Brian Balest is a local restaurateur and owner of the Northshore Brasserie, a Knoxville establishment specializing in French Belgian cuisine in an elegant, relaxed atmosphere. Prior to founding the Brasserie, Brian worked at The Palm in Charlotte, North Carolina, and at the Market Pavilion Hotel and Grill 225 in Charleston, South Carolina. In 2012, he became obsessed with Neapolitan pizzas, and went on a two-year quest to perfect the art, which included studying under pizza master Tony Gemignani and building a wood-fired oven in his back yard. Brian is also passionate about cured meats, particularly the Italian specialties of salami, pancetta, coppa di testa, nduja, and speck. Brian brought this unique set of skills to bear for his Trust Fall dinner, a multi-course tour de force of house made charceuterie and Neapolitan pizzas. The coup de gras was the “Captain Nero”, a mind blowing mix of clam, chili, and lemon cream served on a black, squid ink crust. In the words of one diner, “The Captain Nero pizza may be the raddest food I’ve ever had." We agree.
Roy Milner, brewery partner of Blackberry Farm, provided a broad array of delicious and unusual beers to complement Brian's menu. The most exciting was a rare beer coming back from the verge of extinction called Gratzer, which was primarily made in Poland with 100% oak smoked wheat malt. It is very delicate and light with a hint of smoke that paired beautifully with the wood grilled oysters and the coppa di testa.
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