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(Grub Street)   Today's elite restaurant menus are problematic: either too obtuse and non-descriptive of the food, or too stuffed with hipster foodie cliches and shout-outs to "the indigenous Mapuche people of Patagonia for making their breadbaskets"   (grubstreet.com ) divider line
    More: Obvious, Patagonia, Mapuche, Grub Street, Cheesecake Factory  
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1401 clicks; posted to Business » on 07 Oct 2013 at 3:50 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-10-07 12:47:44 PM  
A lot of them are. The hipster restaurants are serving their clientele which looks to feel good about their food choices, and smug in their presentation. There are likewise a lot of folks who are looking to be artistic for the sake of being able to defend their plate costs. Then there are places that just want to feed you, and feel good while they do, and have fun.

The choice of which places you patronize is up to you. Choose wisely.
 
2013-10-07 01:09:22 PM  
don't worry subby, the menu at TGI Fridays is still as easy to understand as ever.
 
2013-10-07 01:13:27 PM  
There's another "off-label" purpose for menus: Sometimes, for business or social reasons, you have to eat a meal with someone you don't really want to talk to very much, or vice versa. Having a long, rambling menu to browse is a socially acceptable alternative to checking your cellphone or whipping out a newspaper.
 
2013-10-07 01:50:34 PM  
One of my favorite things to do at a restaurant (especially on a first visit) is to simply state to the server, "I am not allergic to anything. Please bring me whatever you and the chef think are your best items." I have had some phenomenal meals this way.
 
2013-10-07 03:13:52 PM  
Subby's boorish manners alienated my Water Sommelier to such a degree that I barely heard the Napkin Convocator's declamation of each item's fiber country of origin and I nearly selected an amuse bouche serviette made from...I shudder to even say it aloud...*domestic* cottons.
 
2013-10-07 03:35:28 PM  
In chalk. On the wall.

If I come back in 2 weeks and it's not different I'll never come back.

Entertain me!!
 
2013-10-07 03:43:27 PM  
I asked Daniel Burns about his decision to offer a no-choice prix fixe at his restaurant Luksus in Greepoint. He was blunt: "I want you to eat what I want you to eat."

You're a farking cook, sparky. Ain't no shame in it, but try not to sniff your own farts too much, Mkay?
 
2013-10-07 03:55:13 PM  

what_now: I asked Daniel Burns about his decision to offer a no-choice prix fixe at his restaurant Luksus in Greepoint. He was blunt: "I want you to eat what I want you to eat."

You're a farking cook, sparky. Ain't no shame in it, but try not to sniff your own farts too much, Mkay?


I have no problem with this at all.

Go ahead chef - you're the expert, you give me what you think you do best.  The same theory behind ordering omakase at a sushi place.

I wouldn't go to an all-prix-fixe restaurant every day, but if you have the prix fixe, you know you're getting
a) fresh ingredients
b) a tried-and-tested recipe
c) a reprieve from making decisions
 
2013-10-07 04:05:25 PM  
if you're not ordering by number your place sucks
 
2013-10-07 04:07:35 PM  
pixel.nymag.com

Says here they got the best beef in the city. The steaks are pretty good, too.
 
2013-10-07 04:12:36 PM  
Um,

Pike, egg yolk, yarrow

I don't know if I'd necessarily eat at a restaurant that offered this unless someone was treating me, and my favorite restaurants are unpretentious that focus on the food (and if "ethnic", for lack of a better term, if a majority of the clientele is from that culture/country, bonus... triple bonus if there's a grandma involved in the cooking)...

...but it's fish, egg, and a herb.  How is that obtuse?  I actually appreciate that since they spell out exactly what's in the dish without BS flowery language.

Sucks that you don't know what yarrow is, I guess.  I spent a half hour weeding around a happily unexpected yarrow that sprung up around a chokeberry bush this Sunday.  If you're even remotely into companion planting gardening, you know it.  Along with borage, which is fantastic and stupidly easy to grow (keeps reseeding its damn self, too), and bees love it... really surprised that isn't on more menus to be honest.
 
