Beer Battered Asparagus at Hearsay Gastro Lounge

In a weak attempt to construct a nutritionally balanced meal at Hearsay Gastro Lounge, I ordered the St. Arnold Beer Battered Asparagus ($6) as a vegetable to round out my protein (brisket sandwich) and carbohydrates (macaroni and cheese). What can I say? I'm a health nut.

I think asparagus is pretty darn great. I think it's even better when doused in an alcohol-laced batter and deep-fried. For that reason, I had great expectations for the fried coating, which I was happy to find was thick and crispy, with just a hint of grease. I didn't have the same high hopes for the asparagus. Like many vegetables, asparagus is easy to overcook and especially tends to shrivel in the fryer. But lo and behold, it was strong but supple in texture and had maintained its distinct flavor even in the face of the heavy batter.

The fried asparagus was terrific in its own right, but a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and an occasional dip in the pepper mayonnaise provided pleasant salt and spice.

At Hearsay an appetizer portion of battered asparagus contains approximately seven stems, which amounts to a little under a dollar per piece: not a horrible deal for a dish that includes beer, satisfies a craving for fried food, and provides more than 60 percent of your recommended daily allowance of folic acid.

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Joanna O'Leary