My immune system is occupied with trying to fight off a cold, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to do an entry. I’ll busy my brain with this while my immune response kicks in. Do your thing, immune system! You rock!
Last night we went to the newly renovated and renamed LaSalle Kitchen & Tavern (née Club LaSalle) for a beer dinner featuring Boulevard Brewing Co. out of Kansas City, Missouri. We had been to one of these before and really enjoyed it, so when Ken get the email that another one was coming up, we thought we’d do another one! This was also our first opportunity to see the renovations at the place. I really didn’t notice much in the way of changed decor, although the sectional couch seems to have been replaced with tables. I’m guessing it’s more about revamping the menu then the decor.
It was a cold and blustery night, and the snow was really flying by the window of the third-floor restaurant, but the place is warm and inviting, and we were happy to enjoy a four-course dinner of yummy food paired with various Boulevard brews. The area rep for Boulevard was there and came around to talk about the brewery and the different beers. Really enjoyed talking to him, even though he didn’t know who the Rainmakers are. (Yes, we asked.)
We started with appetizers, paired with the 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer and the Bully Porter. I’m a big fan of wheat beers, so I really liked that one. The appetizers were grilled ham/provolone/Swiss sandwiches, mashed potato balls, and macaroni and cheese. The mashed potato balls sound weird, but they were pretty tasty, with some earthy mushrooms in there, and a good flavor. The sandwiches were also good, but I stuck with one, because I didn’t want to eat too many appetizers! I made an exception for the mac and cheese, which was the standout for me. Nice and creamy, with a hint of garlic. Delicious! I would eat that for a main course.
The first course was Jerked Shrimp & Scallop with a black bean empanada and mango & papaya salsa. This was paired with Pop-Up Session IPA, a nice smooth, low alcohol IPA. The scallop was wonderful and tender, and the salsa was a fresh, sweet addition to the spiciness of the seafood. The empanada was also very tasty.
The second course was Smoked Rainbow Trout with grilled brioche, fennel & apple horseradish jam, and Bull’s Blood micros. I wasn’t sure what that latter thing was, either, but turned out it was microgreens on top of the other stuff. We had Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, which was a little heavier than the previous beer. I loved this trout...it was moist and flaky, and the horseradish jam wasn’t spicy at all. It all combined really nicely for a great flavor.
Third course was Braised Short Rib with parsnip purée, thumbelina carrots, and mustard & raisin jus. The beer served was Sixth Class Quadrupel Ale, and yes, that is the way it was originally spelled, so they kept the spelling. Of course, I had to make jokes about quadruped ale and quadriplegic ale. Inppropriate? I don’t know, but I amused myself, if not Ken. I thought this was the weakest course, but maybe I was just getting “fooded out.” The short rib was nice and tender, but I’ve never been a fan of short ribs...I find them overly fatty, and I can’t abide blobs of fat on my meat. [shudder] We both thought the parsnip purée was bland, and the carrots were nothing to speak of. The flavors just weren’t as interesting as the shrimp and scallop, or the trout, in my opinion. However, it was perfectly cooked, not dry at all. The Quadrupel was also a little heavier, but I didn’t find it as one that stood out for me.
The fourth course was dessert, and oh MAN, was it ever good!! It was a chocolate & stout flan with a coffee candy chard. I don’t know if that was a typo and it was supposed to be “shard,” because I know of chard as the leafy greens. This was a chunk of what was basically rock candy, with apparently a little coffee in it. This dessert was absolutely delicious...smooth and creamy, almost mousse-like in texture, with a nice chocolatey-coffee flavor. The beer served was a 2013 Special Limited Release Imperial Stout, and it was perfect with the dessert. Some stouts have a definite mocha flavor to them, and it went well with this. Mmm, thinking back to that flan, I wish I had some more right now!
This was a very pleasant experience for the middle of the week, and we both enjoyed it a lot. I’m sure we’ll do more in the future, when we’re in the mood for a special treat. Club LaSalle may have changed its name, but as LaSalle Kitchen & Tavern, it will remain one of our favorite places in downtown South Bend. It’s a great place to go for a drink after a show, and they usually have musicians on the weekends. I think we’ll keep it in mind for dinners before the show, too. It’s a little more reasonably priced than its downstairs sibling, LaSalle Grill, but the food is also very good. Approved!