Some of the words guests threw around at Dirty Oscar’s Annex’s Fall Dinner Party on Oct. 10 included “magnificent,” “incredible” and “complex” – not exactly words you would normally hear to describe most bar food in Tacoma. But Executive Chef Aaron Grissom is determined to push the boundaries, and his new dinner parties provide a way for him to not only learn new techniques he does not get to use on the regular menu, but it also allows him a chance to bring something new to foodies in Tacoma. “There are so many cool techniques in food going on outside of Tacoma, and I’ve always wanted to do something similar to bigger named chefs I’ve grown to emulate,” he said.
He created a menu featuring four courses deftly paired with Elysian Brewery’s finest beers. Grissom’s first course was a take on fondue featuring a confit of baby beets and rainbow carrot, duck prosciutto and goat cheese fondue, along with Bull’s Blood Microgreen, Chioggia beet chips, duck cracklings and rainbow beet gelee. Course two features an unconventional take on pho, featuring a red snapper noodle nest in pho demi, and complemented by Fresno and black basil “caviar” – which packed a surprisingly intense explosion of flavor. Paired with the Maestrom Blood Orange Ale, the flavors played off each other in a big way. The duo of barbecued pork in the third course may have pushed the limits for some people who might have a problem coming to terms with eating “pig face,” but this is one of Grissom’s personal favorites. “I love the challenge of bringing new things to people, and this course was much different than anything we’ve ever done,” he said. “This is the food I want to cook.”
The last course – before a four-course dessert flight, of course – was roast of lamb featuring balsamic macerated figs, parsnip, lotus root puree, pistachio dust and carbonated grape. The dessert flight featured an array of fall flavors ranging from spiced pumpkin to orange and ginger. Grissom’s salted caramel bacon powder, inspired by a recipe from renowned Chicago Chef Grant Achatz, topped off the last course featuring an allspice cookie crumble with coffee ice cream quenelle and vanilla marshmallow-dipped chocolate tuile. Grissom is already hard at work on the menu for the next dinner party, taking place Nov. 13-14, where he plans to pair each course with a different bourbon. “The next dinner party will definitely have fun, whimsical food once again, paired with different types of bourbon you wouldn’t regularly see on the shelf,” he said.
For more information about D.O.A., visit http://www.dirtyoscarsannex.com.