Year 3 of the Pullman/Kroul Beer Dinner is in the books and just when you think they can’t top last year’s event, Chef Ben Smart and staff roll up their sleeves and do just that. Sunday’s event wasn’t exactly fall-like to start the day as temps were in the high 80s, so a tip of the cap for sure goes to the Pullman staff as they slaved over open-pit fires to cook up our terrific meal. Even though it was hot early on, the weather chilled a bit as the sun set and you really can’t beat the ambiance of sitting at a Kroul Farm picnic table with friends as you sip a beer or glass of wine and get served some of the best and unique food I’ve had. Cheers to the Kroul Family, Cory Kent, Chef Smart and staff, this is my favorite event of the year! Onto the food!
DISH #1 – Pan con Tomate – Bread, Heirloom tomato served with Broadbent Vinho Verde
Bread with a tomato puree? Sounds simple, and it is, but it was delicious. Local tomatoes with olive oil and salt put on top of some grilled bread and a glass of white wine, great start to the meal!
DISH #2 – Sea Urchin Bavarois served with Broadbent Vinho Verde
I had never had sea urchin before, but now I want sea urchin more often. The dish was presented and looked similar to a chowder dish with some charred sweet corn and that’s exactly how it tasted. Almost like a mix of a chilled lobster bisque/lobster chowder and the added local sweet corn really made the dish stand out. This was one I would have taken a whole bowl full of, excellent dish.
DISH #3 – Cedar Plank Salmon with slow roasted grilled lemons, herbs, shishito peppers, squash, and olives served with Prairie Standard Saison
Admittedly, I’m not a huge salmon guy, but, this dish was very good. Perfectly cooked salmon and a squeeze of some of the grilled lemon and tons of fresh dill on top made this a dish I could eat often. 3/3 so far Pullman crew!
DISH #4 – Potato Gnocchi with pumpkin puree, chanterelles, pistachio pistou, La quercia guanciale, and sheep’s milk cheese served with Prairie Standard Saison
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this dish as I’m hit and miss with pumpkin but this was a home run dish, from the presentation of being served in hollowed out pumpkins to the execution itself to the flavors. The gnocchi with pillow soft and combined with the pistachio and cheese with a little bite of the crispy and salty la quercia (pork cheek I believe) I had a hard time not finishing this dish in seconds. Blown away by this one. Keep it coming Pullman.
DISH #5 – Duo of Kroul Beef – tenderloin, ribeye, and sauce bordelaise with mushroom pithivier, kale, carrot, currant, pine nuts, and aged balsamic, served with Trim Cabernet
I always look forward to the main course although the dishes leading up are just as terrific, but with this being Kroul’s beef that they were serving made it even more special. The beef was wonderful, perfectly cooked, tender and salted exactly how it needed to be. To cook for 110-120 people and execute it the way the Pullman staff did shows their talent, you worry about it being overcooked but that’s not the case at all. The beef was phenomenal but the thing that really sealed the deal for me was the Mushroom Pithivier, which essentially was a pie with sliced potatoes, mushrooms, and cheese. I savored every bite of it. Extraordinary meal!
DISH #6 – The Space Donut – Sweet potato mousse, walnut shortbread, white chocolate goat cheese cremeux, pear, salted caramel ice cream paired with Cafe Amaretto
Onto the final course…dessert. I’m not sure how the staff could top last years parsnip cake served with Jean Luc Richard, but they came pretty damn close! The parsnip cake is my all time favorite dessert, hands down, but they brought out the big guns for this Space Donut. Chef Smart described it to every table how they concocted it and I’m not going to even try to replicate him, let’s just say it was tasty, eye-appealing, and very unique.
I’ve said this since the Kroul Farm dinner started 3 years ago and I’ll repeat myself again…this is a can’t miss event for food lovers, wine lovers, beer lovers, and people who just enjoy sitting and chatting with others. I look forward to this event every year and hope it continues. Thanks again to the Matt Kroul and family, Chef Smart and Staff, and Cory Kent for spoiling us once again this year! Cheers!