Submitted by jgaither on Thu, 05/10/2012 - 10:52am
Last week I reported on the imminent Kentucky Derby whiskey brunch that was to take place on Derby day. That time has come and gone, but the tastes, textures and smells of that brunch are still lingering in my nose and mouth. Never would I have thought that a corner neighborhood bar could yield such incredible, hearty, delicious fare, but Gaslight Bar & Grille really delivers. Its promise of a culinary-focused neighborhood bar is just that--one where you can expect great cocktails and even better food.
The Derby brunch last week consisted of five courses, with accompanying whiskey pairings. One of my favorite courses was a bagel with ramp cream cheese (ramp is akin to an onion), lox, arugula and capers; though, to be honest, I was not looking forward to this course because I'm not a huge bagel or lox eater, but I soon changed my mind after the first bite. The bagel was nearly perfect: soft and chewy, yet lightly toasted. The cream cheese was, well, creamy and gave an extra layer of softness to the crispy bagel layer. The lox was smoked and gave that barbecue char flavor that we all know and love so well. The arugula added some "spice" that only bitter greens can do, and capers, while salty by nature, only made this dish "look" pretty. With every bite, I hoped that it wouldn't end, but alas, the end was nigh, and all I could do was lick my fingers. The cocktail pairing was...interesting. It was a whiskey punch with blood orange and George Dickel Tennessee whiskey. It was a bit strong for my taste, but good nonetheless.
My other favorite courses were courses 2,3 and 4. Yep, I told you they were good. The second was down home grits with andouille sausage and pimento cheese. Now, I'm not a "grits" kind of person, but these were "smack somebody" good. And the hot cheese really gave the dish the kick it needed. The third course was tiger shrimp quiche with a tangy, diced tomato sauce that made my mouth water, and it was paired with a very smooth Talisker single malt 10 year scotch, which was one of the best and easiest drinking scotches I've ever had. The fourth looked like a pulled pork sandwich, but in fact, it was pulled beef, pork and chicken open faced sandwich tossed with tortilla chips and topped with a fried egg and avocado. The melding of the soft (avocado), hard (tortillas) and chewy (meats) was like heaven on a bun. And the fifth and final course was the classic chicken and waffles with a side of bourbon ice cream. Just the ice cream itself could've gotten me drunk, but it was the ice cream with the whiskey that put me over the top. However, the last course was still good--waffles cooked just right and the chicken batter was seasoned well on top of the tender breast.
I don't go to bars often. In fact, I NEVER go to bars, but it was this meal that reminded me that every once in a while, it's okay to get away from the high-falutin' white table cloth restaurant, and come a little closer down to earth to a place that's right around the corner--my neighborhood bar.