Guest Blogger, Sean Ellis
Meehan’s Downtown Summer Series – Part III
Executive Chef Jordan Wakefield
Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
Sweetwater and Pecans – all Georgia ingredients
Let me begin by saying that I was grossly underwhelmed. After having a great experience with Chef Val at Meehan’s in Sandy Springs, my hopes were high. The night wasn’t made any better by the ANNOYING group at our table. If you don’t like beer – don’t come to a beer dinner. If you don’t eat fish, this is not for you. I would go on, but you get the idea. Oh, and don’t wear overwhelming perfume, body spray, hairspray, cologne, etc. You may like it, but when you’re in close quarters, it’s really rude to those around you. Sincerely, Mr. Manners
Onto the food:
The Amuse Bouche: Chicken Nacho. It was only one bite, and I wish I had more to sample. The chicken tasted like a really mild chicken salad. The vinaigrette was thick and creamy, and the jalapeno coleslaw had a subtle bite. There was a lingering spice when at the end, but all in all, nothing overwhelming. It was paired with Sweetwater Sch’Wheat – too much beer for not a lot of flavor. All in all, it was nice. Nothing amazing, nothing standing out – just kinda blah.
This ended up being the trend throughout the entire meal. I feel like pecans don’t have a big flavor, and maybe my palate isn’t strong enough to pull out all the flavors I was expecting to experience. If that’s true, then why bother. If I can’t taste it, what are the chances you can? Pork paté served with a homemade pickle, caviar and a pecan and bourbon marmalade. The caviar was delicious and salty, the paté was gritty. The flavors were excellent, but the texture wasn’t so great. Not a huge deal to me. I ate every bite. The “marmalade” was unlike anything I’d had before. Combine pecans, brown sugar and bourbon. GET IN MY MOUTH. Crank Tank Rye’d Ale was served alongside this dish. A good pairing. Smooth, and mild. Nothing outrageous that stands out in the flavors.
Pecan smoked salmon. The smoke was overwhelming as the dishes were presented. Paired with Sweetwater IPA. I had some trepidation going in to this dish. IPA is such a big bold beast, that to pair it with anything that wasn’t equally big, was sure to be a flop. The salmon was served on a Johnny cake that was so dry, I couldn’t choke it down. The pecan and lemon aioli complimented the salmon nicely, but sure enough, taste some of that IPA, and BAM – roundhouse to the back of your face. All the food went well together, it just wasn’t a great pairing with the beer. I’d probably have chosen a light citrusy saison.
Duck! Paired with Motorboat ESB, this was the best pairing of the night. Wild mushroom and pecan bread pudding (great), caramelized turnips (underdone), and pecan gremolata, a chopped herb condiment, had a great tangy, fresh taste that just brought a bit of color to the whole dish. The duck had a perfect doneness, although it could have rendered the skin down a little more. There was also some really nice flavorful toasted asiago or other sort of cheese mixed in to the bread pudding that gave it some additional complexity. The Motorboat is a nice mild beer (English Style Bitter) that brought a complimenting mellow bitterness to the dish.
Dessert: Pecan Waffle with Pecan Ice Cream and pecan brittle. The pairing was with Sweetwater Blue. Here’s a stretch, let’s pair Sweetwater Blue – with…BLUEBERRIES! What a great complimenting flavor! That was really unnecessary. The pecan (not) brittle was so hard to cut, let alone eat, that one nibble had me gnawing on my back molars for the better part of 10 minutes. The High-Road Craft Fire-Roasted Pecan Ice Cream was excellent, add in the actual waffle, and you have a win. I would eat that ice cream soaked waffle any day. But please, leave off the blueberries while drinking a blueberry beer.