Food Meets Beer: The Sample Room

Killer Pairing #1

Meatloaf ($6) with Northgate Brewing Wall’s End

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The loaf is achingly tender, made from pork, beef, and bison, and mixed the same way by the same prep cook every day for the last eleven years. “Talk about a staple of the Sample Room,” says Knudsen. “That’s Alberto, been here since day one. He’s the meatloaf guy. He’s got that touch. I can’t make it like him.”

The slab of meatloaf gets a crispy exterior from a short stint on the flat top griddle. It’s drizzled with a house-made smoked ketchup that once caused Bourdain to comment: “You make your own ketchup, what are you f—ing crazy?” If ketchup like this (thick and balanced, not too sweet) is crazy, we don’t want to be sane.

Killer Pairing #2

The Bottineau Burger ($12) with Fulton Sweet Child of Vine

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It should be well known by now that a truly great burger begins (and largely ends) with great meat. At the Sample Room, it’s grass-fed, ground in-house, and griddled to a perfect medium-rare. It would be a fine burger if it stopped there. Instead, it’s topped with a beautiful slab of crispy pork belly confit, a tuft of tangy fried onions and a biting mustard aioli.

For a beer pairing, what else to cut all that richness and match the acids but the neighborhood’s finest hoppy IPA? Even if you don’t get the burger, get a side of fries. Before leaving, Hausmann convinced the ownership to finally outfit the kitchen with a deep fryer. The fries make you wonder how they ever got along without one.

John Garland also writes about beer and food for the Heavy Table

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John Garland About John Garland

John Garland is the Deputy Editor at the Growler Magazine. Find him on twitter (@johnpgarland) or in every coffee shop on West 7th Street.

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