Menu Question

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Joined Jul 28, 2001
A question for hot food chef's in upscale restaurants.
I just returned from vacationing in Florida. While there I tried my best to seek out some fine dining and was very sucessful. I had some of the best seafood I've ever had and prepared exquisitly.
Some of the themes were Asian, pared with the Hawaiian fishes.
The local fish paired with more traditional themes.
My question: Do chefs put as much thought and time into the vegies and starch as the meat,fish or poultry? Although excited, sometimes overwhelmed by the ordered item I found that the sides were at best an afterthought. Things like steamed bokchoysp?, simple stickey rice w/black sesame pattie, etc.
Here in Texas, believe it or not we expect our sides to be as memorible as anything else. My favorite place is a chop house known for it's meat, but my favorite is their stuffed baby vegies and a whipped potato parfait.
I had everything from seafood,exotic meats,poultry, and I really can't remember anyt of the sides. Just wondering.
1 more ?. Anyone ever heard of Roy Yamagouchi( I know I bnutchered the name, but his places are called Roy's?
pan
 
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
thanks Kimmie,
had no idea there was a Roys right here within a couple of miles.
Had a pretty good meal at his restaurant in Orlando. He seems popular, guess I don't get out enough.
pan
 
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I worked in various places with differing philosophys on side dishes. One place I worked everything was a production- from every veggie individually peeled or tourned or whatever. The starches were complimentary to the entree, like corn and black bean cakes with the seared smoked elk medallion, but the biggest complaint was "too much going on on the plate". Other places the entrees were the main focus and the sides were there to provide cheap plate coverage. Another place the sides and starches were integrated quite well into the main plate- like a potato crusted fish with carved veggies and a light sauce looked striking and the veggies and starches complimented the center of the plate without overwhelming it. I still tend towards that. I worked at a steakhouse where the side were bacon-fried potatoes (REALLY bad for you, but man were they good...), beans and garlic bread, all you can stand, but that is also different. Somewhere between there is where I reside. But the main thing to remember is that the thought process doesn't have to stop at the center of the plate. And if it looks like they threw it on at the last second-they probably did.
America- proud inventor of the spiced apple ring in a can......
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
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Joined Jun 11, 2001
I worked in the heart of the Midwest at an Inn one time. It had a very nice looking dining room with silver and china service. One day, I saw Pork Chops and apple rings listed as the entree for a banquet, so I figured, oh well, just core and slice some apples right? Heh... was I WRONG!

Here you REALLY have to give thought to your garnishes!

Kuan
 
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Joined Oct 28, 1999
I agree with the posts, thus far. There needs to be at least some attention paid to the garnish. Ultimately, the foucs needs to be on the entire meal. To clarify, a dining experience is not merely the filet or fish or pasta on the center of the plate. It is the host/ess, greeting you at the door, the waiter/ess knowledgable service, the quality of the beverages, etc. All that said, it is a crime to not share some of that attention with the 'co-stars' of the meal. The salad, soup, appetizer, intermezzo, remove & dessert all garner a level of creative and functional responsibility. Why would the items that share the plate with the main course not be treated in the same manner? Slapping a starch and veg on a plate just for merely satisfying the requirement would give me reason to pause; do they care? Is there too much time 'dressing' up the plate to not allow adequate time to properly prepare the accompaniaments? After all, that is their role, correct? To accompany... to compliment, to highlight, to add a layer of flavor & interest.
 
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Jim,
I think you make a lot of sence. That's the reason I asked the question. My experiences were all really great. But it just appeared that when it came to the entree,94% of the attention went to the main item. Maybe this was just a coinsidence. The places I went seemed to have this common denominator. Getting past a little sticker shock, I can't remember even wanting to taste the sides. Ya know when you drop 40-70. for an entree and you push the sides away you kind of feel that the fish was not worth the price, but if the sides were in fact interesting you would not consider the monies your spending. I'm not even talking nouvelle, even a classical starch or vege would have done it for me. Maybe I'm to criticle because I'm in the industry. I love seafood and enjoy to dine on fish that was swimming in the morning in another part of the world. The industry has done a pretty good job to ensure that good products are available to the public.
Best part of my trip was fishing. I had been in communication with the captain before hand and he was pretty excited when I pulled soy, wasabi, pickled ginger from the cooler. We caught our limit of King Mackeral and I made sure I had a nice 40 lber covered in ice since the catch. He and I enjoyed a handsome portion which he served with almost a surgical type attitude.
course my wife and son had no part of that and walked to the marina for lunch.
 
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Joined Oct 24, 2002
Panini - Your question about sides is a good one,I am a Chef in Jacksonville FL. and I try to very my sides every time and pay attention to quality. After reading your post I will look at my sides even harder.
I ate at roys in California on my vacation, alsome food very impresive and I got a chance to tour his kitchen WOW what a set up. I have a copy of the menu specials, if your intrested I will fax you a copy. Thanks for your Ideas :cool:
 
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