"The first thing you want is to have masculine food," says Sharkey. "Big, bold, smoky, spicy, and meaty flavors." To set that tone, he recommends starting with a choucroute garni, a hearty and heaping Alsatian dish — sausage and bacon are braised in sauerkraut and wine and served under a bed of new potatoes and mustard. "We serve it in a big pan," says Sharkey. "Any time you have a food item that you have to actively work to get, where it’s not an individual plate of something, creates a social interaction."
Another plus? This contemporary spin on meat and potatoes can sit in its juices and holds up over the course of a long evening. It also reheats really well for sandwiches the next day.