2013-10-07 04:17:31 PM  

what_now: I asked Daniel Burns about his decision to offer a no-choice prix fixe at his restaurant Luksus in Greepoint. He was blunt: "I want you to eat what I want you to eat."

You're a farking cook, sparky. Ain't no shame in it, but try not to sniff your own farts too much, Mkay?


Look, a lot of folks calling themselves "chefs" are - as you point out - merely "cooks". Even at many fine dining establishments, there may be a very talented cook, but few proper chefs.

That said, Mr. Burns' bonafides as a chef speak for themselves. He has worked for and with some of the top chefs in the world. He has earned the right to call himself a chef. He has even earned the right to tell most folks how to eat. You don't like it? I suggest you try the place with the really good rack of lamb with roasted rosemary potatoes and haricoverts.

/Eddie Van Halen and the dude in the Tuesday night cover band at your local dive bar may both call themselves "guitar virtuosos", but only one of them actually is.
 
2013-10-07 04:17:38 PM  
WHAT A BUNCH OF ASSHOLES............................................................ $7.95, includes salad
 
2013-10-07 04:17:46 PM  
Problem No. 1: Austere menus offer too little info to be helpful. As a response to the overbloated menus of yore, and to help maintain some surprise for diners about what creations will appear in front of them, many chefs and owners have taken to simply listing a dish's main ingredients, with no explanation of how they're cooked or how they interact...
The issue here is that, instead of creating anticipation for diners, these descriptions are almost willfully obtuse: Who is Gary Carpenter, and why should we care about his pigeons? What does yarrow even taste like? Wait, no, more pressing: What is yarrow?


Surprise can also create anticipation. I think the people going to restaurants with menus like that (a) aren't asking those questions, possibly because they already know the answer; or (b) want to be surprised by what arrives, and learn the answers through experience rather than third-party description.
 
2013-10-07 04:17:54 PM  
Menus don't need to be a farking story!

Example of a good menu lising:

STEAK - (name of cut, serving size) - name seasoning, name veggies or sides (potatoes, beans, salad (ceaser or tossed, you ask the server for dressings))  Price

Spaghetti - comes with suace x, y, or z.  Meatballs $X.XX comes with fresh ground pepper and parmesan. Price

DONE

Of forgot the vegetarians...  Chopped up lettuce and assorted cut up veggies (whatever the hell the chef thinks your biatch ass wants.  Comes with mandatory side of prime rib.
 
2013-10-07 04:18:43 PM  

Gecko Gingrich: One of my favorite things to do at a restaurant (especially on a first visit) is to simply state to the server, "I am not allergic to anything. Please bring me whatever you and the chef think are your best items." I have had some phenomenal meals this way.


That's a neat idea but that can only work in independent restaurants with unique items that aren't standard American or classic diner fare.

/obvious post is obvious
 
2013-10-07 04:22:50 PM  

what_now: I asked Daniel Burns about his decision to offer a no-choice prix fixe at his restaurant Luksus in Greepoint. He was blunt: "I want you to eat what I want you to eat."

You're a farking cook, sparky. Ain't no shame in it, but try not to sniff your own farts too much, Mkay?


Yeah, what a dope. When I go to a restaurant and there's a prix fixe menu, I order it and then make substitutions for everything. And if they don't like it, then it's their fault.
 
2013-10-07 04:25:40 PM  

FarkingReading: Gecko Gingrich: One of my favorite things to do at a restaurant (especially on a first visit) is to simply state to the server, "I am not allergic to anything. Please bring me whatever you and the chef think are your best items." I have had some phenomenal meals this way.

That's a neat idea but that can only work in independent restaurants with unique items that aren't standard American or classic diner fare.

/obvious post is obvious


True, but if I don't get the impression there's a chef on hand, I just order off the menu.

