Scalloped’ flounder, herb and garlic potatoes, Invasion Pale Ale butter. Paired with Invasion Pale Ale.
Course 4: Cedar key clam soup, lemongrass, candied jalapeno, cedar wood smoked steamed buns. Paired with Key Lime Pie Ale.
Course 5: Toasted oat streusel, raisin compote, foie gras mousse. Paired with Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ale.
These sorts of dinners are cropping up more and more. This particular one at 50 Ocean highlighted what Chef Malatesta could do with an array of sea and land based foods.
If you are able, keep a look out for beer paired dinners, as they are are wonderfully economical way of getting into and experimenting with elements of haute cuisine.