LaSalle Kitchen and Tavern, located on the third floor of the LaSalle Grill, has evolved into a gastropub concept. Its kitchen features a menu created by Chef de Cuisine John Bulger that changes monthly to highlight fresh and seasonal ingredients. The bar focuses on American whiskeys and craft beer, with 14 taps that are constantly rotating. LaSalle’s manager, Dave O'Block, told me there is always local or regional beer to choose from on draft.
Eric Strader writes about the craft beer scene in Indiana and Michigan. He’s a dad, husband, potter, soccer coach and special education paraprofessional who likes to read, bike, hike and canoe. You can read more from him in his community blog
for The Elkhart Truth, Hop Notes
Beer dinners and tap takeovers are not new here. In the past I have had wonderful experiences at beer dinners featuring brews from Upland Brewing Company and Dark Horse Brewing Company. This Thursday, July 24, beers from Burn ’Em Brewing of Michigan City will be paired with a five course meal at LaSalle. In the past LaSalle used one of Burn ’Em Brewing’s porters to braise short ribs, but this will be the first full beer dinner at the restaurant, O’Block said.
Steve Murray is founder and brewer at Burn ’Em Brewing, and I had the chance to meet him at the Blue Chip Brew Fest Preview. Steve was a bartender turned brewer at Greenbush Brewing Company before opening his own brewery in February of 2013. I was able to sample a few of his beers at this event, and I was quite impressed. They will definitely pair well with a menu from LaSalle Kitchen and Tavern.
Here is the full menu:
Charred Octopus Skewers
Salmon Pastrami on Cucumber
Heirloom Tomato on Parmesan Tuile, Aged Balsamic Glaze
Pale Alement, Extra Pale Ale, ABV 5.5%
Food and Brews
Grilled Prawn & Mussels Coconoats
Coconut Dust, Coconoats Ale Jus
Coconut Oatmeal Pale Ale, ABV 6%
Cold Smoked Duck Breast Red Zepplin
Bed of Radicchio & Mizuna
Red Ale, ABV 6.2%
Orange Peel & Mustard Vinaigrette
Woodear Rubber Venison Loin Black Beerd
Toasted Barley & Hazelnuts
Black Ale with Vanilla & Hazelnut, ABV 6.5%
Organic Blueberry Purée
White Chocolate Amaretto Mousse Joey Wheat
Duet of Shaved Chocolates Coffee Wheat Ale, ABV 6%
In my experience, pairing beer with food is lots of fun, and there really isn’t a wrong way to do it. But the two basic ways of pairing are either to find contrasting flavors or to compliment the flavors of the food with the beer selection – the later is the route chosen by LaSalle Kitchen and Tavern.
The brewers chose the beers and gave a suggested palate order, which generally begins with more mild flavored beers, then continues into beers with more bold, complex flavors and often higher ABV levels. Dave O'Block is a level one cicerone and assisted Chef de Cuisine John Bulger, who worked with fellow cook Ryan Emmons to create the menu.
I was able to contact Chef Bulger, and here are his notes on the meal pairings:
“For the snack course, we started with the lightest of the beers, the Pale Alement. In beer dinners (just like wine pairings), we start light and work to heavier, darker beers as the meal progresses. We paired it with charred octopus tentacles, smoked salmon pastrami and heirloom tomatoes. The heirlooms are just starting to come into season, so we are excited to be able to feature them. The octopus and pastrami-style salmon snacks are both very savory items, which hopefully will serve to wake up the guests' taste buds and prepare them for the meal to come. Since the Pale Alement is a light beer, it is a great one to serve with the snack course since it will drink well with about anything.
The first course is grilled prawn with mussels and a jus made with the paired beer, Coconoats. It is an oatmeal pale ale with a delicious coconut finish, and given the affinity of mussels and prawns to coconut, we decided to use the beer as an ingredient in the dish. Eastern Asian cuisine regularly uses coconut milk with shellfish, but we are going to use the beer instead to give the fumet a slight coconut flavor, and the dish will be finished with coconut dust to further accent this.
The second course is smoked and chilled duck breast over bed of greens with an orange zest and mustard vinaigrette. It is paired with Red Zeppelin, a red ale with mild levels of malt and hop to it. Upon tasting this beer, our minds immediately went to a smoked item to complement the beer's flavor profile. We chose duck breast because it is very flavorful, but is not too strong or overpowering. The bed of radicchio and mizuna adds some bitterness to the dish, and the orange-mustard vinaigrette serves to complement the flavor profile of the duck.
The entree is a woodear mushroom rubbed venison loin over barley with hazelnuts with an organic blueberry puree. It is paired with Black Beerd, an American black ale with flavors of hazelnut and vanilla. A black ale calls for a strong entree, so the earthiness and slight game flavor of the venison complements that well. The earthiness of the dried mushroom rub and barley add to the profile. The vanilla and hazelnut characteristics of the beer led to the inclusion of hazelnuts in the dish and will also complement the blueberry sauce due to the vanilla essence of the beer.
We chose a white chocolate-amaretto mousse to go with the Joey Wheat to finish off the meal. It is a wheat ale brewed with light roasted coffee, so the white chocolate and amaretto will serve to complement that flavor, as well as providing the creaminess and richness we as Americans look for in a dessert.”
It is not even breakfast time yet, and I am already salivating.
The dinner will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 24. Tickets are limited, and the cost is $65 per person, plus tax and gratuity. You may purchase tickets by contacting LaSalle Kitchen and Tavern at 574-288-1174.
LaSalle Kitchen and Tavern is located at 115 W. Colfax Ave. in South Bend. The restaurant’s hours are 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday and from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. LaSalle is closed Sundays.
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