Scheduling a beer dinner on Presidents' Day allowed for some changes in my usual schtick. Instead of Beer Trivia--which Joe Skelly knows by heart by now--we sallied forth into US Presidential trivia and a grand time was had by all (including "Gentleman Jim" who was on a first-name basis with most presidents since Jefferson).
But this dinner was unique for another reason: it was the first dinner where every course was designed by one of Uno's favorite barmen--Moshe. Though I have personally witnessed Moshe's myriad mixology mastery(basically drawing my Ike's IPA or whatever seasonal Mike Sella has on tap), I had no idea he knew his way around the kitchen. But he apparently does.
The evening began for the nearly forty Presidential revelers with a cheese, cracker and fruit plate accompanied by a relative newcomer to the beer scene: Sam Adams Blackberry Wit. This delightful brew was reviewed in this space earlier, and it went very well with the course, if the many comments of the attendees were any indication.
The next course was the first of the Nouveau Moshe Creations--an appealing-to-the-eye vegetable plate consisting of tomato stuffed with crabmeat, roasted peppers, mozzarella and fresh basil, The tomato was accompanied by Yellow and green squash stuffed with riccotta and chives. It's anyone's guess how a kid from the Yeshiva knows about Italian cuisine, but it was fantastic. It was paired with Mike's Old Faithful--32 Inning Pale Ale, a session beer if ever there was one.
The next course was French Onion Soup with a Porter Reduction. The Porter, of course, was Mike Sella's knockout Gust 'N' Gale Porter, made in effusive quantities to satisfy the limitless cravings of the aforementioned Mr. Skelly.
Without a doubt, the Gorgonzola-encrusted Filet Mignon was the Piece-de-resistance, as the meat was perfectly cooked and cuttable with a fork. It was matched with Sam Adams Black Lager and the paring was perfect, again, based upon the feedback of the revelers. Black Lagers or Schwarzbiers are delightful in the right circumstances, and this was surely one. Roasty, but not as chewy as a porter or a stout, it complemented the steak like they were conceived together.Moshe, in a tip of the hat to European tradition, decided to deliver the salad course after the entree--it aids in digestion--and his mixed greens with hop vinaigrette worked beautifully with my favorite Uno's Brew--Ike's IPA.
The dessert course was a stout ice cream float-- a huge dollop of vanilla ice cream guarded by Lady fingers and covered with Dogfish Head's outstanding Chicory Stout. By the time it was done, Table #2 had won top honors in the Presidential Trivia competition, but everyone left with a token of achievement, either in the form of a gift certificate, a pint glass or a hefeweizen glass.
That they also carried out full bellies and smiles is a testimony to Moshe's Magic, not to mention Chef Jeff DeSheffy's (yes, that's his name) waving of the magic wand in the actual kitchen and Lieutenant Lenny's masterful handling of the serving duties).
It appears my buddy Moshe has talents beyond those of the normal barman. In a perfect world, he'd get a raise. But in this one, he gets a "Maseltov!" To check out the photos of the event, go here.
Cheers till next time!Kurt Epps--The PubScout