Yesterday evening I was treated to another spectacular showing of Chef Nick at Black Swan Brewpub. I have never been disappointed by Nick and last night was no exception. My wife and I went in for an early dinner after a meeting I had with Lora the manager. While I was in the meeting, my wife ordered a couple appetizers. At this point some of you may be saying,"Two apps Nate, was that really necessary?" To that I say, probably not. But, it was delicious and I have no regrets.
She couldn't decide between the baked brie and the fried pickles, my usual standby. By the end of the meal, my taste buds loved her, but my stomach, which was probably distended, did not.
The baked brie was topped with an onion and cherry compote and then wrapped in a puff pastry. Chef Nick added a generous pile of crostini, and it all was accompanied by a side of dry roasted almonds. OH MY GOD!! Both my wife and I agreed that this was probably one of the best appetizers that we had ever ordered, hands down. The pickles, however, were pretty good, but not great. As I mentioned though, this is not a critique on local businesses. I would say this is still a victory for Nick, just not as clear as the brie.
For our entrées, my wife and I both settled on sandwiches from their new spring menu. I took Nick's variation on a "Juicy Lucy-style" burger, and my wife decided on their pork bahn mi. The burger, stuffed with American cheese, was very juicy as the name suggests. The only critique that I could possibly have is the lack of toppings. I would have loved for him to "run it though the garden" as my dad would say. As for my wife's bahn mi, which is essentially a sliced pork loin sandwich topped with Asian slaw and a delightful marinade, she absolutely loved it. I felt like if we hadn't gotten two appetizers at the beginning of the meal, I am sure she would have gotten it down before I had a chance to sample it.
One more thing, I don't know if I mentioned it before, but they have pretty killer fries at Black Swan. Last night my wife was able to sample the truffle oil and parmesan cheese tossed fries with a sun dried tomato aioli. I had the barbecue fries, which were more like a sweet cajun, with a papadew (hybrid pepper bred with the honeydew melon) aioli. Overall, both meals were winners.
Some of you may be wondering, "Hey Nate, where's the beer come in?" "I thought this was supposed to be a blog about beer." Well ladies and gents, it is. I guess I have digressed for long enough. Black Swan goes by the motto "16 Taps and No Crap". I definitely believe this to be true. I was fortunate enough to have the first pint of a keg of Three Floyds' Gumball Head wheat ale. Gumball Head is an American style wheat ale spiced with Amarillo hops. I attempted to clone this beer at home, but failed miserably. Gumball Head has probably the most complex hop and malt profile of about any wheat beer I have ever had. It borders on an American pale ale. The Amarillo hops are wonderful for this beer because they are a very versatile hop used for both flavor and aroma. They provide citrus and floral notes.
My wife, not being a huge beer person, got the Wyler's Pear Cider. I am not usually a fan of most ciders, but I was not NOT enjoying this one. It was sweet, that's for sure, but there was a dryness about it that I could appreciate. That's all I'll say...