Pittsburgh may have one of the fastest growing restaurant scenes in all of the country. Take Smallman Galley, the "chef incubator" for up-and-comers looking to open their own restaurants. It's home to four new chefs with four exciting new restaurant concepts: Rafael Vencio, the chef behind the contemporary French-American Aubergine Bistro; Jessica Lewis, chef at the vegetarian-focused Carota Cafe; Jacqueline Wardle, chef at the "toast concept" Josephine's Toast; and Stephen Eldridge, chef at the globally inspired Provision PGH.
Four new restaurants in one space? Naturally, the Goose Island team had to see it for itself — and pour some beer.
At the final Migration Week Dinner with Eater, Goose Island paired its brews with small plates and dishes from each of the four Smallman Galley chefs. Diners packed in to taste kielbasa corndogs, beet and ricotta appetizers, cauliflower sourdough toast, and smoked mushrooms on parmesan chips, while Goose Island poured its IPA and Oktoberfest.
Then came each of the chef's dishes — first up, toast. Wardle kept to her restaurant's inspiration with a foie gras brioche toast, topped with sherry vinaigrette, apples, and mustard seeds. Paired with the Matilda brew for a whiff of funky Brettanomyces yeast and spicy clove aromas, it was the kind of appetizer avocado toast lovers could only dream of.
Then, Lewis created a vegetarian appetizer with a beer-infused twist: a baked spaghetti squash "nest" with Sophie-compressed Honeycrisp apple, candied celery, shaved fennel and orange, with a splash of jalapeño oil and brown butter Honeynut squash puree. The effervescent, light Sophie brew complemented the vegetable dish and the citrus components.
Vencio made another beer-infused dish, this time with one of Goose Island's rarest brews. He made corned duck breast over Madame Rose risotto with peach butter and scallions; the sour cherry and maltiness of the beer played up the richness of the duck.
And because no dinner should be without a boozy dessert, Eldridge served up a beer float with Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Barleywine. This was no ordinary ice cream float: The dessert came with hazelnut ice cream and Niagara grape sorbet, barleywine crème fraîche, smoked tea butter toffee crumble, and pickled cherries on top. Needless to say, the desserts went quickly.