Four Tastes Via Asher Miller of 20.21

Editor’s Note: 20.21 is now closed.

An informal chat Tuesday night with Chef Asher Miller of 20.21 morphed into a full-on gastronomic happening, complete with a series of small tastes from the kitchen and bar. Four striking little moments worth recalling:

1. White Port Pairs Well with Lemon

The very existence of white port, a fortified wine made from white grapes, is intriguing enough. But when you put it on the rocks and drag a lemon slice along the rim, you’re in “Summer in Andalusia” territory, recalling a vino tinto de verano. Bright, sunny and refreshing.

2. Scallops Work Beautifully in Eggrolls…

Teamed up with cilantro, the sweetness of scallops makes for a surprising and satisfying alternative to the usual clump of cabbage and other assorted unsavory miscellany.

3. …Particularly When Paired with Hou Hou Shu

Hou Hou Shu is an unfiltered sake that is gently sparkling and boasts a finely calibrated balance of sweetness and soulful rice flavor.

Greg Jansen Photography
Greg Jansen Photography

4. Making Your Burger Buns in House Pays Dividends

20.21 makes its brioche slider buns in house, daily. It’s a minor detail in the big scheme of things, but a great bun is a seriously undervalued aspect of a great burger. (For the recipe, check out the Heavy Table’s story on Oscar Night kobe cheeseburgers.)


  1. James Norton

    From Chef Miller, via email:

    “The beef we are using says on the box: ‘American style Kobe beef’ from Snake River Farms.

    Their website, though, says: SNAKE RIVER FARMS crosses its premiere Japanese Wagyu cattle with Black Angus cattle from its own herd, as well as its ranchers to create American Wagyu Beef. Often called American Kobe Beef, the proprietary herd has developed into one of the most highly regarded groups of Wagyu/Angus crossed cattle in the world.

    They seem to blend the terms Kobe and Wagyu. It’s very high quality, whatever you call it.”

  2. Eric

    Not to be disagreeable, but I’d say a white port cocktail puts me in a “summer in Portugal” mindset. Like, say, at an open air cafe in Lisbon, or perhaps the stunningly gorgeous Solar do Vinho do Porto in, you guessed it, Porto. I mean, Portugal is underappreciated enough without associating its greatest gift to the world with Spain…

  3. James Norton

    Fair point, but I’ve been to Spain and had tinto, and I’ve never been to Portugal and had white port. I’m sure for someone who’s been to Portugal, that’s a better comparison…

  4. Eric

    You’re missing out! You should definitely put it on your list of places to go, if only for the port. Not that there aren’t plenty of other reasons…

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