Easy menu items.

Joined Aug 6, 2010
I just got brought on as an AKM in a pub kitchen and the chef I work for is looking for menu ideas. He runs the fine dining room attached to the pub, and I'll be running the pub kitchen. So here's the dilemma.... I have one experienced cook who works the shifts I don't, and two dishwashers that we are training to work the line. I need some ideas for easy  tasty dinners. Any help is always appreciated. I have a few ideas, but we are looking at putting on 8 specials, and changing them weekly... Thanks Chef's. You guys and gals always seem to pull it through for each other, and I'm glad I found a professional forum that is more help than insult. Great group!
Joined Aug 6, 2010
Right, duh. We are trying to get into seafood. Our menu is currently pretty scattered, but I did some research and there is a bistro, burger place, and pizza near us so we are going to focus on seafood. The kitchen is smallllllll. Two fryers, four top stove, small grill, and a griddle taking up the other four top stove. I am looking at some easy saute's and a few baked items to train the kids with? Stuffed shrimp, shrimp scampi.....
Joined May 20, 2009

8 spcls changing weekly is a big ask on imagination, inexperienced staff, stock management & wastage...think that one through!

Imho, your better off with 4-6 stand-alone or with vege and chips & salads set options (easy, good GP) and 2-4 spcls you change up according to demand....flexibility is key to your prep and stock management.

Seafood is a good choice for fast and easy training, prep friendly and doesn't need a lot of help. Get a vac-packer to handle 'fresh' fish...trust me or rather Ed...its the way to go.

Definitely do deep-flashed calamari (despite the starving whales)...fast, easy and great GP & popular barfood...we actually started upselling so many mains we had to make them available on the menu.

Anyway, just trying to get the ball rolling....

Joined Aug 4, 2010
Jacket potatoes, they are quick, easy, and versatile.  Bake them before hand and hold, give them a quick nuke, and fill them with anything hot or cold.  Like tuna cucumber, prawn maryrose, broccoli mornay...  The fillings are made beforehand so they potatoes can be out in 3 min. - a plus if you got a lunch crowd. The leftover potatoes can be used the next day for potato wedges, the fillings can also go on samiches or open faced samies smothered in a bechemele derivative and glazed.  Another advantage is that most of the items are more or less shelf stable. 

Shepard's pie made with champ.  the same menu item gives you a stew, mash for bangers and mash, or salmon and mash.  the stew base could be held in a BM and any modifications could be made to it as it is being reheated.

Just having a bechemele and a velute on the line along with the saute pans gives a lot of quick and easy options.
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Why not Pub food?   Fish and chips, Bangers and mashed, Shephards pie, Grilled Flatiron Steak topped with Onions and Shrooms

Wings in choice of 4 flavors, Spinach /artichoke dip  things of this nature that are easy to prep and serve and are hi mark up.
Joined Aug 6, 2010
thanks guys, some great ideas. The menu we have now has pretty much everything you said Ed. We have about 15 appetizers and a few fried seafood dinners. The problem we're having is looking forward to the winter.... The tourist crowd goes and so does the drinking crowd so we;re trying to get some decent dinners to keep the local populace. 

Titomike... I completely agree. I will also be cooking and for the time being I have a bull that can bang out some pretty amazing dishes, but he wont be here for the winter, so I'm trying to train the other kids. Food cost isn't a huge concern if we retool the ingredients to something different as Coup-def-fue suggested... BTW, i like those ideas. Def. going to consider. Again, I thank you all for being so helpful!
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Here are a few fish ideas:
  • A couple of freshly grilled (use a grill pan), a couple of fish cooked "sauteed" in butter to crisp the skin.  Salmon and halibut are reliable sellers.
  • Brochettes of shrimp, halibut, salmon or "catch of the day" when appropriate.  Serve with fries or pilaf.
  • An easy classic like sole meuniere with lemon and capers.  Meuniere is basically "pan fried" and served in butter sauce.  We can get into it if you're actually interested.
  • Calamari steak the same way.  You purchase calamari steaks frozen, and otherwise ready to go, btw
  • Deep fried calamari steak.
  • Pan fried basa (aka Asian catfish) or American catfish.
  • Pan fried trout. 
  • Fried fish po'boys: catfish, oyster, or shrimp 
  • Blackened catfish, and blackened other fish. 
  • Any of the fried fish with "chips," offering some choice beyond whatever you're using for fish and chips now. 
  • Crabcakes.
  • Perhaps a cioppino or some other mixed seafood soup -- in addition to the clam chowder you presumably already do.
  • Cold shellfish cocktails,
  • Mixed shellfish salad
  • Shellfish salad sandwiches.  If your demographic will support it, lobster roll is a winner -- especially in your location. 
  • Similarly, if your demographic will support it, go crab over Krab and make a big deal out of it.  Otherwise, the artificial product is actually pretty good (as long as you don't try to cook it). 
  • Smoked fish sandwiches -- they don't have to be on bagels with cream cheesee, but wotthehell -- and platters.   
I've tried to stick with things that not only aren't that difficult to cook but won't make shopping too much of a problem either.  Also tried to keep it down to dishes which don't scream "specialty fish place."  You want to expand your menu not lose your identity. 

Fish is not forgiving.  There are an awful lot of ways to mess it up -- overcooking it, not drying the skin, not preppring the pan or the grill so it sticks, using non-stick cookware so it never crisps right, etc., etc., etc.  You will need someone who can actually cook on each shift.  You may need to do some training, and while you're at it, include the owner in case of emergencies.  Stuff happens.

Something else to think of is whether there's anyone in your kitchen who can fabricate whole fish without taking forever, or whether you want to buy stuff pre filleted. 

If you have someone who can actually deal with fish, and you've got a good supplier, "catch of the day" can be a very good thing.  As close to the coast as you are, supply should not be a problem. You'll have to suit the cooking methods to the fish. 

Another thought:  If your pub can support it, buy a smoker which can be kept outside or at another location, or get someone to do smoked meats and fish for you. 

You owe me lunch at least,

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Joined Aug 6, 2010
for sure my friend. let me know when your coming to the east coast. will pm for some more info on the sole. much appreciated
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