I recently had an opportunity to attend a special tasting menu for Darren’s Restaurant in Manhattan Beach. The event is a food / Macallan single malt scotch pairing which will be held on March 16. The event is already sold out.
So why write about it? Because the food was absolutely delicious and a food / scotch pairing is something that I never thought about before.
To begin the evening, we were served a unique palate cleanser, the Cutty Sark Blood and Sand. Served in a martini glass, it was modeled after a classic prohibition drink: sweet vermouth, Campari and blood orange were the primary ingredients of this brightly colored cocktail. The citrus from the blood orange made this drink quite refreshing. The pulled duck deep fried spring rolls was a nice beginning.
Pheasant can sometimes taste gamey, but Darren’s house cured pheasant breast was tender, delicate and did not exhibit this characteristic. They combined it with razor thin prosciutto. shaved fennel, arugula, slivered granny smith apples and grapes. I wasn’t alone as I observed everyone else scrape up their remaining drops of the delicious pecan date salad dressing.
The 10 year old Macallan scotch was paired with the pheasant salad. The light caramel and honey hints from the Macallan 10 complemented the pheasant, arugula and the pecan date dressing.
Twice Cooked Lamb Belly consisted of a tall portion of lamb belly surrounded by English peas, slivered Marcona almonds, diced Yukon gold potatoes, braising reduction and a splash of chocolate mint-curry oil. I particularly enjoyed the the pairing of the Marcona almonds with the lamb belly. Given the extra 5 years in the oak casks, the Macallan 15 year old Fine Oak was fuller bodied yet still very smooth.
Everyone ooohed and ahhhed over the dry aged beef tenderloin steak. It was accompanied by potato and pear gratin. The Bordelaise sauce was dense and quite savory. The Macallan 12 year old scotch was paired with the steak as this is a classic full bodied scotch.
More chefs are serving their gourmet interpretation of the simple s’more (chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker). Chef Weiss, used a dark chocolate ganache, julienned candied ginger, graham cracker crust and topped it with molten whipped cream. This dish was super rich and absolutely delicious.
The Macallan 18 was aged 18 years in sherry oak casks and because of that, it was ‘sherry-forward’ and probably the best suited for chocolate desserts.
I hope Darren’s Restaurant repeats this event.
Darren’s Restaurant was voted #1 Best Overall and California Cuisine in Los Angeles by Open Tables Diner’s Choice. Zagat staff recently named Darren’s as one of the top 25 best restaurants in Los Angeles.
- Darren’s Restaurant