Truly adventurous coffee explorations are still rare birds even in a food city like ours, but next week will see another brave stab at the intriguing intersections between coffee and fine dining.
Tom Colicchio's Craftbar, having recently upgraded its coffee program to Queens-based Dallis Bros. Coffee, will host a joint dinner with Dallis Bros. next Thursday, January 20, featuring select Cup of Excellence coffees roasted by Dallis. The menu, put together by Chef de Cuisine Lauren M. Hirschberg with help from Dallis, threatens such unusual menu items as "coffee-cured hamachi" and squab with "coffee jus" (!).
Hirschberg is admittedly not a die-hard coffee geek, but was intrigued when Dallis challenged his kitchen to do something inventive with their coffees. As for the squab—Hirschberg may indeed be the first chef ever to pair coffee with pigeon.
Our menu is based on the tasting notes that me, one of my sous-chefs and our manager tasted, and the profiles that we got from these coffees," says Hirschberg. "We came up with a menu that we think will coalesce with the cuisine that we already do. And the one particular coffee [Honduras Finca Liquidambar] that we pulled the pigeon out of was real earthy—there's some sweetness there. We paired it with beets for the sweetness and the veg flavor, and thought a piece of game would stand out with this. It has kind of an aggressive flavor for a poultry syrup, so I wanted to do that.
Space for the dinner, which includes a talk by Cup of Excellence's Susie Spindler about the international coffee award program, is limited. Reservations may be made by calling Craftbar at 212-461-4300.