This story is sponsored by Bryant-Lake Bowl and written by Joanna Demkiewicz.
Since Ken Goff joined the Bryant-Lake Bowl team as head chef in August 2014, the menu has undergone a subtle but savory transformation. The former Dakota executive chef believes in offering a seasonal menu — one that features ingredients at their best the moment they hit your plate. Goff also ensures that there’s something for everyone; if a diner has an allergy, affinity, or special request, the kitchen can make it work (most of the time).
“Whatever item we put on the menu, I like for it to be as good as it can be,” he says. “It’s important that a menu is balanced, which means it doesn’t show bias toward certain ingredients. Regardless of what type of diner you are — vegetarian, paleo, vegan, gluten-free, a meat-and-potatoes type — I don’t want you to have to ask for something different.”
So, for 2015, ask and you shall receive. In fact, ask for these three items for a figuratively sweet — and literally delicious — ride through some of Bryant-Lake Bowl’s menu gems. If good food gets you thirsty, take Goff’s and beer curator Lindsie Schultz’s pairing advice to help wash down the richness.
Slow-Braised Peterson Limousin Beef Heart Taco
With charred chipotle salsa, crema and house-pickled onions
What it’s like: The earthiness of the slow-braised beef heart is nothing to be afraid of, and it pairs nicely with the smoky chipotle salsa. Sous chef Jordan Shiveley also appreciates how the overall flavor is brightened by the tangy crema, acidic pickled onion, and crunchy freshly shaved radishes. This taco sticks with that authentic slow-cooked flavor but shines because of its modern additions.
“I’m inspired by tacos because they are a blank two- or three-bite canvas,” Shiveley says. “They are a familiar item that is accessible to the general public but can be flipped to be pretty much anything you want.”
Pair it with: Pryes Miraculum, a Minnesota IPA brewed in Minnetonka with grapefruit aromas and honey undertones.
Torchio Pasta Mac ’N’ Cheese
With a creamy three-cheese sauce, crisp roasted wild mushrooms, arugula, and toasted herbed breadcrumbs
What it’s like: This is a spin on a classic favorite. The torchio (torch) pasta is shaped so the three-cheese sauce can carpet the entire dish, inside and out.
Shiveley likes how the round, creamy, cheese flavors are complemented by the crisp spiciness of fresh arugula and the richness of roasted wild oyster and shiitake mushrooms. The lasting impression comes from the textural crunch of the herb-toasted breadcrumbs.
“All in all it is a deeply comforting dish,” says Shiveley.
Pair it with: Samuel Smith Nut Brown, a UK-brewed vegan beer with a nutty palate or a glass of the Leese-Fitch Pinot Noir, an earthy red with notes of plum and cherry.
House-Made Crispy Flatbread
With a Parmesan and roasted garlic ricotta spread, drizzled with basil-spinach puree, chopped artichoke hearts, and toasty melted mozzarella
What it’s like: The flatbread is a labor of love; it’s rolled out by hand and grilled over open flames to give it a smoky, crisp base. The creamy ricotta, roasted garlic, and Parmesan topping is met with a drizzle of bright basil and spinach coulis. The mozzarella topping is toasty, Shiveley says, and the artichokes are roasted to a crisp. A simple pinch of black pepper ties all the flavors together into a savory bow.
Pair it with: White Rioja by Marques de Caceres, a dry white with fleshy grapefruit and pear aromas.