©Rosie de Belgeonne

Last Wednesday night a very special culinary collaboration took place on Humboldt Street. Hosted by Brooklyn Brewery, it was called Dinner Party No.1, and was special for three reasons:

1. The event took place at the brand new ‘Humboldt & Jackson’ (434 Humboldt St), an American Bar and Tasting Room just the other side of the BQE.

2. The evening involved a delicious 6-course meal using the wares of local producers and revolving around the unique fermented seasonings developed by the Kaizen Trading Company (KTC), the experimental culinary research lab founded by Momofuku.

3. The dinner featured fabulous beer pairings by Brooklyn Brewery with numerous rare brews not often available to the public.

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Brooklyn Brewery Chef Andrew Gerson and Ryan Miller of Kaizen Trading Company ©Rosie de Belgeonne

The menu was co-developed by Brooklyn Brewery Chef Andrew Gerson and the Kaizen Trading Company team and, of course, the collaboration of two fermentation fanatics turned out to be a match made in heaven.

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Beef Tartare Amuse-Bouche with Silver Anniversary Brooklyn Lager ©Rosie de Belgeonne

The evening began at the bar with Brooklyn Brewery’s Silver Anniversary Lager and a top-notch amuse-bouche of beef tartare and sunflower hozon on 5-spice potato chips.

We then moved through to the all-American tasting room, and sat wedding-style at long communal tables beneath a vast American flag and a gleaming chandelier as we were welcomed by BB’s Andrew Gerson and KTC’s product development chef Ryan Miller.

Inside Humboldt and Jackson's All-American Tasting Room ©Rosie de Belgeonne

The aim of the KTC lab, Ryan told us, is to investigate culinary traditions that involve fermentation. Founded in 2010, they have developed two unique products: Bonji (a bit like soy sauce) and Hozon ( a bit like miso-paste) both without the use of soy-beans. Instead they ferment nuts, seeds, legumes and grains, resulting in a delicious umami-tasting product with much less salt content than soy-based versions.

KTC products are  hand made in Williamsburg  and are currently on limited release at some of NYCs finest restaurants such as ABC Kitchen, The Nomad, Eleven Madison Park and, of course, the various Momofuku venues. A dish of Momufuku Noodle Bar’s Chickpea Hozon Ramen proved such a hit that Eater recently described it as NYC’s Best Ramen. Praise indeed for the soy-less seasoning!

©Rosie de Belgeonne

Having heard such exciting things about KTC’s pioneering flavoring methods, we were all excited to taste their food. “Tonight’s an experiment”, they told us “…and you are our guinea pigs!”

The amazing dishes that followed were too numerous to list individually but included an exquisite arrangement of pickled vegetable crudite (a taste sensation), a scallop crudo with apples and rye bonji (buttery smooth and insanely delicious), a velvety spring vegetable broth with chickpea hozon and a soft egg, and the biggest pork ribs you ever saw, served up family style on long wooden boards (full menu below).

Baby Vegetable Crudite (Image courtesy of @ktc_ny)

A different beer materialized with each course and, given the excitement of the self-confessed beer geek and home brewer sat next to me, I knew we were being treated to some incredibly rare gems. The bourbon barrel-aged ‘Wild Streak’ (10%) was a winner paired with the pickled veg crudites, a rare Kreik (11% ) aged on sour cherries tasted remarkably like Christmas and the final tipple of the night, a 2003 Black Chocolate Stout (10%) was so coveted by my enthusiastic neighbor that I eventually gave in and let him have my entire glass.

As if the evening itself wasn’t treat enough, upon leaving every guest was presented with a gift set of their very own Chickpea Hozon and Farro Bonji, along with a bottle of Brooklyn Greenmarket Wheat.

Bonji and Hozon, the secret ingredients from Kaizen Trading Co Lab ©Rosie de Belgeonne

The event sold out quickly but the good news is that Brooklyn Brewery are hosting two more dinner party collaborations at Humboldt and Jackson in the coming weeks:

Dinner Party No.2 will be on Thursday August 7th in association with Brooklyn Grange.
Dinner Party No.3 will be on September 24th and is BB’s Brewmaster Garrett Oliver’s 20th Anniversary Dinner, so promises to be very special indeed.

Tickets have just gone on sale for Dinner Party No. 2 and are available to purchase here.

And in the meantime you should pop by and check out Humboldt & Jackson for yourself. When they’re not hosting dinners for Brooklyn Brewery they have an awesome bar serving up a concise but sturdy beer and wine list, and a fine selection of  local cheese and  meats.


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