Tryst and Shout: 99 Bottles of Craft Beer on the Wall

"I'd like to try number 91 now, please."
"I'd like to try number 91 now, please."

We had a marvelous experience at Tryst, the new Gastropub on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach, last Friday. The place comes out of the combined inspiration of Delray restaurateurs Rodney Mayo, Scott Frielich, Dave Robinson, and Butch Johnson. They've come up with an extensive list of craft beers from the U.S. and Europe, both in the bottle and on tap, along with a menu that pairs beautifully with the brews -- salty, fatty, upscale bar food that we couldn't stop eating until we'd literally licked our plates and fingers clean. It's a busy place, packed by 9 p.m. with an overflow crowd of pretty college kids drinking far more than they're eating, and I felt  pangs of pity for the servers hunching, scrunching, and squeezing their way through the throngs.

(Note: For a more relaxed experience, go midweek; there's a cool patio outside).

Our waiter, in spite of the mayhem, was a doll: He had beers to recommend from their long list of bottles  -- a Belgian ale called Delirium Tremens and a Two Hearted Ale; both were deeper experiences than we're used to getting from beer, with long, smooth finishes and notes of honey. On tap, among others, they're serving Dogfish Head 60 minute, Lagunitas Pils, Great Divide Hercules,

Hobgoblin, Weinstephaner Hefeweissen,

and Stone Pale Ale, enough to keep any serious drinker busy. Our beer improved even further against two absolutely delicious nightly specials: seared cod fillet with pureed cauliflower and mushroom ragout, and a super-moist pork tenderloin served on pickled beet salad with Asian pear slaw. We also worked through a big bowl of deep-fried rock shrimp in a pool of jalapeno pepper jelly and topped with jicama daikon carrot slaw; and a charcuterie board that featured sopressata, braesola, and prosciutto with a dish of fig jam and scatterings of sour, giant capers. Entrees are mostly in the high teens and low 20s, small plates and apps in the $10 range.

I  hope they can keep the quality of the food high at these moderate prices: Tryst is the kind of neighborhood joint that makes you want to sell and move closer.

4 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach

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