Another thing I do is ask the server what they had at their last shift meal. It's better than, "What's good?" or, "What do you recommend?" as it avoids them simply picking the surf and turf (i.e. the most expensive item on the menu in an effort to pad the check) or getting into a panic that I may not like what they think is best. It's a simple, direct question that will answer the question of, "What's good?" much more effectively.
 
2013-10-07 04:25:43 PM  

FrancoFile: what_now: I asked Daniel Burns about his decision to offer a no-choice prix fixe at his restaurant Luksus in Greepoint. He was blunt: "I want you to eat what I want you to eat."

You're a farking cook, sparky. Ain't no shame in it, but try not to sniff your own farts too much, Mkay?

I have no problem with this at all.

Go ahead chef - you're the expert, you give me what you think you do best.  The same theory behind ordering omakase at a sushi place.

I wouldn't go to an all-prix-fixe restaurant every day, but if you have the prix fixe, you know you're getting
a) fresh ingredients
b) a tried-and-tested recipe
c) a reprieve from making decisions


I like eating a prix-fixe, or ordering the chef's menu.

I get to try stuff I may not otherwise have ordered, and see new and interesting, or something the chef's proud of and wants to share.

Either way, I win.
 
2013-10-07 04:31:47 PM  

Theaetetus: what_now: I asked Daniel Burns about his decision to offer a no-choice prix fixe at his restaurant Luksus in Greepoint. He was blunt: "I want you to eat what I want you to eat."

You're a farking cook, sparky. Ain't no shame in it, but try not to sniff your own farts too much, Mkay?

Yeah, what a dope. When I go to a restaurant and there's a prix fixe menu, I order it and then make substitutions for everything. And if they don't like it, then it's their fault.


I have no problem with a prix fixe menu. It's this attitude that I'm lucky to be allowed into your establishment that pisses me off.

I'm spending my money- you're providing me with service. Don't act like your doing me a favor.
 
2013-10-07 04:32:30 PM  
I've worked at all kinds of restaurants.
The one hotel I worked at had a frustrated, barely employed English studies grad writing the menus.
He needed a kick in the nads.
Even the gay staff thought he was over the top on the descriptions.

Worked at a French joint and every thing was in french. But everything was faboo. Movie stars, you know.

Worked at a busy, by the highway dusty, deli, gas station. Where we pulled in more than the french place and the hotel combined on any given day. The menu was pretty farking simple. But damn, we had a line out the door from opening to closing all dam day.

The owner I worked for that was the smartest, was the latter one.
I went through two owners on that place, to be precise.
The first one made his mint and sold it to retire.
We're still good friends, as well as the new owner.

Secret to success is :
Don't screw over employees or customers.
Pay well, and charge reasonably, and provide damned good food.
You don't need a Percy Bysshe Shelley sonnet to sell your goods.
Anyone with asuccessful food truck can tell you that.

Keep the place clean, pay well, and give a service that is faultless.
Profit.
 
2013-10-07 04:32:53 PM  
it seems like every 20 years there's a menu scandal abrew.

last time, people starting describing the food instead of giving it names (for example, coque au vin = chicken slow cooked in red wine sauce).  caused a scandal.

now, it's a mix between.

(1) lamb, greens, pickles

(and the dish ends up being braised lamb neck with smothered bok choi and covered with pickled onions, or some shiat).

Or,

(2) holly farms baby new zealand lamb neck, grass fed on the rolling rolls where they filmed lord of the rings, gently braised in red wine, with locally sourced bok choi, painstakingly cooked in its own juices in a handmade earthenware pot from mexico, and revolutionary san francisco style pickled onions, preserved in housemade red wine vinegar and hand dried spices from the central grove farmer's market.

(and the dish ends up being braised lamb neck with smothered bok choi and covered with pickled onions, or some shiat).

and the best menu would say, "braised lamb neck with smothered bok choi and pickled onions."

/ however, i don't mind when a chef has some fun and comes up with goofy shiat.  it's ok if it's fun.
 
2013-10-07 04:38:19 PM  

what_now: Theaetetus: what_now: I asked Daniel Burns about his decision to offer a no-choice prix fixe at his restaurant Luksus in Greepoint. He was blunt: "I want you to eat what I want you to eat."

