Wine dinners seem to be a fixture of winter socializing on the East End, as post-harvest winemakers have a bit of extra time and post Labor Day restaurateurs have a bit of extra seating.
But Doug Gulija, the seafood-minded chef and owner of the Plaza Café in Southampton, doesn’t think such affairs should be limited to fermented grapes. So this Thursday, he's pairing pumpkin lobster bisque with pumpkin ale, lobster-shrimp sausage and Napa cabbage with a double white beer, and sautéed Peconic Bay scallops and cauliflower puree with a fruity saison brew. The four course meal is part of the restaurant’s first annual Brewmaster’s Dinner in conjunction with the nearby Southampton Publick House.
Gulija was inspired by a chance meeting with a Publick House representative who was pouring the brewpub’s beers at a class Gulija was teaching at Suffolk Community College’s revamped culinary school in Riverhead. A subsequent tasting with Publick House owner Don Sullivan sealed the deal and Gulija, known for his wine dinners and admittedly more comfortable around wine glasses than frosted mugs. “Southampton’s beers are produced right here in town, and that’s totally in keeping with my philosophy of working, as much as possible, with local ingredients,” said Gulija. “The pairing has really opened my eyes as to how versatile and food friendly fine beers can be.”
The five course, seven-beer meal costs $95 per person and will take place Thursday, January 19 at 6:30 p.m., concluding with Jurgielewicz Farms duck “three ways” and sweet potato puree paired with the Southampton Grand Cru. Dessert is decadent chocolate bread pudding with peanut butter mousse accompanied by the even more decadent Southampton Imperial Porter.