Friday, March 26, 2010

Cocktail Pairing at PS7's

Sherette Williams was in Tonic marinating on a glass of Gran Marnier.  She told me that she found the perfect dining experience for Nicole and I.  Gina Chersevani and head chef/owner Peter Smith set up a cocktail pairing menu at PS7's in Chinatown.  Sherette said if Nic and I tried it, we'd "fucking love it."  

Then I happened to stumble upon Jane Black's article in the Washington Post about her experiance at this cocktail pairing. 

Needless to say, the sense of urgency had doubled.  So I asked Sherette to set up a reservation as soon as she could.    

She did.  We went.  And guess what...

We fucking loved it.

So when we arrived, Sherette had set up a spot at the bar for us.  They gave us this little menu which lays out the cocktail/food pairings that you'd be experiencing.  Each plate had some basic descriptions of the ingredients.  Both the cocktails and the food had some pretty imaginative names.  Many of the names had some sort of funny story behind them as we came to find out. 

From my perspective, the arrangement of the cocktails in the menu had a particular order.  In fact, I'd even say there was some symmetry, at least in the first part of the menu.  Here's what I mean:

Cocktail List:
a) Tea Punch
b) Cytron Sake
b) Soooo... Sake
a) Toasted Spice Punch

I realized also that we'd experience not only a symmetrical layout but also a slight historical progression. 

Did Gina set the menu up on purpose?  I dunno.  But it was fun to try and interpret it.

The first cocktail was Tea Punch.  Punch is considered the first version of drinks that we now consider to be cocktails.  British sailors had been drinking punch in their travels throughout the British Empire, especially India. In fact, the word "punch" is believed to be an Indian word (thank you Wikipedia). Anyway, the bartender tells us a little about the drink and how this particular punch was used by sailors to fight scurvy. And shlabadabading dong if it didn't kill my scurvy.  The pure lime was the most noticeable flavor initially. 

But once that initial lime flavor subsided you began to taste the other ingrediants.  The tea, the sweetness, the rum.  All of these flavors are bouncing off of each other, ready for interaction with our first course.

The Cast Iron plate was one of the most delicious vegetarian dishes that I have ever had.  A genuine vegetarian dish bursting with flavor.  I was sad to see it go so quickly. 

Did the Tea Punch pair with the Cast Iron well?  Sure.  It all had a very earthy theme.  The celery root, mushrooms, and the sweet potato were a great match for the tea.  Meanwhile, it kept things light with the citrus of the lime.  I got it.

Next, the Cytron Sake which I can't even begin to explain.  It had a very classic cocktail look.  The citrus garnish was an exclamation.  The curveball flavors of the sake and hibiscus tea.  It certainly wasn't lacking in flavors to explore.

The Red Bullet plate was fantastic.  Win.

The (snack pack attack) dish was the molecular side to the experience.  Thin, crisp, chip-like wafers.  Bite one, you taste popcorn.  Bite another, you taste beef jerky or a frito lay flavor.  It was a fun departure from the rest of the meal.

The best drink of the night.  It was called Soooo....Sake.  It was so good I crushed it well before receiving the Pho dish it was meant to accompany.  It was light and refreshing.  I fancied the pineapple trident garnish.  Believe it or not, this beauty had Miller High Life as one of its ingredients.  I could have drank these all night.  Bonus win.

At this point, you would have noticed that you had crossed the axis of the symmetrical menu.  Have I given you vertigo yet?  Anyway, the sake drinks mirrored each other.  Only this sake drink was little less classical and fitted a more contemporary sensability. 

The Pho dish.  God almighty I loved this dish.  The menu listed noodle, Thai basil, sprout.  The protein consisted of duck with a dabble of foie gras. 

Did it pair with the cocktail well? I couldn't think of anything else that I'd put with that dish.  Gina nailed it. 

Our next beverage was the Toasted Spice Punch.  The ingredients were Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, Navan, powdered sugar,fresh apple cider, orange peels, bitters, soda water and roasted cardamom pods/cinnamon sticks/whole star anise.  It was refreshing and clean.

I felt like this cocktail was meant to mirror the Tea Punch at the beginning of the meal.  The punch was a little more modern.  And it paired well the next dish...

The Tatonka.  Bison.  This dish reminded you why it is not a sin to be a meat-eater.  Nicole said that this animal died happy.  I guess I had never really thought of it like that.  Anyway, it was perfectly prepared.  I couldn't help but notice the crisp earthiness with the apple and the rutabaga.  It was delicious.

Effin Starbucks was a steamy, nutty, sipper drink.  It was accompanied by the chocolaty nugglet you see below.

Perfectly sized.  It was a hazelnut mousse with a chocolate coating and I could barely fit it into my stomach.  I liked the presentation: an almost Impressionist chocolate paint brush stroke.

Finally, we had the scorched milk.  By this time, I could barely remember my own name.  And, while I tried hard to record some of my thoughts for this blog in the moment.  At a certain point, the alcohol took a hold and I was loopy.

In the end, Gina Chersevani put together a great pairing and Peter Smith's dishes were wonderful.  Before the end of the experience, we had a great time chatting with the people that worked there.  

Thank you Peter, Sherette, Andrew, Eric, Frank, and Jason.  We had a wonderful time.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! I wanna get me some of that goodness.