You're a farking cook, sparky. Ain't no shame in it, but try not to sniff your own farts too much, Mkay?

Yeah, what a dope. When I go to a restaurant and there's a prix fixe menu, I order it and then make substitutions for everything. And if they don't like it, then it's their fault.

I have no problem with a prix fixe menu. It's this attitude that I'm lucky to be allowed into your establishment that pisses me off.


Maybe that attitude had more to do with the inane question from the reporter who seemed to criticize his business model?
That said...

I'm spending my money- you're providing me with service. Don't act like your doing me a favor.

... what justifies your attitude?
 
2013-10-07 04:38:33 PM  

Gecko Gingrich: FarkingReading: Gecko Gingrich: One of my favorite things to do at a restaurant (especially on a first visit) is to simply state to the server, "I am not allergic to anything. Please bring me whatever you and the chef think are your best items." I have had some phenomenal meals this way.

That's a neat idea but that can only work in independent restaurants with unique items that aren't standard American or classic diner fare.

/obvious post is obvious

True, but if I don't get the impression there's a chef on hand, I just order off the menu.

Another thing I do is ask the server what they had at their last shift meal. It's better than, "What's good?" or, "What do you recommend?" as it avoids them simply picking the surf and turf (i.e. the most expensive item on the menu in an effort to pad the check) or getting into a panic that I may not like what they think is best. It's a simple, direct question that will answer the question of, "What's good?" much more effectively.


there's a pretty good restaurant/bar place that offers an item on the menu: "trust me".  it's whatever he feels like making.  but, apparently, he enjoys that anyone would order blind, so he takes it pretty seriously.  sometimes you get something outstanding
 
2013-10-07 04:40:10 PM  
My main problem with menu listings like "Pike, egg yolk, yarrow":

Ok, but what the fark is it? Is it sushi? Is it a stew?  Maybe a soup in a nice dashi broth? Sandwhich? Or just smattered randomly on the plate, as is typical these days?
 
2013-10-07 04:40:58 PM  
I like the idea of informative menus but give it to me on a picture menu. That way when I'm really blasted on cocktails, I can just point at the picture of Andean women massaging fresh-picked organic heirloom potatoes on their thighs and grunt.
 
2013-10-07 04:42:40 PM  
Why call it yarrow, when you can call it "Death Flower," or "Devil's Nettle"?

Need to get started on the black metal cookbook . . . .
 
2013-10-07 04:47:19 PM  

InfrasonicTom: if you're not ordering by number your place sucks


And there better be a cube root or irrational number in there somewhere.

I kind of like the menus that basically lists the recipe for each thing. On the one hand it's awfully precious, but on the other hand it makes it much easier to reverse engineer the recipe once I go home.
 
2013-10-07 04:48:57 PM  

Mr. Richard Smoker: My main problem with menu listings like "Pike, egg yolk, yarrow":

Ok, but what the fark is it? Is it sushi? Is it a stew?  Maybe a soup in a nice dashi broth? Sandwhich? Or just smattered randomly on the plate, as is typical these days?


Any or all of those are fine with me. I like surprises. I like when a chef finds a new spin on an old dish, or a new preparation for an established ingredient. I especially like it when I assume it will come out one way and it comes out another way.

I understand that if TGIFridays or your local steakhouse started doing this people would rightfully be upset, but for an occasional culinary adventure, some level of unknown adds to the fun.
 
2013-10-07 04:54:15 PM  

pute kisses like a man: the dish ends up being braised lamb neck with smothered bok choi and covered with pickled onions,


Let me show you the deesh of my peoples.
 
2013-10-07 05:04:17 PM  
You know what I hate?

Expensive restaurants where the waiter (dressed impeccably in a suit or a waistcoat and dress trousers) rattles off the menu from memory.

JUST TELL ME WHAT THE PRICES ARE. I CAN AFFORD IT.
 
