The art of the artisan

January 21, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

headerSo a while back you may remember that I wrote about a little place called Bar Sugo. You may also remember that I spoke very highly of the the chef and rightfully so. As of late they have been planning all sorts of wonderful culinary events that drive home just how talented and creative he and his staff are. The one we attended tonight was nothing short of amazing. A 6 course meal paired with wine and cheese from local vendors, Saugatuck Grain and Grape as well as Fairfield Cheese Company. This event was styled similar to the Iron Chef series on television. Little prior knowledge to the ingredients and instead of it being just about the food the wine was thrown into the mix. Craft Butchery was the one selecting the meats for chef Pat and his team to prepare and they ranged from dry aged beef to house made hot dogs. Each participant was passionate about their product and it showed as they explained it with each course that came out. First up on the menu was “soup and a sandwich” a combination of comte cheese, pulled suckling pig and a fried egg on top. This was paired with a chilled sunchoke soup and a glass of 2010 event & fils saint-veran, crisp sweet white wine. Being a huge fan of anything pork this was a great way to begin the meal. Great texture and flavor along with the sunchoke soup. Never had sunchoke before but will definitely have it again.

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The short of this dish is that it hit on all cylinders and got us excited to see what else was in store. Next up on the list was a trio of tacos, ironically there was nothing else to describe them on the menu and when the gentleman from Craft Butchery came by to fill us in on what was in them I was too busy enjoying them to listen. What I can tell you is that he mentioned something about tongue and cheek as well as that is what we were eating. This was paired with a german beer, Gaffel Kolach, a smooth flavorful addition to some fantastic tacos. On the side were three jars of toppings, a spicy cactus, pico de gallo and a pineapple jalapeño. All were fresh and spot on when added to the tacos.

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The third dish was a showing of hot dogs made in house at Craft Butchery. There was a white bean and stew take on franks and beans, a hot dog meatball and lastly a hot dog ash. They are hot dogs and believe it or not Pat made them fancy, refined and most of all delicious. These were paired with a 2010 Trimbach Gewürztraminer. Don’t ask what it means but I can tell you that it was one of the best white wines I have experienced. Germany has come a long way with it’s wine and this one proves that point to all of the non believers. Sugo3

Following the hot dog course was a 6 week dry aged steak 3 ways. First up was an espresso crusted steak with a pesto sauce to go along with it. Just wonderful and from what we were told an easy thing to make at home. Next up was a tartare. Never had it before this evening, but can say that I will have it again. Juicy, flavorful and great texture. I have to admit that I was always leery of eating it but not anymore. When prepared right this is by far something anyone could enjoy.

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Last was a pecorino tartufo, a great pairing as the cheese gave it the contrast to make it stand out on the dish. As I write this I feel compelled to tell you that Craft Butchery and the Fairfield Cheese Company are nothing short of amazing when it comes to their products. Knowledgeable, friendly and most of all passionate about putting out a great product. They took the time to answer any question someone had about just about anything pertaining to meat and cheese. Dish 5 was pan roasted gorgonzola gnocchi. A dish that I can say with the utmost certainty was great all around. The gorgonzola was so smooth and mild it was unbelievable. The woman from the cheese company explained that they actually scoop it with an ice cream scoop because it is so soft! Paired with the gnocchi was a lamb shoulder, arugula and raisin compote. Putting this all together and serving on a dish was just a reminder of how creative Pat really is and just how seamlessly he integrates his ideas.

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The final course of the evening was by far the best dish of the night and something that I pray he incorporates into the menu. Moullard Duck over goat cheese polenta, kale, sunflower seeds and an orange reduction. There are a million cliches I can use to describe this dish but I won’t, there is no need to. The flavor, texture and all around perfection of this dish are indescribable. Pat hit the mark on this one and I made sure to go in the kitchen and tell him. The last few dishes I mentioned were all paired with a red wine, 2006 fumanelli valpolicella. Great body, not over powering and a great compliment to the meat courses. Sugo6

Last up was a cheese course paired with a blueberry fig cake. There were three cheeses on the dish, a rogue river blue from Oregon, a Manchester goat cheese and a cowgirl creamery “red hawk”. The blue cheese was flavorful, fairly strong and creamy. The goat cheese was some of the best I’ve tasted and the red hawk was a great cheese as well. The star of the dish however was the cake. sugo9

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This was prepared by Megan who I had yet to mention. She is a new addition to the Bar Sugo team and one that I hope stays for the long haul. She is the wine and spirits director and also works on coming up with special events. These little squares of joy were her creation and she was kind enough to let us take some home and even share the recipe. Thanks Megan, I hope they only come out half as good! With all of this said the night was a great time all around, we had a table of fun people and it was nice hear spots of people impressed by what was being served. When a bunch of people passionate about what they do get together nothing but good things can happen. I look forward to the next event and want to thank Pat and his team for dealing with me in their way all night in the kitchen!



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