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08.11.10 by  

Gastropub Your Saturday Night

Create a one-of-a-kind dinner party by offering guests seasonally driven food along with perfectly paired cocktails a la Spur Gastropub in Seattle.

When the word beer doesn’t come up once during a gastropub interview, one may scratch her head. We went along with it and were pleased to discover that Chefs Brian McCracken and Dana Tough of Seattle’s Spur Gastropub and Tavern Law focus their diners’ experiences around seasonally driven food and cocktails. We endorse skipping the brews and Yorkshire puddings in favor of their inventive combos. With a little inspiration, you can pound out an off-roaded gastropub meal of your own at home.

Fish made easy: this trout shows a simple, beautiful ingredient at the heart of a dish at Spur. Photo: Kristin Zwiers/Spur

served raw: let’s chat about the gastropub experience and how you became a part of it.
Brian McCracken and Dana Tough: To us, the gastropub experience is all about a bar with good food — that’s all. What we wanted to do with Spur was create an American version of the popular English gastropub, using locally sourced ingredients based on seasonality. We wanted to open something together and when we found this great space in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, it all just clicked.

we love the idea of a more refined pub experience …
With Spur, we’re taking a fine dining experience and bringing it into a more relaxed setting. At a true pub or bar you’re with friends, or by yourself, but either way you’re engaged in what’s going on around you. We want to put food out there that will spark conversation and interaction, sharing and tasting. We’re inspired by using refined techniques and exquisite ingredients prepared in a forward-thinking manner and served in an approachable setting at a comfortable price point.

what comes first when designing your menu, the drinks or the food?
We first write our food menu. We then work closely with our talented bartenders to help create a seasonally driven drink list that is in line with our food.

The "Peanut Butter Cup" shows Spur's way of taking something familiar and making it new. Photo: Kristin Zwiers/Spur

great food, great drinks … do you cook with spirits?
We do use spirits and beer in our food from time to time, like the warm artichoke salad that was on our April menu. The dish really honored artichokes and had smoked yogurt, miner’s lettuce and a Cynar fluid gel. Cynar is an artichoke-based liqueur and we used it in this case to add a deeper flavor to a bright dish and to show another form of artichokes.

to re-create the gastropub experience at home, for say a group of 4, what’s your reco?
A truly great dinner party would serve Braised Oxtail Pot Pie paired with Spaten Dunkel. In our case, we’d pair the oxtail with a Green Point Cocktail.

what tips for home chefs looking to elevate their gastropub game?
Our advice is to use the freshest ingredients possible and focus on every detail during the cooking process.

Green Point Cocktail

  • 2 ounces rye
  • 1/2 ounce Green Chartreuse
  • 1/2 ounce Punt e Mes
  1. Stir over ice, strain into a cocktail glass.