Spanish Pork Burgers
Father’s Office chef and owner Sang Yoon, who makes some of America’s best burgers, flavors his succulent pork patty with Spanish ingredients like piquillo peppers and serrano ham. “Spain,” he says, “performs miracles with pork.”
Spinach Egg Drop Soup
"A few years ago," Sang Yoon recalls, "I caught a cold and my friend Sal Marino of Il Grano invited me for a bowl of stracciatella alla romana, the Italian soup with egg strands and semolina. I went home and made my own ghetto version with broth from a box, and realized it would taste even better with ginger and spinach."
Braised Short Ribs with Daikon and Glass Noodles
These tender short ribs are served in an intense broth made sweet with mirin and brown sugar and dark with soy sauce and sherry. "This is a variation of a Korean dish called kalbi tang," Sang Yoon says.
Rack of Lamb with Arugula Pesto
"This combination was a huge hit while I was chef at Michael’s in Santa Monica," says Sang Yoon of his grilled lamb paired with a simple, pleasantly tangy arugula-and-Parmesan pesto. The mustard seeds in the lamb's spice coating add alluring crunch. The Russian River Brewing Company's Salvation, a rich and powerful Belgian-style ale, has the substance to stand up to the flavorful meat. An alternative choice, Yoon says, is Maredsous 8, a Belgian double ale similar to Salvation in many ways.
Sichuan Peppercorn Shrimp
Sang Yoon has been going to what he calls Los Angeles's "real" Chinatown—the Chinatown in Monterey Park, California—every week for the past five years. Those visits inspired these Sichuan peppercorn-coated shrimp; stir-frying them with two kinds of chiles gives them all kinds of heat. A spice-infused American white ale, like the smooth Allagash White or the lightly citrusy Lost Coast Great White would be great with this dish.
Flatiron Steak Salad with Thai Dressing
"This is the dish that I make to show wine geeks what beer can do with food," says Sang Yoon of this tender, grilled Thai beef salad with its alluring citrus-and-soy dressing. "I love the acidity of the lime juice and fish sauce in Thai food. Those high-pitched flavors are impossible with wine, but a silky-smooth Belgian beer like Tripel Karmeliet allows them to come through. I serve this salad to my sommelier friends and say, 'Put your Riesling away.'"
Double-Pork, Double-Cheese Burgers
Sang Yoon first learned the benefits of making burgers with more than one kind of meat when he tried a beef-pork patty at a little corner stand in Atlanta. For his impressive version, he uses chopped smoky bacon to enrich ground pork. Just before the burgers are done, he tops them with Camembert (for creaminess) and Gorgonzola (for more creaminess, as well as pungency).
Curried Mussels in White Ale
"I first made these mussels for Thanksgiving two years ago," says Yoon. "I don't make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner—I cook outside the box and call it Sangsgiving ABT (Anything But Turkey). The mussels were such a hit, I put them on the menu at Father's Office." Adding creamy white ale to the intense curry broth helps mellow the flavors. But for pairing, Yoon favors a beer with more malty depth, like the Russian River Brewing Company's Damnation ale.
Thai Ceviche with Coconut
A refreshing starter or light main course, Sang Yoon's Thai take on a Latin American classic is a perfect balance of crunchy, tender, sweet, hot and tart.
Grilled Lamb Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette
For a pretty blend of colors as well as flavors, Sang Yoon lays slices of cumin-spiced lamb on a bed of jicama, carrot and lettuce. "Lamb seasoned with cumin is very Indian, as well as Sichuan and Yunnan. But no one in Asia would serve lamb on a salad; that's just me being Californian," Yoon says.
Crisp Noodle Pancake with Tamarind-Glazed Chicken
Sang Yoon's succulent chicken, glazed with an Indian-inflected blend of tamarind, vinegar and chile, sits on a pan-seared cake of slender Chinese egg noodles. The glaze is terrific with any poultry.
Fried Forbidden Rice
For a robust take on the Indonesian fried rice dish nasi goreng, Sang Yoon stir-fries black rice, sometimes called forbidden rice, with bacon and roasted garlic. "You can make it with short-grain brown rice, but you'd miss a lot of the fun," Sang Yoon says.