The Forbidden Root opens tonight in West Town (photo gallery here), and the brewpub's chef said his philosophy in cooking matches the thinking behind how the brewery makes its beer. Executive chef Dan Weiland held the same title at the shuttered Francesca's Forno, and said he just wants to get the best out of his ingredients, just like his brewer colleagues. This is what will make Forbidden Root unique.
The beer is the headliner, so the menu (see below) isn't overtly complex: "We are not going to push the envelope when it comes to technique," Weiland said.
But despite keeping it more simple and refined, Weiland will make sure every dish receives care and is properly seasoned. He called it "honest cooking," and said the brewers —known for using unusual, earthy ingredients— inspire him. He points to a malted hangar steak, which uses the same malt used in beer. Once toasted, the malt gives the meat a rich flavor that he compared to a coffee dry rub. He threw in some peppers, onion, thyme, parsley to create a winner.
Eventually, Weiland wants to host some specialty dinners, pairing his "eclectic American" food with the beer.
And what about the beer? The opening menu consists of eight brews. There's the Sublime Ginger (3.8-percent ABV), Forbidden Root Ale (5.2 percent), Wild Flower Pale Ale (5.6 percent), Heavy Petal imperial stout and a barreled-aged version (9.2 percent), ‘64 Impala (5.6 percent, gin and juice inspired), Cherry Amaro Ale (8.2 percent) and Tiger Palm (7 percent).
It's been a long time coming for Forbidden Root. Check out the full food menu below.