2013-10-07 05:06:39 PM  
thearmitageeffect.files.wordpress.com

Vinny Gambini: [Vinny and Lisa receive their breakfast orders, Vinny looks at his skeptically] Whats this over here?

Grits Cook:
You never heard of grits?

Vinny Gambini: Sure I've heard of grits. I just never actually *seen* a grit before.
 
2013-10-07 05:10:39 PM  
In an ideal situation, you want a menu that is current, that reflects what is available, and local. That is for the ideal situation for the chef.

The public on the other hand likes the idea of choices. And then will insist that they have a better idea, or have allergies--or tell their server that they have allergies--and will insist that the dish be changed to accommodate them. Or just will demand that they get the squid ink pasta on another dish, and then blanch at the idea that the price might change because of that change. Or could they a tiny caprese on the side instead of the salad that the dish is normally served with. Or could you do the sweet potato salad with another dish, and then mix and match things.

This drives a lot of chefs crazy. I totally understand the prix fixe drive, and at the Apollo Grill we did a price fix menu on occasion, and it was lovely to NOT have a brazillion substitutions, be able to prep for only a few dishes, and they flew out the door when we did. Whole meal, with set courses, and the simplicity for us made things easy, easily prepared, and we were able to accommodate a lot more customers, far faster, and yet, serve a ton of food. We gave a vegetarian choice, a chicken choice, and a beef choice, and that was it. We then were able to pair up the dishes in a way that we felt best showed off the dishes, and in the way that we wanted. That included being able to present the dishes in the way we intended. Entirely. It was a trust issue. Folks LIKE choices, and sometimes, that leads to a lot of mix and match that lets folks explore a bit, but often leads folks away from the traditional presentation, and muddies the dish when all the elements aren't present.

I get that some folks don't like some things. As a chef, our thought is: if you don't like tomatoes, then don't order a dish that is tomato based. You don't like peppers, then perhaps you shouldn't order the pepper steak. I get that some folks have problems with dairy, or tomatoes, or cabbage, or gluten. I get that. I don't mind working around that, but it does drive me nuts when folks decide that they'll tear apart a dish to get rid of the ONE offending ingredient, not understanding that one ingredient is often the basis of the rest of the damn dish. No, I won't make a marina, on the fly, that has no tomatoes. It CAN be done, but not in the time that folks want to get in and out. And time wise, it also is imperative to understand that the rest of the dining room is ordering as well, and just because YOU want such a thing, all the rest of the folks in the dining room are ordering as well, and every time you deviate from the menu, or want a substitution that ISN'T on the menu, that takes away from the time spent on OTHER patrons' meals as well.

There IS a difference between simply not getting croutons on your salad, and taking them from your French Onion soup. That lovely cheese draped over the soup, that's held UP above the surface of the soup by said crouton. 86 that, and you get melted cheese that then plops directly into your soup, and won't melt with that lovely color. Which means then doing the cheese separately, and even then, it will sink into your soup, and be lost. You want it without an important structural difference, then you have to accept that the dish is changed a fair amount, and then have zero room to complain that your soup looks and IS different than the rest of the folks' at your table.

Some things, not so different. A different side dish is not so difficult. But, often we pair foods together for a reason. We do so from tradition, because the flavors marry well, because the textures marry well. When you get into higher end places, with smaller menus, you are getting into territory where dishes are conceived as a package. We want to do the dish in a certain way, because we want to present the traditional choices. We have flavors that we want to bring you that will complement one another. Family style joints, they give you a choice of side dishes, give you a choice for veggies, a brazillion dressings, and they don't care about the sum total. Mashers, rice, auggies, french fries, onion rings, it doesn't matter, because they just want to shove food under your face, and you to hoover it up, and put money in their hands. Not a bad exchange. They care about getting X, Y, or Z out the door, but the sum total, less important than getting dollars from you. Never mind that the pasta choice is not traditional for the sauce. The dressing doesn't really matter, because it's going over iceberg, and to be honest, when you're doing that style of fare, the more taste to cover the bland and essentially empty salad is a blessing to you.

