Belgian Beer Dinner at Almond

Monday night Edible Manhattan teamed up with Stella Artois for a family style beer dinner at Almond Restaurant. If you remember I had lunch a while back at Almond and the place definitely needed some improvement. However I love edible Manhattan and for only $40 a block away from my apartment- why not give it a shot.

Since the event was sponsored by Stella, each course was paired with a different one of their beers. The first course, paired with the flagship Stella beer, was called Raw Bar for a Chilly Day.

This course consisted of Shrimp Cocktail, Oysters Rockefeller and Clams Casino. I’ll tell you right now this was my favorite course of the night. The shrimp they set down were huge and came with an excellent thick cocktail sauce. The clams casino had just the right amount of spice and breadcrumbs while the Oysters Rockefeller were absolutely wonderful. The spinach and cheese mixture atop the oyster made for a delectable bite of both brine and butter.

Our middle course was paired with a Hoegarden and started with a platter full of meat. Turkey & Oxtail Crepinettes; Chicken/Apple Sausages; House Cured Pancetta and Pickled Calf Tongue. I took one of everything and by far my favorite was the Pancetta. The meat to fat ratio was about 50:50 making the belly super moist but not completely artery clogging. No that was saved for what came out next.

Another platter full of meat! This was the Red Wattle Ham Chops and Cheddar & Jalapeno Bratwursts. Man that’s a lot of food! I was already heading into dangerous meat coma territory and this just pushed me over the edge. The man hosting the event told us this ham was about 60 % pure fat, making it incredibly tender. In actuality it wasn’t as tender as I thought but it was still tasty. My favorite part of this course ended up being the accompaniment of roasted vegetables. They had some serious delicious beets, scallions and potatoes all browned up and crispy. I could have eaten a whole bowl of just those.

For dessert we finished off with a Leffe Blond and a Warm Sticky Toffee Date Cake with Creme Fraiche Ice cream. I was worried this dish would be too heavy after all of the meat but the cake was surprisingly light and the crème fraiche tasted rather refreshing. I ended up polishing it off no problem (when do I not with dessert though…sigh).

Overall it was a enjoyable event. They were pretty good at keeping the beers filled and tables cleared and the place had a constant buzz the entire time. I’m not sure it changed my feeling about Almond but we had a nice time.