Take me back to Backyard BBQ & Brew where Pitmaster Mendel Segal and Chef David Benrey threw an epic event with precise beer pairings by Boulevard Brewery from Kansas City. I will apologize in advance, I am not all too well versed when it comes to beer as I am when it comes to food. So I am sorry that I’m not as detailed as some may like.
You can tell the Chefs passion and excitement towards the night, because what was supposed to be a 5 course meal ended in 8! The night started off with Chef David introducing himself. The humble professional that he is requested all feedback good and bad. Always looking to improve and master his culinary skills.
Ok now the important stuff. The first course was Short Rib Bourguignon Soup. Filled with soft meat and vegetables. Often the broth is too thick or too tomatoey I end up with heart burn, but the texture was perfect. Paired with what was my favorite of the night Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale.
Next was a perfect spoonful of Amuse Bouche with Heritage Kosher Foie Gras paired with an Unfiltered Wheat choice.
Following that was the only fish course on the menu; Smoked Salmon Ravioli paired with Kolsch. The pickled tomato salad was great. There were mixed feeling in the room. Some to think the combination of smoked salmon, fish eggs and what tasted like a lemony cream sauce were a bit too salty. David appreciated the feedback.
There were a few winners of the night. Without a doubt the Sous Vide Heritage Kosher Duck with Sunchoke Purée was out of this world!! It was a very generous piece of duck (which was nice. Most events like this give you a bite size portion for the amount of money you’re paying. Not the case here.) Okey dokey, bad to the duck.? PERFECT! The dates were sous vide and infused with maple syrup and spices, and burst with all the flavor in your mouth in each bite. Everything on that plate blended so well. The Sunchoke purée texture and flavors delicious. They paired it perfectly with Boulevard’s Jam Band brew. The only one of the night that didn’t taste like beer it was so sweet. So for all the non-beer drinkers, but want to look “cool” this is a good berry flavor go-to!
David and Mendel explained that to create the perfect Bao Bun take precise timing and effort. I honestly never made it, but I sure enjoyed eating it. The juicy smoked brisket was nestled in with a brined cucumber and onion salad. That extra flavor added such a good kick. This dish was served with a Whiskey Barrel Stout.
Patrami and Beer Braised Cabbage was next to be served alongside Hibiscus Gose. This beer was also light; I would say more on the feminine side. Each forkful of the pastrami and and baggage was great.
Another winner of the night was the Braised Short Rib and Yuca Frita. BUTTA!! The short rib was melting away in my mouth. The sauce mixed with the tiny chopped scallions combined with the warm yucca was BANGIN! I don’t know why yucca is so under the radar. There are so many ways to prepare this root vegetable. Together with The Calling Double IPA, I was humming from enjoyment.
I can’t believe they even thought about dessert after all these courses, but honestly I always have a little sweet tooth after a meal. Pitmaster Mendel and Chef David shared that this was the hardest course to collaborate on. I was curious was the surprise was going to be. When they described the ingredients used to create the dish, I was a bit hesitant. They mentioned a lot of coconut. It can really be a hit or miss. But as the song goes, “Hit me with your best shot,” and they hit me damn good. The curd, cornbread and chocolate mousse was not overly sweet not heavy. I literally scooped that cup clean!
Boulevard paired this well with their Bourbon Barrel Quad, which Mendel was so proud to point out the initials for that are BBQ, it was almost a sign to use it!
The turnout was strong, the feedback was great and the overall experience was incredible. I cannot wait to attend many more events from Mendel and David in the future. I don’t know how they’ll ever top this, but like every great chef I know they have it in them!