But you get what you pay for.

I understand the prix fixe, because as a chef, you have a vision, you want to present your best, and then someone decides, "Hey, that sounds great!" And then wants to dismantle the dish entirely. That's frustrating. Which is why I try to put menus together that have basics. Basic steak, basic chicken, basic pork, basic salad, basic pasta, try to keep it seasonal, and then save the fun stuff for the specials. You give folks choices that you don't really care if they Ru-N-Improve, because they're the basic floor models that are designed for exactly that mentality. Then you have specials that you get to show off with. Show off the local fare. Show off and play with even. You don't want dairy, there's a steak on the menu without the gorgonzola crust, so you don't have to mess around with the presentation we're trying. There's a nice grilled chicken on the menu, so you don't have to try to get the cacciatore without the peppers, because that's not going to happen. There are basic desserts on the menu you can fuxx around with all you want, but maybe let us do our thing with the specials, because they aren't done in a fashion that we can take the liquor out of them.

Menus, should give your patrons some choices, lead the picky ones down the garden path to the dishes that are easy enough to mess with. Then you have specials that are a bit more complicated, and thus substitution is more a pain in the tochis. What I hate to see, is the "Everything but the kitchen sink" sort of menus. HUGE menus, with a brazillion items, that are essentially just variations on a theme, that give the illusion of choice, but are really seven or eight ways to do a chicken breast on the grill and top with a different sauce or cheese, and the same pasta sauce over six or seven kinds of pasta, that aren't really right for that style of pasta, but whatever, it's pasta, so it's tomato sauce, right?

I prefer to see smaller menus, give yourself some things that are easy for folks to muck around with, and then focus your specials on things you want to highlight. Be that because it's a method you love, be that because its something seasonal that you want show off, or show off the farm or cheese, or just because dammit, fiddleheads are in and they'll be gone toot sweet. Give basic descriptions, and your specials, you not only give basic descriptions of to your staff, but for damn sure you train the waitstaff to understand what in the Hells they're serving, and for damn sure you give them a sample, so they know the presentation, they see it, they taste it, and they get a chance to ask questions BEFORE patrons show up. You have to train the waitstaff to KNOW what they are serving. So that they can help the customers make good choices--and not pester the kitchen with a brazillion questions in the middle of a rush, if the f*cking creme brulee has any dairy...
 
2013-10-07 05:12:12 PM  

hubiestubert: In an ideal situation, you want a menu that is current, that reflects what is available, and local. That is for the ideal situation for the chef.

The public on the other hand likes the idea of choices. And then will insist that they have a better idea, or have allergies--or tell their server that they have allergies--and will insist that the dish be changed to accommodate them. Or just will demand that they get the squid ink pasta on another dish, and then blanch at the idea that the price might change because of that change. Or could they a tiny caprese on the side instead of the salad that the dish is normally served with. Or could you do the sweet potato salad with another dish, and then mix and match things.

This drives a lot of chefs crazy. I totally understand the prix fixe drive, and at the Apollo Grill we did a price fix menu on occasion, and it was lovely to NOT have a brazillion substitutions, be able to prep for only a few dishes, and they flew out the door when we did. Whole meal, with set courses, and the simplicity for us made things easy, easily prepared, and we were able to accommodate a lot more customers, far faster, and yet, serve a ton of food. We gave a vegetarian choice, a chicken choice, and a beef choice, and that was it. We then were able to pair up the dishes in a way that we felt best showed off the dishes, and in the way that we wanted. That included being able to present the dishes in the way we intended. Entirely. It was a trust issue. Folks LIKE choices, and sometimes, that leads to a lot of mix and match that lets folks explore a bit, but often leads folks away from the traditional presentation, and muddies the dish when all the elements aren't present.

I get that some folks don't like some things. As a chef, our thought is: if you don't like tomatoes, then don't order a dish that is tomato based. You don't like peppers, then perhaps you shouldn't order the pepper steak. I get that some folks have problems with dairy, or tomatoes, ...


you sadistic bastard...
 
