Although we were seated inside a restaurant, it felt much more like an intimate dinner party with great friends. We made our way around the dining room, greeting familiar faces before heading to our seats. My tablemates were already in the midst of a hysterical recap of a recent male revue show at a local casino. I offered up my best sausage one liner before without hesitating. This was all before even ordering a cocktail.
The occasion was Saint Dinette, a pop up dinner inside The Strip Club. The restaurant has been slow in finding a home and actually moving towards opening, but the chefs and owners haven’t stopped from planning the menus. This event was the third pop up, but unlike the first two, it hadn’t been widely promoted. This was a collection of friends. Those of us who have been not-so-patiently waiting for the opening were able to horn our way into the dining room, mainly by harassing Tim Niver about when we were finally going to get a taste of this project from him and chef J.D. Fratzke.
The food will follow along the French trade route through the America. The influences range from French-Canadian decadence down through the Gulf of Mexico. The cocktails shared were a wink to our Northern neighbor. The brand sour heralds what might just be a brand renaissance.
The Saint Dinette version of a brandy sour was an autumnal mix of Laird’s Applejack, Tawny Port and a house made sour. The froth atop the glass gives a giddy urgency, demanding a quick first sip as soon as it lands at the table. Caramel apple flavors wash over the tongue leaving a lusty port perfume in its wake. The sour keeps the cocktail at the edge of sweetness, never allowed to spill over into cloying territory.
While we’ll likely still have to wait for the restaurant to open until sometime next spring, and this isn’t appearing anywhere on a menu, it’s possible that if you ask the bartender nicely, the brandy sour can still be ordered at the bar inside the Strip Club Meat & Fish. Where any night often feels like a perfect dinner party full of friends you’ve yet to meet.