There was some buzz about the restaurant when we arrived at seven o’clock. A woman with a rather professional looking camera was stalking about and someone who appeared to be the souse chef kept close tabs on what was going on in the front of the house.
There was an amuse bouche that arrived soon after we placed our order for the special menu served with a special beer cocktail that was most savory and refreshing. However, I slid my journalism fedora under the chair and enjoyed rather than recorded.
However, after that short respite it was time to get back to work.
The first course was a pan-seared Mahi-Mahi with crushed fava beans and smoked beets. It was served accompanied by Keith English Pale Ale. The Mahi-Mahi was crisp and flakey. The fava beans added a slight crunch with a citric tang that went well with the sweet smoked beats. The slightly sweet but hopped to style pale ale refreshed the senses and added a touch of richness to the sharp and sweet flavors of the dish.
Next was a favorite of mine, soft boiled duck egg over grilled asparagus, ramps and beer beurre blanc. There is a secret to how Chef Tim gets those duck eggs so perfectly done and I ain’t telling. The asparagus was grilled and that slight char brought out a sweetness that the rich duck egg and sauce embraced. A glass of Billy 18-Watt IPA kept the taste sensors from falling into that sensual trap.
Next came another favorite of mine Short Rib Steak… this was billed as ale braised short rib steak with roasted shallot butter, wild mushrooms and poached Yukon Gold potatoes. The touch of the roasted shallot butter added a richness to the short ribs that was truly decadent. The beef was fork tender and was given a rustic nudge by the mushrooms and who doesn’t like Yukon Gold? The brew of choice was called Dean PNW Mahogany Ale. It had just enough hop tang to allow the taste receptors to enjoy the richness of the butter and beef without being overwhelmed.
The coda was “Salted Chocolate Lager-Caramel Tart with Whipped aged Lager Cream. It was served with a glass of Rudy Rum Barrel aged Lager.
In my opinion salt and chocolate were made for each other so I was anticipating this one. The essentials were all there in a concert of syrup and flan-like chocolate custard. The pastry was crisp and the choice of brew added a touch of oak that went well with the salt and chocolate.
It was a low key event but I noticed just under half of the seating had ordered the special dinner. There were two four tops and three or four deuces.
The idea of offering a one-off menu to introduce your customers to a new line of beers is logical. The training of the staff to be able to answer questions about the beer and the reason it was paired with a particular dish is laudable.
Disclaimer: For over four years at least my wife and I have gotten to know Jack the Horse very well. Also, the quality of the pictures suffers because I will not use a flash in a restaurant.