by Steven Doyle
Last evening at the fairly new Imoto located in Victory Park the team from Community Beer Company descended with an armload of some of their very best concoctions to pair up with chef Jennifer Newbold and chef Stephen McHugh and tag-teamed one seriously marvelous beer dinner. Dining with Community owner Kevin Carr, wife Andi and crew which included Ashley Kelly who landmarks sales in the DFW area. Both Kelly and Carr led the evening with interesting stories surrounding their beer (did you know the moscaid hop used in their IPA is the HBC369 and the brewery must procure the sought after hop two years in advance?). The evening was as tasty as it was of great interest to the company assembled.
The evening began with a passed appetizer of Imoto’s Hirame, served with cilantro, yuzo passionfruit and Hawaiian lava sea salt. If not familiar with a revered piece of sushi served to us consider a rice filled dumpling surrounded by a ball of this Japanese halibut. A seriously ball of fun that will tantalize your taste buds and was paired with the Community Passiflora White IPA. The beer is named for the flower of the passion fruit made with plenty of passion fruit puree and both Mosaic and Citra hops. Unlike most fruity beers this one is severely balanced leaving the sweetness and tartness waylayed a bit and pushes out a refreshing take on the IPA that did not overpower our sushi course.
The first course was this insane bowl of Voodoo Style Clams and Mussels with galangal (a style of ginger that is less pungent with a citrus back flavor) kaffir lime and chiles. The broth was magnificent with rich and meaty mussels and clams cooked to a plump perfection. The broth was so upright that it begged us to go pinky-high for a slurp that brought a simultaneous smile to the table. It got eerily quiet while we looked at each other in the eye as we silently agreed this was the proper thing to do. Paired with Yessir power-packed with Eureka, Lemondrop and Citra hops finished with malty barley for a refreshing lip-smacking taste. This is a beer that even a novice would enjoy. The wine drinkers in the crowd lauded this beer.
The second course was a play on the banh mi bun with smacked cucumber and pickled veggies on the side and sprinkled with toasted hops that Community provided. The bun was simply devine, but the spiraled and pickled cucumber made my night. That and the Community Witbier which is a Belgian style white ale which is a lightly seasoned beer made with orange slices and coriander seeds; light and refreshing for any season.
The third course was custom made for me unknownst to the chefs at hand. A cider braised pork belly and charred octopus, both extreme on tenderness and also high on flavor. The sauce was green curry with a side of spent grain rice porridge. I love what these chefs imagine. I love their panache and style, the obvious love for their craft. It shows on both the plate and the way they speak about their dishes. The course was all Newbold’s and you can tell she had plenty of fun with this. This dish was paired with the honorable Mosaic IPA. There was plenty of hop bitterness (not too extreme) to cut through the delicate sweetness of the green curry. Named for the hop varietal Mosaic is high on ABV as much as it is with flavor. This is actually my beer of choice around Dallas at any given moment.
Dessert was equally as playful as it was a bread pudding served in a “confited” hollowed orange which posed as a jack-o-lantern. What a brilliant idea! And how marvelous it was served with the Legion imperial stout. Too marvelous for words, but I have a few to lend. This Russian imperial is loaded up with a deep roasted chocolate flavor and rich maltiness making this ideal for a dessert, especially one made with orange. Chocolate and orange are bosom buddies, to be sure.
I look forward to future dinners, both beer and wine at Imoto, we will keep you updated on those adventures. We understand that there will be a pairing dinner either at Imoto soon, or at Community. These two belong together and it makes everyone happy.