2013-10-07 05:12:13 PM  
I dunno, I'm kinda grumpy that what should be cheap street food is being gussied up for presentation to rich folk more than anything else.

There is an outfit in town that sells these tiny Cornish pasties for like $7 a piece, when back in the Upper Peninsula $7 could get you two pasties big enough to split in two and cover 4 lunches.

Oh, but they use organically raised beef, marinated in the finest local stout, and the flour is locally sourced (and it's amazingly inexpensive too, I buy it myself) , and the vegetables are from a local organic farm as well.

It's funny too, because I'm all about local food, but damn some of these people are charging such a massive premium for the privilege...

//The local flour mill being the exception.
 
2013-10-07 05:17:03 PM  
Wait these restaurants have printed menus?  How quaint.
 
2013-10-07 05:19:00 PM  

AliceBToklasLives: Wait these restaurants have printed menus?  How quaint.


Alright, Chef Andres.
 
2013-10-07 05:19:11 PM  

hubiestubert: No, I won't make a marina, on the fly, that has no tomatoes.


us.123rf.com What a tomato at a marina may look like.
 
2013-10-07 05:19:56 PM  

AliceBToklasLives: Wait these restaurants have printed menus?  How quaint.


Interestingly enough, while I was in China, a few of the restaurants I was at had menus on iPads (or some other tablet, I wasn't paying attention) where one can order right off of the iPad.
 
2013-10-07 05:24:51 PM  

meat0918: I dunno, I'm kinda grumpy that what should be cheap street food is being gussied up for presentation to rich folk more than anything else.

There is an outfit in town that sells these tiny Cornish pasties for like $7 a piece, when back in the Upper Peninsula $7 could get you two pasties big enough to split in two and cover 4 lunches.

Oh, but they use organically raised beef, marinated in the finest local stout, and the flour is locally sourced (and it's amazingly inexpensive too, I buy it myself) , and the vegetables are from a local organic farm as well.

It's funny too, because I'm all about local food, but damn some of these people are charging such a massive premium for the privilege...

//The local flour mill being the exception.


I am currently laughing my tochis off, because when I was at Glendale Arena, I did pasties for our action station in the Comerica Club, and got one of my favorite all time compliments from a tiny wee old woman, who was so happy to see pasties on the menu, because they reminded her mother's, and in her delightful heavy accent, "...of course, her's weren't quite so noice as yours..." and I just wanted to hug her up. I sent her home with a couple more to take home, on the house, and if they got the old Cornish woman seal of approval, I felt I did the dish well.

A LOT of haute cuisine, and just higher end cuisine really, IS essentially scaled up peasant food. Made for a clientele that doesn't recognize that most of these traditional dishes are what the poors ate, and came up with, because, hey, they were using what they had. And that is kind of fun. And yeah, if you can soak a market that is doing essentially a gastronomic tour of the world from your kitchen, you do so, because dangit, they are getting something that's done well, and I might as well make a few bucks off them.
 
2013-10-07 05:24:55 PM  

AliceBToklasLives: Wait these restaurants have printed menus?  How quaint.


I only order off of a menu when it is chiseled into exquisite marble and each letter is embossed with 24 karat gold.  I then demand that the menu tablet be smashed on the ground and mixed into a slurry before my eyes.
 
2013-10-07 05:26:54 PM  

Theaetetus: hubiestubert: No, I won't make a marina, on the fly, that has no tomatoes.

[us.123rf.com image 798x1200] What a tomato at a marina may look like.


OK, I larfed.

/Stoopid autocorrect...
 
2013-10-07 05:59:11 PM  

hubiestubert: meat0918: I dunno, I'm kinda grumpy that what should be cheap street food is being gussied up for presentation to rich folk more than anything else.

There is an outfit in town that sells these tiny Cornish pasties for like $7 a piece, when back in the Upper Peninsula $7 could get you two pasties big enough to split in two and cover 4 lunches.

