Oh how I have enjoyed every one of these special pairing dinners the Meehan's locations have. They are off the beaten path (WAY OFF) the regular everyday menu fare. A pairing dinner allows the chefs creativity to really shine. Tonight was no exception.
I hadn't met or eaten any of Chef O'Rourke's food before. Those of you that are fans of former sandy springs location chef Val Domingo (he's at the Vinings location now) hired Brian and he's worked under Val. You can trust he is putting out good food.
Tonight's menu is a craft beer pairing.
Roasted Tomato and Pork Consomme: This is an old school classic you won't see on a menu often, if ever. This one was impressively rich in roasted pork bone flavor and mellowed with tomato. Arguably the hallmark of a good , if not great chef is indeed the soup making skills. Juding from this bowl, O'Rouke has his soup game TIGHT. A two bite house made pork quenelle (almost sausage tasting but more delicate) garnished the dish. I loved savory every drop.
Brussel Sprout salad: This is one of the more ballsy dishes I've seen in a long while. Generally a pairing dinner is only suited to more adventurous eaters. You won't see this on mainstream menus. Not because they aren't delicious but because brussel sprouts are one of the most unpopular vegetables in town. This is the first time I've had them served raw. Dressed with grapefruit sections, bacon, radish and balsamic reduction all makes for one damn happy plate. This may be my new favorite winter salad. The whole table cheered with delight. Magnificent!
Trout with pimento cheese grits and garlic succotash: The shining star of this plate is the house made pimento cheese put into the garlic cooked grits. Distinct yet still the comfort level you expect from grits. Delicate fish and a succotash that was just a little short of perfect but still nice. More grits please!
Chocolate braised short rib with bourbon braised sweet potato collard hash and mole jus. A real stick to your bones kind of dish. The attention to flavor in each component was stellar. Impossibly tender braise on the rib with complex satisfying richness. The hash had a wonderful maply rich flavor and collards were the best I've tasted. Tender as you like with flavor for days. If only I had room to ask for seconds I would have. I still had dessert coming after all.
Peanut butter ice cream with cherry almond compote and vanilla almond tuille: Welcome to the very grown up way to eat your PB&J in public with style. The ice cream had a hypnotic roasty peanut flavor that wasn't battling excess sugar. Cherry compote was powerfully puckery delicious and blended seamlessly with the ice cream. The wispy thin tuille added a nice textural contrast. My mouth wanted two more despite my tummy being maxed out.
Some of the other dining guests in ear shot had been mentioning how much they love a few of the regular menu items. Clearly I need to come back and sample them and I shall.