My taste buds were going crazy with the flavors of berries, Oreo cookies and heaps and heaps of maple syrup.
Oh, did I tell you I was drinking a flight of beer at the time?
Erik Martin, owner and namesake of Marto Brewing Co., was letting me sample some of the newest creations at his recently-opened 930 Fourth St. brewery, taproom and restaurant.
Among the delicious beers I tried were the Marto Member Berries (a kettle sour brewed with raspberries, blackberries and cherries); the Marto Plush (a malty, robust porter that tastes like rich European chocolate but smells like Oreos) as well as the Marto Pour Knights of Windsor (cinnamon and maple syrup, don’t knock ‘til you try it!)
Perhaps Martin’s most appropriately-named beer was one that he described as a pastry stout made with Madagascar vanilla beans.
“We call it the Marto ‘Bout Time,’” he explained with a laugh. “It is dedicated to everyone who bugged with the question, ‘Isn’t it ‘bout time you were gonna open your doors for business?’”
Can’t blame Martin’s fans. They’ve been drinking the award-winning Marto Beers for nearly five years.
You also can’t blame veteran chef Nick Goodwin, who left his position as Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s chef de cuisine for the chance to create an entirely new menu from scratch for Marto.
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“I call it comfort food with a kick,” Goodwin said.
Since opening in mid-June, Goodwin said the most popular food items are such Neapolitan pizzas as the Marto Meats (capicola, soppresseta and house-made sausage) and the Fungus Pie (a fresh blend of mushroom, arugula and mozzarella).
“A Neapolitan is a specific pizza, which has a thin crust and is baked quickly in an oven with high heat and prepared with simple ingredients,” he said. “That means we’ll get your pizza to you very quickly.”
In fact, most of Marto’s food comes piping hot from a large, specialized oven located towards the front of the eatery.
That includes the Sausage Rigatoni Wood-Fired Pasta, which contains fresh mozzarella, red sauce, Andouille sausage, Calabrese peppers and Pecorino Romano, as well as the incredibly tender Bone-In Short Rib, which is braised in an Asian Sesame sauce and is served with fresh greens.
And don’t forget Marto’s oversize Bavarian Pretzel also comes directly from the restaurant’s oven.
The pretzels are huge and come with a Pilsner cheese sauce, a spicy IPA mustard and house-made bacon jam to up the yum factor.
Equally as yummy are beers like Marto Right as Rain (a farmhouse ale withe notes of pepper, clove and citrus); the Marto Chanter (a Scottish ale brewed with European malts); and a very hoppy Marto Smell of Money.
“What will bring (customers) back is the quality of (our) beer and the quality of our food,” Goodwin said.