Hosted at The Pint & Cork in Wailea and paired by Young’s Market Company‘s Jodi Komine as a collaboration with Executive Chef Maka Kwon, this unique whiskey dinner was aimed at showcasing a variety of Jack Daniel’s Whiskeys including rare selections of Single Barrel pours along with four savory dinner courses. Inspiration for this special event was two-pronged… “Just giving our staff a chance to learn about new products, and allow for our chef to allow his creative side out a bit more. Plus, everyone needs an excuse to have a little wine or whiskey,” Scott Pacer Managing Partner at The Pint & Cork said.
It was eye-opening, delicious and changed my overall perspective on whiskey:
What a delight, the welcome cocktail didn’t have an overwhelming whiskey flavor, instead it reminded me of li hing mui in a lemon drop after marrying a Moscow mule. Simply sublime this was a great way to cleanse the palate. You would never know there was a dash of soy sauce in the mix, this was both innovative, delicious and the perfect way to start the night.
The first course was a sweet and savory combination utilizing a sweet bread bun and braised pork belly. The decadent pork belly was complimented by the Chinese five spice and subtle whiskey flavor. There was a hint of crunch and freshness added by slices of cucumber which added a nice textural component. The whiskey pairing really enhanced the flavors in this dish, especially the five-spice, and it was also fun to eat bar food that goes well with your hands and fingers. In fact, it was finger licking good.
Beets and creamy goat cheese are a combination made in heaven, add to that fresh sweet strawberries and a hint of leafy spice from arugula and you have a well rounded salad that is clean, vibrant and a bit whimsical. The Gentleman Sling was a combination of citrus and ever so slightly sweet which served to enhance the flavors of the strawberry and round out the overall impression of this salad pairing. It was also refreshing to have a cocktail on ice to brighten up the meal.
Nearing the end of the meal Chef Maka presented perfectly cooked New York Strip Steak served pupu style on a bed of roasted bell pepper coulis and topped with chimichurri. The steak was moist, well seasoned and the use of onions, garlic and parsley brought out the earthiness of the strip and the pairing. With these strong flavors you need something that can stand up to the dishes aromatics and Jack Daniel’s did the trick.
If you put an egg on something it’s going to be good, right? Well this imaginative take on the classic loco moco utilizing house made pork adobo was excellent. The adobo was full flavored, moist and this is local comfort food. The accompanying 129 proof Jack Daniel’s whiskey was a bit intimidating but went down easy. At this point it may have been the alcohol talking but I was sold on this pairing menu.
Overall, this is a casual gastropub setting with elevated bar food. The menu is modern with Hawaii highlights and locally sourced ingredients. I can honestly say that pairing the whiskey with these dishes was wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think perhaps because it wasn’t a fine dining, super stuffy restaurant, we could all relax, have fun, drink and eat.
Will The Pint & Cork do more of these pairing dinners and experiences in the future? Here’s what they had to say…
“Starting sometime in the New Year, we will be doing tastings very similar to this, calling it wine or whiskey Wednesdays, where we will try to feature a new wine or whiskey, and pair it with our chef’s menu,” Pacer said.
**Please note that if you plan to do a pairing dinner or imbibe alcohol with every course of your meal, I would recommend to have a designated driver, take a cab or something similar.
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