4 Stellar Food and Beverage Pairings in NYC

By Erin Lettera | Jaclyn Warren, Will Blunt, & Erin Lettera


Erin Lettera
Jaclyn Warren, Will Blunt, & Erin Lettera
Grandpa Lusk’s Cheesecake paired with Sercial, Henriques & Henriques, “10 Years Old,” Madeira, Portugal, NV
Grandpa Lusk’s Cheesecake paired with Sercial, Henriques & Henriques, “10 Years Old,” Madeira, Portugal, NV

Cascun Farm Lamb Loin and Nerantzi Koniaros

Amali is the kind of place where time passes slowly and gloriously. Take the smoky, earthy Nerantzi Koniaros wine, a 50,000-year-old Greek varietal, which is cultivated from vineyards that line the foothills of the mountains in Serres. A Greek stew, lamb giouvetsi, is a staple dish for this subtropical climate and a favorite of Amali owner James Mallios’s father. So when Chef Alex Tubero took over the menu, he wanted to honor these classics in his own way. The Cascun Sun lamb loin contains all the traditional, warm flavors of the stew itself: cinnamon, black peppercorn and bay leaf merged with orzo, tomato and Kefalotyri cheese. “We always think of seafood and summery [cuisine] in Greece,” Sommelier Kylie Monogan says. “But in the mountains and the winter villages, there are a lot of baked vegetables and sheep’s cheeses, so it made sense to pair wine from the same place."


Grandpa Lusk's Cheesecake and 10-year Henrques & Henriques Madeira

When pairing for Michael Toscano’s family cheesecake recipe, Sommelier Madeline Maldonado knew just what to do. She pulled the 10-year Henriques & Henriques Sercial Madeira NV, an acid-driven, dried-fruit-forward, fortified sweet wine that comes from a family vineyard on the island and dates back to 1425. It’s been known to pair well with oysters and soft cheeses, but when it meets the sour cream-topped, graham cracker-crusted, ultra-creamy Carnegie-style cheesecake, the wine absolutely comes to life. 


Sakizuke and Strange Weather in Tokyo


A visit to Odo is a sensory exhibit. As your eyes adjust to the dim lighting, you’ll hear the sound of knives being sharpened and smell the luxurious scent of Le Labo drifting from the bathroom. All this even before the dishes and cocktails start coming out. But when they do, steady yourself. Ooh-ing and aah-ing, you might not be able to decipher if you're sensorially delirious or just straight-up drunk. Exhibit A: the sakizuke. Moody and striking, Chef Hiroki Odo’s flavors target every part of the mouth: grilled Japanese eggplant, ankimo, nukazuke pickles, sudachi foam, western burdock confit, Kings County whiskey-infused dark chocolate, and caviar for the pièce de résistance. 

To elevate this creation, Bartender Jordan David Smith brought in the Strange Weather in Tokyo cocktail. At the base, the Imo Shochu infused with pine needles demands your attention but plays off the leek charcoal powder on the plate. Sake vermouth lightens the mood and allows the monkfish liver to fully deliver, and the aromatics of Italian bianco vermouth accentuate each layer of the dish. It’s all just boozy and rich enough, a pairing that’s essentially bait, reeling you in to the next course.


Chile Crab Rangoon Dip and Flying Blind Fruited Sour Ale

As any New Yorker has learned from trips to the nearest Chinese takeout joint and bodega, Chinese food and beer go hand in hand. But when it’s time to skip the couch for a night out, Silver Apricot is the answer. Case in point: chile crab rangoon dip. Made to be scooped up with crunchy wonton chips, the layers of cream cheese, chile and peeky-toe crab are just screaming for a refined beer to wash it all down with. Cue Silver Apricot Managing Partner and Sommelier Emmeline Zhao. “My family is Shanghai Chinese, and in Shanghai, we have hairy crab once a year, and we always eat it with plum wine,” Zhao says. For a similar experience, she came across NYC-based Torch & Crown’s Flying Blind fruited sour ale, a berry-centric brew with just enough tartness to cut through the creaminess while accentuating the succulent crab. Consider it more spritz than sour, more buzz than bite.


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