Sunday, December 4, 2011

My first underground dinner

After getting a recommendation from a friend, I finally got the chance to try my first “underground dinner” provided by Entre catering. The location is kept secret until the day of the dinner. You have to put down a deposit and then you pay the rest of the amount, including the cost of your beer or wine flight, at the end.

This dinner was a little different in that they served only a beer flight because it was held at Perennial Artisan Ales brewery, in the old Coca-Cola plant, so I was looking forward to trying new beers in addition to the menu. The evening started off with a quick tour of the brewery…I say quick because it’s still a very small place, but the restaurant area where you can order food and beers has just been completed.

I could tell it was going to be a long evening since they provided two rows of lengthy tables, seating around close to 70 people, with only a handful of wait staff. I was fortunate enough to be seated near one of the brewers and his friends so I got to hear a bit more insight about the brewery.

Course 1: Cauliflower Panzanella, Parsley paired with a Southside Blonde

The first course was just a simple row of roasted cauliflower in a light dressing. I think it would have been awesome as a small salad instead of just by itself, but at least it was paired with one of my favorite beers of the night, the Southside Blonde, a Belgium style ale. Of course the light flavors were a good pairing with each other.

Course 2: Smoked Duck Consommé, Duck Confit, Kimchi paired with Hommel

Wes Johnson from Salt stepped in and saved the day for this course since he provided the duck confit when their shipment didn’t arrive in time. I’m always nervous about duck tasting too gamey, but I really enjoyed it even though it didn’t match up with the Hommel because of its bitter and hoppy flavor.

Course 3: Scallop Escabeche, Radish, Arugula paired with Saison De Lis

I think the scallops were my most favorite dish even though there were only a few on the plate. The scallops just melted in my mouth like butter and were decorated with adorable, little watermelon radishes. It was hard not to steal off of my neighbor’s plate for sure. I thought it was paired well with the Saison De Lis, which had a mild flavor.

Course 4: Quail, Wheat Berries, Black Walnut paired with Black Walnut Dunkelweiss

I’m not quite sure I’ve ever had quail before, but I was most looking forward to the Black Walnut beer because it was specially brewed for this night and was the best beer of the night by far. It had a smooth and mild flavor, but not too rich like so many dark beers can be. The quail, stuffed with sweet berries laid on top of a bed of squash, surprised me…I enjoyed it a lot even though it was difficult to cut the meat off the little wings. Hehehe

Course 5: “Pumpkin Pie” paired with Peace Offering

The dessert course was a surprise of pumpkin ganache on marshmallow fluff for a very savory dessert. Again, this went well with the…if you can believe, squash beer that Perennial made for the first time! A local farmer donated several pounds of squash and the brewery wanted to see what they could make with it. I was really impressed!

Resources:

Entre STL = http://entrestl.com/

Perennial Artisan Ales = http://www.perennialbeer.com/