Perfect Pairings: Delectable Dishes and Local Drinks

Savor the inventive fare masterfully matched with local wine, beer or spirits in Greater Williamsburg’s top restaurants.

Blue Talon Bistro: Mead Me in Paris — with crispy pork rinds
Rockin' the Chocolate at the Rockefeller Room
Berret's Seafood Restaurant: Where Local Pairs with Local
The Riverwalk Restaurant: The Marriage of Pigaro
Down at the Corner Cafe, of Course, It's Local
For wine aficionados at Corner Cafe
Field and Gulfstream at Water Street Grille
Mussels and wine at Water Street Grille

There's something about great matches that create transcendence out of two singular ingredients. Milk and cookies. Lennon and McCartney. Madison and Jefferson.

When you sit down at a Greater Williamsburg restaurant, there's nothing like a magical pairing to elevate the meal and transport you to a new place. 

Inspired by the Williamsburg Tasting Trail and the area’s inspired chefs, here are marriages of food with local wine, beer and spirits for that special night out, whether as a couple or a couple of families.

At Blue Talon Bistro on Prince George Street, Chef David Everett and co-owner Adam Steely pair braised lamb shank with the Gabriel Archer Reserve Red, a Bordeaux blend from The Williamsburg Winery, a historically classic pairing. Less obvious is the Blue Talon’s Mead Me in Paris cocktail that marries crispy house-made pork rinds from nearby Smithfield with mead from Williamsburg's Silver Hand Meadery.

At the Williamsburg Inn's flagship restaurant, Chef Travis Brust pairs Colonial Williamsburg's American Heritage Chocolate-dusted duck breasts with Old Stitch, an American Brown Ale brewed by the pioneering craft brewer in Williamsburg, Alewerks Brewing Company. Upping the flavor pleasure is parsnip puree, wilted greens and cherry jus. This romance between chocolate and fowl marries the light nutty-coffee notes and the caramel flavors of Old Stitch — as well as two foundations of the area’s culinary scene. 

You can’t get much more local than matching Tommy Leggett's York River oysters with the Williamsburg Winery's James River Sauvignon Blanc at the place locals consistently vote best seafood restaurant in the area. The wine is light, yet it has the sharp acidity and nuances perfect for oysters, not overpowering their delicate salinity yet cleansing your palate for the next bivalve bite.

After the oyster course, consider Berret's seafood basked in parchment with Alewerks' Chesapeake Pale Ale. Made with salmon, sea scallops, herb butter, roasted vegetables and linguini, the dish is an aromatic explosion when opened at your table. 

At Yorktown's scenic Riverwalk Restaurant, the fox and the pig marry in a tender, aromatic ceremony thanks to the pairing of Duroc pork tenderloin over bourbon polenta with grilled pineapple and braised kale matched with a sly Fox Hunter Cocktail, made of Copper Fox rye, apple brandy, fresh orange, and honey and orange cream citrate served in a whiskey barrel smoked glass. The sweet and smoky cocktail complements the pork, the char of the pineapple and the bourbon in the polenta the way Fred complemented Ginger. 

Head over to the corner of New Town for pairings that offer choices from the spirits, wine, and beer destinations on the Tasting Trail.

For brown spirit fans, Corner Cafe pairs Copper Fox rye in a classic Brooklyn cocktail with the restaurant's duck three ways — a confit duck leg quarter, a grilled duck breast and Toulouse sausage served with black truffle and parmesan gnocchi.

Also at Corner Cafe, there's the Williamsburg Winery's Wessex Hundred Viognier, crisply acidic yet also creamy, with Caratelli alla Carbonara, fresh cavatelli pasta tossed with an aged Gouda cream sauce with jumbo gulf shrimp, lobster, Prosciutto di Parma and sweat peas. The wine plays perfectly with the creamy pasta and rich seafood.

For beer lovers at Corner Cafe, there's stuffed Berkshire pork chops with sausage and sage stuffing that is a steady date of the Virginia Beer Company's Wrenish Rye, featuring rye from Copper Fox Distillery. This amber ale smoothly enhances the pork and stuffing. 

Bounty from the sea forms the centerpiece for two pairings at this Yorktown favorite.     

Whole fried local flounder with cheddar mashed potatoes and a sweet chili glaze is paired with Water Street Wheat, a wheat beer with blood orange brewed exclusively for the restaurant by Alewerks Brewing Company. The beer's brightness teases out the flounder's delicate flavors and the blood orange note marries perfectly with the chili glaze, red on red.

This second pairing at  Water Street Grille mates Williamsburg Winery's James River white wine with the food royalty of Prince Edward Island mussels. The mussels are simmered in garlic and white wine broth and the crisp citrus of the wine eliminates the need for fresh lemon. Enjoy them on a warm fall, winter or spring late afternoon sitting on the restaurant's patio with a stunning view of the river.

Don’t stop with perfect pairings. Discover the unexpected pleasures of Greater Williamsburg including tasting tours, outdoor activities and family fun things to do.  Then plan your visit today.