Wine and beer have had their days in the spotlight. Liquor is now edging its way in and surprising palates with fresh ingredients that expand on the popular farm-to-table philosophy. Interested? Sit a spell on Cantwell's porch and sample the latest recipes from Painted Stave Distillery.
The secret is out. Locally-distilled liquor is now available at bars, restaurants and liquor stores throughout the state. And, while Painted Stave Distillery co-owners Mike Rasmussen and Ron Gomes aren’t taking the Smyrna distillery anywhere any time soon, that doesn’t mean their liquor isn’t going places.
Its first stop? Cantwell’s Tavern in Odessa for the restaurant’s inaugural (but, likely not its last) patio dinner, featuring freshly-trawled bay eats and several Painted Stave treats.
“The chef and I decided we wanted to do a Monday night patio dinner,” said Cantwell’s General Manager Chris Huot. “Last year, we did these fine-dining beer dinners that were $70 per person. But, this year, we wanted to do something more affordable and more casual. So, we decided to take dinner out to the patio.”
The menu has been set and the $40 price tag comes with four courses:
First course: Cajun crab croquettes with an arugula, sweet corn and pancetta salad
Second course: Virginia-caught Cherrystone oysters on the half shell
Third course: Cajun rockfish with a lemon-dill potato salad
Dessert: Deconstructed pecan pie courtesy of Cantwell’s pastry chef
Meals include soft drinks and coffee but liquor will be extra. Huot said that they’ll be running several specials that night, though, like $6 vodka drinks and $2 for National Bohemian Beer.
The plan is to continue the patio dinners throughout the summer, assuming that the first Bayside theme is successful. Future dinner themes include a German dinner, a campfire dinner and a Mexican grill.
Huot also said that Gomes and his wife, who are Middletown residents, will be there as well. Gomes will be answering questions and giving the stories behind “Candy Manor” and “Silver Screen.”
“I’ll definitely be there,” said Gomes. “I want to give folks who are interested the opportunity to learn more about our distilling process. I think it’s going to be a fun night. The farm-to-table philosophy at Cantwell’s works well with our own philosophy about utilizing raw ingredients.”
Reservations are required and nearly half of the available slots are already taken. Huot encourages people to call early.