Beer Belly: From Death By Duck to Lucky Charms Pancakes
We are in Koreatown. The customers are Korean. The chef won this year's Korean BBQ cookoff, with a dish of kimchi-brined pork loin with Cismontane Double IPA ssam-jang. But we are not eating Korean food -- we are eating something called Death by Duck, which is to say fries crisped in duck fat, dusted with smoked salt and sprinkled with a handful of crisp duck confit scrunched into individual fibers. It is, as one might say, a Lipitor moment, leavened only slightly by the glass of Telegraph Rye XPA we happen to be drinking, a beer that reminds us somehow of a liverwurst sandwich we once enjoyed. P. Wesley Lieberher, the chef at gastropub Beer Belly, seems to specialize in ingenious drunk food, including "quad-deck" grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon, hot wings and mac 'n' cheese garnished with scraps of fried chicken skin, all of it made with one kind of super-limited-edition craft beer or another.
Would your doctor approve? She would not. The counter bristles with taps for beers so local that they probably could be delivered on an MTA bus, and you will be tasting several of them before you stagger out the door. Sunday brunch includes Lucky Charms pancakes with Fruity Pebbles whipped cream, and the menu suggests a beer pairing for it. The only healthy thing on the menu is the grilled broccoli, and even that comes with what the menu calls Craftsman 1903 Beer Whiz. Where we come from, Beer Whiz does not generally refer to cheese sauce. But why quibble? There are deep-fried Oreos for dessert.