On Tuesday we were lucky enough to be invited to Vera Pizzeria’s Summer Menu Preview Dinner. The evening consisted of four courses (each course was 2 dishes each plus a few extras) that showcased new appetizers, entrees, pizzas and cocktails that they would be unveiling on Tuesday, July 8th.
We tried about nine new dishes that will be on the menu. We’re pretty excited about several of the dishes we tried. (Pictures of all the courses with a brief description will be in the gallery below.) The Fried Chicken and Waffles will definitely be a crowd pleaser. Chef Karl Wyant’s really went all out with his version of the classic dish, but when you capture all of the flavors in one bite, it’s a great combination. The fried chicken was covered in a maple sriracha sauce and served on top of cornmeal waffles with some smoked bacon. We were both big fans. Another favorite was the Avocado BLT Pizza. It was something I would order again in a heartbeat, very light and creamy. The Lemon Garlic Aioli, Argula, Bacon and Avocado worked really well together. The dessert course of a Lemon Custard Tart and Watermelon Absinthe Sorbet served in a hallowed out lime were simply awesome. Not only was the presentation beautiful but they both had really refreshing, bright flavors that will work really well in the warm summer months.
The new cocktail menu is Bartender Jason Wood’s first since taking over Bar Manager duties in April of this year. And he clearly has some serious talent; the four cocktails we sampled were really excellent. The Lighthouse was an immediate favorite of both Alli and myself with a sweet and sour combination of vodka, grapefruit, barenjager, orange bitters and cucumber. The Smoke Monster was not as scary as the name. The mezcal was mild and the scotch rinse added some smoke but without being overwhelming. We finished the meal with a glass of cold brew coffee with yellow and green Chartreuse and Fernet Branca (of course). We had a couple conversations with Jason and I’m excited to see what he does over the next few months; I will definitely be visiting often. The staff are planning on offering monthly classes and tastings that will be open to the public, each class focusing on different liquors and techniques. This menu change will be one of Vera’s largest, with 11/12 new cocktails and only a few old classics.
We also had a chance to talk to owner Cameron Rector about their plans for the summer and it seems like they have a lot going on. They will have Chartreuse, Fernet Branca and one particular cocktail on tap (yes, on tap) at all times and will revamp their beer selection. They are also playing around with housemade bitters and will have eight different varieties that will be used in their cocktails. In addition, Vera is also planning on improving their non alcoholic selections and will be making their own sodas in-house.
We all know about all of the new restaurants and bars that are opening in coming weeks and months, but it’s fun to see an established bar like Vera trying some new things in their third year. Follow their facebook page for announcements for dinner and drink announcements and to find out about upcoming classes.