Nathalie Jordi
April 06, 2009

Gruyère with stout?Why not?Chefs and sommeliers all over the country are taking food pairings well beyond wine. Here, T+L reveals four of our favorite restaurants for unusual couplings.

THE PLACE

Uchi, Austin, Tex.; 512/916-4808
Sake

THE COMBO

Maguro sashimi with goat cheese, Fuji apples, and fragrant Ginga Shizuku "Divine Droplets"

THE LOGIC

Experts allege that the synergy between sake and food can release umami, that elusive "fifth taste"

THE PLACE

La Laiterie at Farmstead, Providence, R.I.; 401/274-7177
Beer

THE COMBO

Dense chèvre with fruity Hefeweizen; spicy Chimay with pungent washed-rind cheeses

THE LOGIC

Wine and cheese pairings often work on contrasts, but mixing brisk beers with cheese creates satisfying harmonies

THE PLACE

Brandy Library Lounge, New York City; 212/226-5545
Scotch

THE COMBO

Smoked salmon with a 15-year-old Bruichladdich or other peaty Islay scotch

THE LOGIC

Drink single-malt neat; its aromatic complexities—sweet, smoky, nutty—find echoes in many foods

THE PLACE

Ritz-Carlton, Huntington Hotel & Spa, Pasadena, Calif.; 626/568-3900
Vodka

THE COMBO

Grapefruit-honey vodka with scallops and foie gras; black-truffle vodka and Muscovy duck

THE LOGIC

Chef Craig Strong uses Modern Spirits infused vodkas with his tasting menu to enhance subtle flavors

Brandy Library Lounge

More than 900 bottles of fine spirits, including the city’s largest scotch collection, line the backlit “bookshelves” at this Tribeca lounge. Catering to a professional, 25-and-over crowd, Brandy Library offers whiskies, brandies, rums, and mescals from around the world, including a wide assortment of rare bottles. In addition to the wall-to-wall shelves, the interior is designed with small, sleek table lamps, dark leather chairs, and a working fireplace. “Spirit sommeliers” explain the history of selected libations, while “librarians” craft signature cocktails which are served on silver platters. The eclectic hors d’oeuvre menu offers cognac-cured foie gras and Gruyére cheese napoleons.

La Laiterie at Farmstead

Uchi

Uchi, which occupies a softly-lit bungalow on South Lamar about five minutes from downtown, celebrates the art of unconventional thinking when it comes to sushi. American-born chef Tyson Cole crafts fusion sushi cuisine with such creations as the smoked yellowtail—flown in daily from Tokyo—served with candied garlic and asian pear. The foie gras unagi (freshwater eel) is a favorite of regulars and pays homage to the the building's prior incarnation as a French restaurant. The decor is unassuming, with soft wall-mounted lamps, red wallpaper, and windows that look out from the house (uchi in Japanese) onto a grassy lawn.

Langham Huntington, Pasadena

This Pasadena property is just a few miles from The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens and the Rose Bowl. The traditionally designed rooms, suites, and private cottages offer free WiFi, flat-screen TVs, minibars, and marble bathrooms—some even with patios offering mountain views and fireplaces. Their new Chuan spa offers Asian-inspired treatments to indulge in before a meal at their swanky steakhouse or storied afternoon tea in the lobby lounge.

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