If you ever wanted to eat like a Founding Father, the monthlong run of Hamilton opening Tuesday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts has some fun takes on the show and our nation’s food history.
Ed Steinhoff, executive chef for the last two years at Maestro’s at the Straz Center, wanted to pay tribute to the blockbuster show that is so popular, the center’s Broadway series subscriptions sold out for the first time in the hall’s history.
The menu at Maestro’s Restaurant will include a “Chicken Alexander” stuffed with Boursin cheese with a chestnut risotto on the side. And the “Salmon of Tonight” is a sly take on the fourth song from Act 1 when patriots sing, “Raise a glass to freedom. They’ll tell the story of tonight.”
If you do want to raise a glass, consider the Hamil-tini that Steinhoff said was still a work in progress Monday. It will have a chocolate base, modeled after the chocolate drinks of the Colonial era that mixed cocoa with brandy or wine.
In doing research, Steinhoff realized using the Colonialists as a guide was a challenge.
“They didn’t do a lot of fun stuff with food,” Steinhoff said. “There’s a lot of chestnuts and cheeses and chicken and protein, but not a lot of vegetables in their diet back then.”
The young, scrappy and hungry ones might dig into the ribeye steak, called the “Aaron Burr, Sir.” Steinhoff was inspired by Burr, the nation’s third vice president with a big ego who killed Hamilton in a duel.
“I wanted to get something that was big, had a big presentation, and kind of rustic,” Steinhoff said. The obvious wine pairing is — wait for it — a Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon.
There’s wordplay in “Duel vs. Dual,” a sweet and savory stew of lamb and sweet potatoes. A fish dish will have a Caribbean flair, bowing to Hamilton’s birthplace in the West Indies. And Steinhoff was thinking of the Boston Tea Party when he came up with a pork tenderloin marinated in raspberry sweet tea.
Pastry chef James Paultre composed some Colonial treats, from a gingerbread cake and individual apple pies to a Joe Frogger cookie, a 200-year-old recipe similar to a present-day snickerdoodle
And the SteamHeat coffee shop will not throw away its shot, Steinhoff said. There will be a special Hamilton-Burr macchiato with two shots of espresso and a dollop of foam.
Considering the lack of vegetables on most Revolutionary war menus, the title of the sixth song, Farmer Refuted, gave Steinhoff an easy pick for his vegan offering, a portobello mushroom with three-bean medley.
“Sometimes the restaurant gods shine down on me,” Steinhoff said.
If you go
Maestro’s has three levels at the Straz Center.
• Maestro’s On The River on the Riverwalk has a light menu of salads, sandwiches and burgers from $8 to $15.
• Maestro’s Café in the lobby of Carol Morsani Hall will also have some of the Hamilton-themed dishes found in Maestro’s Restaurant, plus a Hamilton Halibut. The cafe buffet is $34.50 per person ($12.95 children 12 and younger); or a soup, salad and dessert bar for $18.95 ($10.95 children).
• Maestro’s Restaurant, located over the Jaeb Theater, features tableside service with a prix fixe dinner of $46.50 per person or a soup, salad and dessert for $26.95.
Make a reservation at (813) 229-7827. See a menu at strazcenter.org.
How to get last minute tickets
Lin Manuel-Miranda’s groundbreaking hip-hop Broadway musical is at the Straz Center through March 10. You still have a chance to snag $10 tickets in the show’s nightly lottery. There are 40 tickets put aside for each performance, and you can win the chance to buy up to two for $10 each. The lottery, open 48 hours before each performance, is at hamiltonmusical.com/lottery or via the official Hamilton app. That means you don’t have to show up in person at the Straz Center like past ticket lotteries. The lottery closes at 9 a.m. the day before each show. And fans willing to pay more should keep checking strazcenter.org for late-release seats that may become available on short notice for $86-$489.