Interview with Chef Dimitrios Menagias of The City Beer Hall

Chef Dimitrio Menagias  
The City Beer Hall
42 Howard Street
Albany, NY 12207

Brief Bio: My parents owned a diner so I was born and bread in the restaurant business. Always wanting to expand my knowledge I left the family business at 16 yrs old, lied about my age and started valet parking at a 4 star restaurant to get my foot in the door.  Eventually making it into the kitchen and later working in the front of house, I developed a better sense of what the consumer ultimately wanted.  Once the opportunity arose to move to New York City I jumped on it and ran a private club where I was allowed to be as creative as possible while having visiting chef’s from around New York step in and cook with me.  Alas, I returned home to Albany and opened the Wine ‘n’ Diner.  I wanted to fill what I saw as a missing niche at the time: combining fine dining technique with a casual, hip approach.  I’ve always had a demanding palate for things new and fresh and usually strive to achieve a flavor without following a specific recipe.  Putting fun into the food I’m cooking is extremely important to me.  I’ve always felt that fine dining can be for the masses as well as for the gastronomes and it’s been my goal to achieve that balance.  Fine food doesn’t have to be pretentious – it should be fun and delectable.  We hold the Wild Game Night beer dinners monthly at The City Beer Hall, and it has been a great vessel for me to challenge myself by pairing and contrasting the food around unique, craft beers.

Why is the pairing of food & beer important to you?  For the love of beer of course!  But seriously, it has brought me a lot of joy to see beer achieve such respect in the United States.  And for any chef pairing comes naturally, although unlike wine beer has larger obstacles.  Challenges are good.

What got you started on pairing food & beer?  I have incorporated beer into different recipes where it didn’t belong for a while.  But most of my experience with pairing has come in this last year at The City Beer Hall with the different events that we’ve held.

Who are the chefs you admire? Wylie Dufresne because he’s a mad scientist.  Daniel Boulud for his classic approach.  Eric Ripert for combing classic and rustic styles.  Anthony Bourdain for cutting through all the pretentious BS.

What are some of your favorite pairings?  Flemish Rabbit Pie paired with Wandering Star Saison. Alligator cakes with Wild Boar Bacon and Hoisin Aioli paired with Brooks Brown Ale from Crossroads Brewing.

Favorite style / beer to pair with?  Farmhouse Saisons and wheat beers are fun because of their rustic, food-friendly flavors, but I like the challenge in pairing hoppier beers as well.

Favorite all time beer?  Tripel Karmeliet

Feature dish in which you pair beer with food or use beer in preparing the dish?  Troegenator Double Bock braised Elk stew with winter root vegetables.

Thoughts on the future of food & beer in fine dining?  The sky’s the limit.  For me the future looks like pretzel encrusted wild boar schnitzel over Spatzel, paired with Art of Darkness.

Favorite restaurant in a city not your own?  Spotted Pig NYC

Be sure to join us at City Beer Hall on April 18th for Wild Game Night which will feature 4 courses of Wild Game paired with Ommegang: Aphrodite, BPA, Seduction and Art of Darkness. Check back to see the menu. 

Click here to purchase tickets or call 518-449-BEER (2337)

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1 Response to Interview with Chef Dimitrios Menagias of The City Beer Hall

  1. Michaeline says:

    Awesome food….incredible man. Keep on cooking Dimitrios…we’ll keep eating! Michaeline & Bill

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