Beer, sushi…. and barbecue? Not necessarily a standard culinary combination.
However, two long-time friends and local food and beverage experts have blended their creative craftsmanship to create a one-of-a-kind dining experience on June 3 in Palm Desert.
Pals Art Vasquez, COO of Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse in Rancho Mirage, and Chef/Owner Engin Onural of Venue Sushi Bar & Sake Lounge in Palm Desert have been enjoying each other’s restaurants for years.
Babe’s, of course, is known for its award winning craft brews and famous barbecue, while Venue is a fresh, cutting edge hot spot for excellent sushi and sake.
“The Venue sells Babe’s beer and as friends, we share our love of what I like about The Venue and what he (Engin) likes about us,” Vasquez says. “Chef Engin’s sushi pushes the boundaries using traditional techniques to present unique dishes in untraditional ways. As such, our beers are not strictly traditional but are based in a traditional brewing style. We thought it would be special and fun to have a pairing dinner.”
The duo have worked together to define the characteristics that bring out the best of their respective offerings to whip up a sensational menu to compliment each other’s flavors.
Pairing samples that sizzle:
Babe’s Blackfin Lager (2012 Gold Medal)
Scandinavital Roll: Crab meat & avocado topped with salmon ponzu sauce and bonito flakes
Babe’s 29 Palm s Pale Ale (2010 Gold Medal)
Venue Roll: Spicy tuna, cucumber and gobo topped with seared salon, spicy aioli, teriyaki sauce, micro greens and tobiko
Why it works:
According to Vasquez, “Beers with sushi is really not a new concept. Beer served with sushi is often a 4 percent alcohol, clean, very light, appropriate and complimentary to spicy food. Specifically, a lot of our (Babe’s) beers are on the lighter side of the spectrum. Our flagship black lager, honey blondes, and pale ales are all styles that are typically found in sushi restaurants and make for amazing pairings.”
So what about the barbecue?
Vasquez explains that he always loved the idea of a Hickory Smoked Tri-Tip Sashimi, sliced thin like tuna with wasabi and soy sauce. He shared the concept with Chef Engin, and they will offer a tasting paired with Babe’s Bin 1214 Imperial Red Ale (2015 Silver Medal).
“There are so many pairings that are unique and different. We really wanted to do this as friends and for the love of it,” Vasquez says.
The Desert’s First 5-Course Sushi & Craft Beer Pairing, 6 p.m. June 3 at The Venue Sushi Bar & Sake Lounge, 73-111 El Paseo, Palm Desert. Visit www.thevenuepalmdesert.com or www.babesbbque.com for reservations and information.