On Wednesday, May 3rd, two days before Cinco de Mayo, I attended a Patrón Tequila tasting dinner at Piastra Restaurant in the Marietta Square. It was fun, educational, and at times raucous. The food was excellent, the drinks refreshing, and the conversation informative.
(Note: I did attend this event at no cost in exchange for writing this post. However, all opinions are my own.)
Piastra is an Italian restaurant in the Marietta Square. It is a cozy place with a nice size bar and large front windows where guests can see and be seen. The event was held in the private dining room in the back of the restaurant. I was joined by fifteen other guests to learn about Patrón tequilas and enjoy the subsequent cocktails and paired dishes.
At each seat was a Patrón branded gift bag containing a t-shirt, key chain, and mini Boston shaker. There was an in-depth educational booklet for each guest telling about the different Patrón spirits. As guests arrived, we were treated to a welcome cocktail served in a keepsake etched champagne flute. The Mango Spritzer was a slightly fizzy and celebratory cocktail made with prosecco and Patrón Citrónge Mango Liqueur.
After a brief introduction to our Patrón host, Bobbie, we started the evening with a second keepsake glass containing Gran Patrón Platinum. This sipping tequila was an absolute joy. An ultra premium tequila, it was served neat at room temperature and without the usual “party shot” salt and lime, which it certainly did not need. This particular expression is rested for a short time on oak and is decanted into a handcrafted and etched crystal bottle, each one numbered.
Served along with the Gran Patrón Platinum was a Bistecca Tartara – raw beef tenderloin, pickled mustard seed, shallots, garlic, and a duck egg yolk. Chef Greg Lipman described the dish and suggested we use the crostini served along with the Italian tartare to break the yolk and mix everything together. The flavor was rich and delicious; the tequila delightfully cut through the richness, clearing the palate nicely.
While we were enjoying this course, Bobbie took the opportunity to give us a brief history of tequila in general and some background about Patrón in particular (how many of you knew it was founded by John Paul DeJoria of Paul Mitchell fame?)
On to the Second Course
After a check to see how everyone enjoyed the first course, the dishes were cleared and the second drink arrived. The Basil Patrón, a riff on a margarita, was an extremely refreshing drink made with Roca Patrón Silver, fresh lime juice, and basil simple syrup. Bobbie again gave us a brief background on the tequila, this time the production process. Roca is Spanish for rock, a nod to the old-world process of using a volcanic wheel to crush the piñas.
Chef Greg again joined us to introduce the dish. The Pollo di Angelo was a chicken breast pounded flat and rolled with a shrimp mousse, braised in white wine and truffles. The dish was excellent with a pleasantly zesty bite to the mousse. The drink was a perfect accompaniment, with a slight sweetness to counteract the little bit of spice.
Third Time’s the Charm
The Piastra Signature Margarita was next out. This classic margarita was made with Roca Patrón Reposado, Patrón Citrónge Lime Liqueur and a splash of house-made lemon-lime margarita mix. Served with this was the Langosto Frittelo, a Maine lobster fritter or hushpuppy made with hominy and polenta on a pancetta jam. I think this was my favorite dish. The slight sweetness of the jam was a delicious accompaniment to the crispy lobster fritter. Again, this was a perfect pairing. I could see these as an appetizer with drinks before dinner or a show.
The final savory dish was a house-made veal and garlic sausage over cannellini beans. Served with a spicy red pepper sauce to add to taste, this incredible sausage that all but melted in my mouth was a dream. The accompanying cocktail was a twist on an Old Fashioned, made with Roca Patrón Añejo, bitters, sweet vermouth and a Luxardo cherry. The tequila was a great choice for this cocktail with its similarities to bourbon.
The final course was a Crispella di Nocciola, or a crispy crepe stuffed with chocolate ganache and topped with toasted hazelnuts and powdered sugar. Served with this was Patrón XO Cafe with a float of Baileys Irish Cream. The sweet of the cocktail, which tasted like a coffee with Baileys, was offset by the dessert which was surprisingly not as sweet as I expected. The combination of the two was a perfect end to the meal.
Saying Good Night
After the meal, Bobbie stayed to talk about the tequilas a little more, making sure we understood the difference in what we tasted. Chef Greg also came out to visit with us as did our bartender, Scott. Chef talked a little about the restaurant and his farm-to-table philosophy. Overall, the event felt like a combination of tasting and chef’s table. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food, the cocktails, and the information.
When you visit the Marietta Square, whether for a show at one of the theaters or for one of the musical events at the gazebo, be sure to save up your appetite and stop into Piastra. I’m already looking forward to my next visit.