Fine restaurants and wineries have long aligned themselves to host pairing dinners. But, with craft beers coming into their own, many establishments are now hosting beer pairing dinners. It's a good thing, because the growth of the craft beer industry in South Florida offers a way to bring locality to the beverage portion of a dining experience.
This special one-night only dinner will be held on Thursday, April 30, starting at 6:30 p.m., with a welcome reception at the restaurant's ocean deck. There, guests can enjoy a Floridian shandy — a mix of Funky Buddha's Floridian hefeweizen and fresh lemonade — while watching the sun set. Then, you'll take your seats in the dining room at 7 p.m. for a five course farm to table menu, paired with Funky Buddha beverages.
Jason Connelly, chef at Sea Level, located at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, said that he put a lot of homework into finding the right dishes that would work with Funky Buddha's beers. That homework led to a field trip to the brewery.
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"I visited the Funky Buddha Brewery and sampled some of their most popular brews to get a feel for what would pair best with each of the different courses I was planning for the dinner. I also had the opportunity to meet with their team and discuss the different flavors of their beers. Funky Buddha has a similar story as Sea Level in that they focus on local products. In their case it's all about the local beer and for Sea Level it's all about sourcing local ingredients. The paring of the two local establishments just makes sense."
The menu starts with a housemade burrata and Palm Beach heirloom tomato, with garden chive pesto and grilled ciabatta bread; paired with Floridian Hefeweizen. Sebastian Inlet clams with Benton's bacon and Paradise Farms kale is matched with On Top blonde ale. A miso marinated cobia with pork fried rice, celery root puree, and citrus foam paired with Hop Gun IPA follows. A NY strip steak with black garlic compound butter, duck fat potato, grilled broccoli rabe, and Teena's Pride cherry tomatoes is matched with Doc Brown ale. Finally, a chocolate hazelnut torte with Bailey's and marscarpone cream is paired with a barrel aged Muy Bonita ale.
Sea Level restaurant is located inside the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, 3030 Holiday Dr., Fort Lauderdale. The dinner is $75 per person, excluding tax and gratuities. Space is limited, and reservations can be made in advance by calling 954-765-3041. Visit marriott.com.