Sunday, March 13, 2016

Fork - Ten-Ninety Beer Dinner/Knife Preview

I again returned to Fork recently for a beer dinner with Ten-Ninety Beer Company that was also the second preview for Fork's sister restaurant, Knife.  I had heard of Ten-Ninety before, but the only beer of theirs that I had had of theirs was called Pink Tie Saison which was brewed to support a Breast Cancer Organization.  The beers served on this night seemed to be there main beers and they were all pretty big.  All having an ABV above 9.00%.  After finding out how big the beers were that were being served, I was a little worried because I had biked there and depending on how much we were served, it might have been difficult to bike home.  In the past, they have been pretty good about being able to serve enough without getting their diners blotto, but I still was a little concerned.  We started things out with Ten-Ninety's Rancorous, which is an American Wild Ale with an ABV of 9.00% .  Wild Ales are called such because they use wild yeast for fermentation.  They tend to have a sour flavor to them.  While Rancorous did have some sourness to it, it also had some sweetness to it and kind of reminded me of a Belgian Tripel.  I liked it and it paired well with the first course, Lobster Tempura with Ginger Cranberry Orange Sauce.  The dish consisted of half of a lobster tail with most of the meat removed, battered, and fried, the shell was included, it was also battered, but the amount of work necessary to remove the meat was not worth the effort.  I would guess that the shell was included more for aesthetic reasons than anything else.  The ginger cranberry orange sauce was pretty complex with sweetness from the cranberry and orange, spiciness from the ginger, bitterness from the cranberry, and tartness from the orange.  It went well both with the lobster and with the beer.
Our second beer was an Imperial Witbier which, strangely enough, smelled of summer sausage.  It had an ABV of 10.10%.  It was very good, brewed with honey, didn't taste as heavy as a 10.10% ABV beer should taste, and went well with our salad, which, while it had all of the ingredients of your standard Wedge Salad:  Lettuce, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Hard Boiled Eggs, and Bacon, It did not look like a standard wedge salad.  All of the vegetables (and the lettuce) were grilled, the bacon was formed into a ring around the vegetables, and the vinaigrette used Avocado.  I am generally not a salad person, but I would happily have this again.

The beer pairing for our main course was Ten Ninety's Imperial Porter, another beer that didn't taste as heavy as a 10.80% ABV beer should.  It has the standard porter flavors of chocolate and coffee but it was also brewed with pomegranate juice to bring out the sweetness and a significant amount of Cayenne Pepper which gave the beer a fiery finish.  It was paired with steak, which makes sense because the strong flavors of each would be able to stand up to, and even complement, one another.  The steak was a 23 Day Dry Aged Strip Steak, Blue Cheese Crusted, and served with Creamed Kale and a Potato Gallette which is similar to a Potato Pancake.  The steak had a a funk to it as would be expected of a dry aged steak which was emphasized by the blue cheese crust.  The creamed kale lightened things up and what can be said of the gallette?  Potatoes go well with steak and who doesn't like fried potatoes?

The dessert beer was the biggest beer of the dinner.  It was called Jaggery Tripel and "weighed in" at 11.00% ABV.  The name actually tells you everything that you need to know about the beer.  It's a Belgian Tripel, a high alcohol alternative to a European Pale Lagers with a sweet finish.  The sugar used in this beer is Jaggery, a minimally processed date palm and cane sugar of Indonesian origin.  It contains a significant amount of molasses which, while also sweet, imparts a more complex taste than your standard cane sugar.  It had a lot of tropical fruit flavors and a friend suggested that it tasted as if it was brewed with a fruit cup.  In order to pair with such a big and sweet beer, the chef decided to do a "shock-and-awe" performance and served a Baked Alaska.  The description that the chef gave us when he described it made it sound really good.  It started with Yellow Cake and was topped with Tahitian Vanilla Creme Brulee Ice Cream.  This sounded good, but the dessert that arrived at our tables looked pretty white.  Baked Alaska's are supposed to be browned on the outside, so this was a bit of a surprise.
The reason that the desserts were white is because they were going to be browned at the table.  The chef had a pitcher of Over-Proof Rum which he lit in the pitcher and then poured, flaming on to the Baked Alaska.  It was a spectacular presentation but it was nothing compared to the actual taste of the dessert.  It was sweet, complex, and one of the best desserts that I have ever had.

I have been to Fork many times and they have never disappointed.  I will continue to return for their special dinners, and am very interested in the opening of their sister restaurant, Knife.       

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