An evening of fine dining took place at the James Beard House this month with Le Malt’s Spring plates on the menu. Selected by members of the James Beard Foundation, the New Jersey spirit and wine lounge was chosen to hold an exclusive “Malt Luxury” dinner with their Executive Chef Duke Estime leading the kitchen.
I arrived at the Beard House a little before seven and met with the ladies from Diaz Schloss Communications. I always have a great time at Diaz Schloss events and love catching up with their team. The weather for the night said there was a slight chance of showers, but we were rain free and enjoyed the warmer weather. We started the dinner by sipping on drinks made with Mezcal Joven and Glenfiddich in the garden with the other guests. I preferred the Glenfiddich drink over the Mezcal since I’m not too crazy about the smoky taste of Mezcal. I loved that inside each drink was an ice cube made with a hibiscus petal frozen inside, it looked so pretty. Since Le Malt is known for their spirits, it was only necessary to have each course paired with the perfect drink.
Dinner started with a Chilean Sea Bass Broth made with spinach, basil, and cilantro. The warm broth had a slight spice that brought out the flavors of the delicate fish. It paired nicely with the glass of Castello Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio 2013, a great way to cleanse our palettes from the light course. Following the broth, we were served a Haitian Djon Djon Risotto with Wild Mushrooms. The impeccable (and my favorite) plate of the evening reminded me of comfort food: warm and soft; you want to eat it slowly and enjoy every last bite. The vegetarian plate was paired with a glass of Tinazzi Amarone della Valpolicella 2010.
We then moved on to the main courses: Berkshire Pork Belly with Tubers and Denver Venison Chops with Yellow Beans and Polenta. For extra flavor, the fatty pork belly was braised in bourbon which complimented the light sweetness of the plate and was served with Michter’s US-1 Small Batch Bourbon Whisky. The scotch-infused venison was a bit gamey for my taste, but I did enjoy the soft polenta and beans. It was served with a glass of Balvenie DoubleWood 17-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
We barely had room for dessert, but how could we resist when they brought out a Molten Chocolate Cake topped with Iranian pistachio ice cream; a type of ice cream I have never had before. The presentation of the fine dessert tasted as good as it looked: rich and sweet. The cake was served with a glass of Hennessy VSOP Privilege Cognac NV. The Le Malt Team hosted a lovely dinner, and it was a great experience and honor to dine at the James beard House.
Be sure to check out Le Malt while you are in the Garden State; not only for dinner, but for catching up with friends over a few drinks!
1021 St. Georges Avenue
Colonia, NJ 07067
Tatiana in Wonderland: James Beard House, photos courtesy of Tatiana Stec and James Beard House