Last Tuesday night’s Tequila Experience Dinner at Local Lime, the first such dinner hosted by the restaurant, saw several masters of their crafts truly shine in a warm and friendly setting. Chefs Scott McGehee and Ben Brainard prepped and plated the food for 40+ guests, Lee Edwards created the cocktails, and David Suro of Siembra Azul Tequila (and owner of Tequilas Restaurant in Philadelphia) worked the room.
The evening was a true celebration of food and drink. But make no mistake, the star was Suro, a man highly regarded in the tequila-making industry. “I was honored to have someone as important as David Suro at our dinner, who I believe will win a James Beard Award in the next 3-5 years,” said Lee Edwards.
Things got going with a beautiful pink cocktail known as a Rosalita. A mixture of Siembra Azul Blanco, St. Germain, rose simple syrup and lime juice, the drink proved to be light and refreshing, along the lines of a fancy margarita on the rocks with a rose petal garnish. It paired wonderfully with the Ensalada de Primavera, a salad composed of chunks of creamy avocado, thin slices of grapefruit and orange, drizzled with an acidic citrus-ginger vinaigrette and spicy slivers of jalapeño.
If the first course was an excellent start to the meal, round two certainly proved to be a creatively delicious continuation. The Atun Y Patatas– thinly sliced pieces of seared, extremely rare tuna, resting near duck fat fried potatoes and mayo—seemed initially to be an odd pairing. But it all worked, in large part, due to the smart decision to keep each of the elements on the plate far enough apart. This placement implicitly encouraged diners to eat the tuna and potatoes separately rather than together, dipping each component individually into the garlic-saffron mayo. The plate was paired with a tasty Philadelphia Sour (Siembra Azul Reposado, lemon juice, simple syrup, and a Pinot Noir float).
Course three, comprised of a Pollo Local dish, along with the Plaza Vieja cocktail, seemed to be consensus favorite of the evening. The Plaza Vieja tasted like a well-made Manhattan, only with Siembra Azul Anejo instead of bourbon. And the chicken … my goodness … the chicken! Braised to a fall-off-the-bone perfection and resting in chile broth with tomato-serrano chutney, this slightly sweet and spicy chicken dish represented one of the better things I’ve eaten during my time in Little Rock.
Unfortunately, the dessert course had nowhere to go but down. The Café Pequeño, a miniature dark chocolate coffee cake with caramel ganache, felt a little out of place. The cake was dense, and a tad heavy, especially given the overall lightness of the previous courses. I did enjoy the truffles on the plate, but didn’t detect the jalapeño and cinnamon flavors listed on the menu.
Finally, we polished off a smooth serving of Siembra Azul Suro Extra Anejo, which was served straight or “neat.”
Kudos to all involved for pulling off a highly successful dinner event. “I felt like the guests enjoyed themselves, which is the most important thing. We really executed the way we wanted to. It was our first spirit dinner at Local Lime, so we can only get better,” said Edwards.
Cheers to that!
Special thanks to David Suro for coming down to Little Rock and sharing his passion for food and drink.