Oh, but they use organically raised beef, marinated in the finest local stout, and the flour is locally sourced (and it's amazingly inexpensive too, I buy it myself) , and the vegetables are from a local organic farm as well.

It's funny too, because I'm all about local food, but damn some of these people are charging such a massive premium for the privilege...

//The local flour mill being the exception.

I am currently laughing my tochis off, because when I was at Glendale Arena, I did pasties for our action station in the Comerica Club, and got one of my favorite all time compliments from a tiny wee old woman, who was so happy to see pasties on the menu, because they reminded her mother's, and in her delightful heavy accent, "...of course, her's weren't quite so noice as yours..." and I just wanted to hug her up. I sent her home with a couple more to take home, on the house, and if they got the old Cornish woman seal of approval, I felt I did the dish well.

A LOT of haute cuisine, and just higher end cuisine really, IS essentially scaled up peasant food. Made for a clientele that doesn't recognize that most of these traditional dishes are what the poors ate, and came up with, because, hey, they were using what they had. And that is kind of fun. And yeah, if you can soak a market that is doing essentially a gastronomic tour of the world from your kitchen, you do so, because dangit, they are getting something that's done well, and I might as well make a few bucks off them.

 
I just looked them up again, they've lowered their prices and increased the size a bit since I last saw them, so maybe I'll give them a second chance. 

Unfortunately I suspect my preconceptions will negatively influence the taste test :(
 
2013-10-07 06:00:20 PM  

Gecko Gingrich: One of my favorite things to do at a restaurant (especially on a first visit) is to simply state to the server, "I am not allergic to anything. Please bring me whatever you and the chef think are your best items." I have had some phenomenal meals this way.


This is a great way to get a $600 dollar check.
 
2013-10-07 06:06:49 PM  

RexTalionis: Gecko Gingrich: One of my favorite things to do at a restaurant (especially on a first visit) is to simply state to the server, "I am not allergic to anything. Please bring me whatever you and the chef think are your best items." I have had some phenomenal meals this way.

This is a great way to get a $600 dollar check.


And?
 
2013-10-07 06:11:16 PM  
Some people settle for off-menu.  I insist on off-off-menu.  Bigfoot carpaccio, braised leprechaun haunch, seared mermaid fluke, the works.
 
2013-10-07 06:17:24 PM  
For the record, I think "Bigfoot Carpaccio" would make a great name for either a rock band or a Jersey mobster.
 
2013-10-07 06:18:41 PM  

hubiestubert: I prefer to see smaller menus, give yourself some things that are easy for folks to muck around with, and then focus your specials on things you want to highlight.


I emphatically agree with this.  I want a menu with maybe 8 items per category... and really, no more than 3 categories (and maybe some specials -- however, i prefer a place that has a changing menu, so every week/month is the special, depending upon what was fresh, in season, etc).

i feel like a menu that is much larger shows a lack of vision. it also begs the question, can a kitchen make all this stuff fresh? how can a kitchen hold that much diverse food inventory?  is it frozen/preserved/etc?  how many people are back in the kitchen, can they handle a dinner service of making this many different types of dishes?

/ finally, i'm not the chef.  i don't spend my life studying food.  i know how far my opinion will take me, it's nice to taste someone else's opinion.
 
2013-10-07 06:23:04 PM  
I let the server rattle off the speciale. I'll pay very close attention, sometimes interrupting to ask questions or have the server clarify something. I often ask the server to repeat a part of his spiel (if not the whole thing). I reflect carefully. I inquire as to which wine is best suited for which dish, and I'll ask how fresh the Chilean Sea Bass is that day. Then I order a grilled cheese sandwich. Either that, or I ask for something basic, but with a twist...peanutbutter and jellyfish sandwich, or something like that.
 
2013-10-07 06:39:58 PM  

pute kisses like a man: i feel like a menu that is much larger shows a lack of vision. it also begs the question, can a kitchen make all this stuff fresh? how can a kitchen hold that much diverse food inventory?


It really depends on the restaurant. Look at Taco Bell...They've got 3 ingredients, but 100 different dishes on the menu.
 
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