Maru East Lansing Hosts Sushi & Beer Pairing Event with Bell's Brewery

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019, 7:39 am
Sarah Spohn

Above from left: Nicholas Crosser and Jayson Winsor

Maru Sushi East Lansing is teaming up with Bell’s Brewery to host a sushi + beer dinner Tuesday, February 26 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Maru is now recognized across the state, but its roots are planted in the East Lansing and Okemos area. Owner Robert Song attended MSU, and committed from the beginning to buying Michigan-made products for the business.

The five-course menu will be prepared by Maru’s culinary team. Co-Head Sushi Chef Nicholas Crosser has dreamed of doing a sushi and beer pairing for a while, and is excited to bring it to East Lansing.

“The pairing started as a passion project for me, to bring the area a level of dining that I would normally need to drive out of town to find,” Crosser said. “The company has done pairing events in our Grand Rapids and Detroit markets before, but I firmly believe beer deserves its place in the pairing highlight.”

The team has been working, testing out dishes and recipes in preparation for the upcoming event, and each chef came up with their own dish idea. Crosser stumbled upon his pomegranate salmon egg taco dish when he was away from work.

“I had a day off and had made myself sweet potato and red lentil soup with some fresh flat bread. While scooping the soup up and noticing the red and orange colors sitting in the bread, it looked gorgeous and I wanted to translate that into what I do at work,” Crosser said.

“It was right as pomegranate season was kicking off and I was eating about one a day. Mexican food is my number one cuisine, I will spend hours of time on my day off exploring all of its different styles, so being in a sushi bar, a raw fish taco seemed like the perfect marriage, and that image of the soup stuck with me, red pomegranate seeds alongside bright orange salmon eggs, what we call ikura.”

Maru’s chefs toured the Bell’s Brewery facilities, and sampled many flavors in preparation for the pairing. Crosser said they worked hard to make sure the dishes and beers truly complimented each other.

“There have been several beer events I have been to where people just want to have rare beers on tap for a big wow factor without caring about the food,” Crosser said. “I am happy to say the initial beer is Bell’s Amber Ale, something you can find anywhere, but the way you have it paired with our opening bite (a special panko fried stuffed mushroom), it will take both of those simple offerings, and take them to a new level.”

The event is a five-course meal, starting with an opening bite – a Crabby Mushroom paired with Bell’s Amber Ale. The first course is a crudo of big eye tuna with fresh Japanese wasabi, paired with Larry’s Latest Flamingo Fruit Fight. The second course, a Korean-influenced roll with fried sweet potatoes is paired with Hopslam. The third course is the pomegranate and ikura taco, paired with Wild One. The fourth course features a marinated, grilled Hamachi with sushi rice, mushroom risotto paired with Bell’s newest beer, The Official. The last course is the Maru Brownie, with sweet and spicy whipped cream, paired with a dry Trumpter’s Stout.

The Maru team is looking forward to making the pairing meal a regular event for the East Lansing community. An April event is in the planning stages, and the goal is that the events will take place every two or three months.

“It is my hope that the success of this event lets it be the first of a great many,” Crosser said. “I want to support the community by giving them introductions to new kinds of ideas and philosophies about food, without the desire to strangle their wallet over it. This community is anything but stagnant, it’s vibrant and varied, and I want to show them that this is a place where creative individuals can experiment with food and service, enhance what we are without changing it.”

To reserve a spot, call Maru East Lansing (517-337-1500). Space is limited, and tickets are expected to sell out. Tickets are $45 (not including tax and gratuity), and the first course is served at 6:30 p.m.


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