I had the pleasure of chatting with Chef Robert of Bastone Brewery in Royal Oak last week to discuss 2 of their special summer menus:
- The Burger & A Brew menu, which runs through July 27th
- The Summer Lunch Menu, which will run through Labor Day
We started with the Burger & A Brew menu, choosing the Big Country. Why is it called the Big Country? Because Chef Robert likes to name his creations based on the combination of the ingredients – and a buffalo burger definitely makes me think the name suits this burger just fine. This is an enormously delicious combination of flavors – the buffalo burger is moist and flavorful followed by a huge kick of balsamic goodness from the glazed mushrooms & onions. This burger was served with Dubbel Vision, which is a Belgian-style amber ale brewed with candi-sugar and dried dark fruits. (and also a World Beer Championship Medal Winner)
Be sure you get into Bastone before Friday to try this or any of the other items on their Burger & A Brew menu – I highly recommend it!
Next we moved to the Summer Menu. I was pretty excited when Chef Robert started telling me about his favorite dish on this menu – which is the BBQ Pork Belly. One of the things I love about food is the inspiration found behind the creation of a certain dish, or the use of a certain ingredient. The inspiration behind this dish hails all the way from Britain, after Chef Robert made a similar recipe for his family. He decided to bring the idea back to Michigan – and voila!
Before we discuss the pork belly, let’s talk about Helles Rauchbier – the seasonal smoked beer that the pork belly is cooked in. It has a smooth smokey flavor and imparts an equally smooth flavor into the pork belly as it cooks. (it’s really delicious as part of the pork belly dish and also delicious in a pint glass!)
The pork belly cooks, covered, for 3 hours in the Helles Rauchbier. It is then uncovered and cooked for an additional 30 minutes to crisp the outside. The pork belly is brushed with a Traverse City Sundried Cherry BBQ sauce, that is made from scratch in the Bastone kitchen. The BBQ sauce is made with a mixture of sun dried cherries, ketchup, mustard, worchestire sauce, brown sugar, onion and honey. The pork belly is served with Amish potato salad and veggies.
The BBQ sauce and slight smokey flavor are wonderful in this dish – and the pork is so tender with just the right amount of crispness. I can’t wait to have this again!
The final dish sampled from the Summer Menu was the Caribbean Mahi Mahi. The fish is steamed in banana leaves and white wine. The banana leaves create the perfect protection for the flesh of the fish. The mango pineapple salsa is made with chargrilled pineapple, which has been chopped and tossed with mango, vanilla essence, red pepper, lime juice, mint and honey. The salsa is super fresh and marries very well with the mahi mahi!
Chef Robert makes a point to include a variety on his menus, so whether you are looking for meat, poultry, fish or vegetarian dishes you will find them! And, what Chef Robert cooks, Brewmaster Rockne pairs with the perfect beer selection.
If you haven’t visited Bastone recently, I hope the above information will have you making plans to visit very soon. Aside from their special menus, they offer a full menu which includes some Belgian-style favorites plus a great selection of beer, created by Brewmaster Rockne Van Meter.