Last year, the Libertine Bar launched a dinner series that broke ground on two fronts: They paired the courses with beer instead of the usual wine, and instead of the usual pork belly and short ribs, the menu was all-vegan. Both dinners sold out in a flash.
Then chef Taylor McCreary, who'd been doing the dinners in conjunction with vegan website DallasVegan.com, left the Libertine. The series withered.
Now, thanks to a push from the bar's new manager, Bevin Maloney, the vegan beer dinner returns Monday, November 5, pairing the likes of soba noodles and pumpkin pudding with five vegan beers.
"I wanted to make sure vegetarian and vegan options were available, and that includes a whole list of vegan and veg-appropriate beers," says GM Bevin Maloney.
Maloney is a vegetarian. She created the menu with chef Roseanne Dileo, who preceded McCreary and has returned to run the kitchen.
"When I came on as the GM, I felt like it was important to keep that tradition going for people who wanted to be involved but don't get the opportunity," Maloney says.
The first course: sun-dried tomato quinoa cakes with chive oil and arugula, served with Orval beer.
"Crab cakes are a common nice first course, and that's what these look like," Maloney says. "They're the same shape and size, but with strong flavors from the tomato and chive oil."
For the second course, beets are paired with spinach, endive, radish and persimmon and topped with apple frisee slaw. The beer: Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel.
Third course is pink lentil curry with roasted leaks and smoked cashew, paired with Sam Smith India Ale.
"We had this as part of one of our specials, but it was served with scallops," Maloney says. "I asked Roseanne if she could make me some without. It's a warm, hearty dish, good since it's getting cooler. The smoked cashews are an interesting idea. You smoke the cashews, blend them up, and it's like cream."
Fourth course is seitan piccata over soba noodles and roasted squash, paired with Saison Dupont.
"That's a play on veal or chicken piccata, the recipe is from The Kind Diet, one of my favorite books," Maloney says. "We even made our own seitan, which we pounded until thin, filet-style, and served over noodles in a sauce that's lemony with capers."
For dessert, it's pumpkin pudding with almond foam and praline, paired with Live Oak Hefeweizen with ginger syrup.
Maloney joined the Libertine staff after having been a patron and wants to share her passion for vegetarian eating.
"I was previously in retail management, but I've been a fan of the Libertine since it opened," she says. "I come with a slightly different perspective, maybe a little more corporate. But I wanted to make sure vegetarian and vegan options were available, and that includes a whole list of vegan and veg-appropriate beers.
"There's this misconception from omnivores who think we're craving something or that this food tastes bad. I hope that the fact that I eat that way normally is a help with this dinner. These courses are the kinds of things I love to eat and make at home."