New Menu Items- Tips?

Joined May 14, 2010
So the mountain lodge I work has finally decided to update their menu from the very traditional pastas and scampis to something a little more "lodgey" if you will.  I developed a new menu, revolving around proteins and themes that correlate to the outdoors and mountains ect....

A coiuple of these proteins are somewhat unfamiliar to me....If anyone has any tips, opinions, flavor profiles, ect....please let me know.  Would love to hear someone elses experience using these proteins in a restaurant situation.  Did you par cook it before service, ect..........

Rabbit (either hindquarters or whole, not sure)

Quail- thinking about a quail with a warm pancetta arugula salad.............should I use semi boneless whole or smi boneless half?

Any tips?  Especially the rabbit.  Should I treat it like chicken or like duck?

I appreciate your time and opinions.

Thank you
Joined Apr 24, 2010
Rabbit is very good roasted. Just be cautious because it can be too greasy and too rich. So far as protein goes, I've heard it's insanely high in protein. I don't know if that's true. It tastes good to me, but I don't eat it all the time either. I've just heard it's one of those meats that you can have too much of.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Rabbit can generally be treated like chicken. It is especially good when braised, though. If your vendor can supply just the hind quarters that's a better way to go, for several reasons, not the least of which is consistent portion control.

Rabbit also makes an excellent base for a country pate. For this use a whole rabbit is better. And, whatever else you do, include some pistachios.

For the quail I'd go with the whole, semi-boneless bird. There's not much to a quail (a dressed, bone-in quail barely tips the scales at 6 ounces), and a boneless half won't cut it, IMO. If you haven't worked with quail before, just think of it as a very small game hen.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like you're going heavy with game. If so, something to consider: Most game makes heavy dishes, more suitable for winter and early spring service than summer. So be sure and maintain a light touch.
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Joined May 20, 2009
Roasted rabbit a l'Orange (love the alliteration) ...the citrus might help with the grease...maybe a bittersweet gastrique?

If Game is the game we've found seared venison to be very popular...expensive but sliced small portions suffice ...150g max
Joined May 14, 2010
Thank you all for your tips.  Ill keep in mind that rabbit can be a bit rich.  Orange zest will definitely cut through that.  Something to consider.

As far as our fare goes, our menu consists of nearly 50 percent pasta dishes.  From fettuccine to ravioli to tortelini to spaghetti ect.  We are a mountain lodge but we embrace the Italian heritage of the former owners.  But the GM and I have finally convinced the current owners to overhaul their menu.  So the dishes I proposed to them were to be an addition to some beloved favcrites we will keep on the menu.  An old veal scallopine recipe, spaghetti with bolognese, stuffed chicken roulade, ect. 

So these proteins are heavy but are balanced out by the remaining menu items. 

Thanks all....

I would love to hear any more suggestions. 
Joined Feb 1, 2007
No reason not to use the new proteins in ways that give a nod to the restaurant's traditions.

F'rinstance, you can make a rabbit ragout, then use it as a ravioli filling, perhaps served with a morels sauce.
Joined Apr 5, 2007
Hello Folks,

I am a little confounded buy some of the comments here.  I've cooked a lot of rabbit in my time and "rich and fatty" are probably the last terms I would use to describe this meat.  Actual wild rabbit, even more than its farmed  version.  Wild rabbit can indeed be intense in flavour  (more-so for hare)  but it is always lean.  That is the biggest challenge with the animal, to keep it moist without obscuring its flavour with too much bacon, duck fat, and the like.  Hence the braising and terrine making.  

The only only serious fat you are going to find on a rabbit surrounds its kidneys.  Both of which are divine.  Rabbit kidney and liver are the Platonic form of the form of these organs and their fat is beautiful for all farces and terrines.

If you are buying whole rabbit in any quantity I would immediately think of three menu items:

Braise of the legs

Involtenni of the saddle 

farci or crostinni of the liver on toasts with some sort of chutney.

As for quail, your first thoughts are really similar to an app. we used to offer.  It was awesome but never sold.  I personally feel the best use of quail it to bone the whole bird out, wrap it around a quarter fig (thinking of your Italian backbone) grilling it and serving with an arugalla salad.

Joined Apr 17, 2006
Don't know what you have for fish on your menu or what equipment you have, but I have been having great success with cedar planked salmon. We soak the planks and I put an 8 oz. piece on the plank skin side up and in the salamander on the lowest level. After the skin starts to crisp, I flip it over, brush with butter and put on the second to top level so the plank starts to smoke. You could brush it with a sauce instead of the butter if you want. I've sold tons of it and people love it. It would also fit in with your lodge theme. Not to mention no fuss and easy.
Joined Oct 28, 2008
Seeing as how summer is coming up perhaps you could try doing some BBQ quail dish? We did that at a place I worked at last summer and it was flying out of the kitchen. House made BBQ sauce, a little dance across the grill with the quail, into the oven or salamander to finish and crisp it up. Jesus I'm drooling just thinking about it.
Joined Dec 4, 2009
I like rabbit and as someone else said, I don't think it's overly fatty nor overly protein-y.  Rich tasting, yes.

Also, I think mountain lodge and Italian make a LOT of sense.  Picture the Swiss-Italian Alps.

I see polenta and risotto.  Gnocchi with duck breast and walnut sauce.  Raclette with potatoes and fennel.  Wild mushroom anything (venison?).  Goat cheeses.  Lamb.  Fonduta/fondue.  Fennel and apple streudel.  Trout.  And pizza!

Joined May 14, 2010
Interesting you bring up the cedar plank salmon.  That is an exact item from our current menu and one of very few items that are not on the chopping block.  We served it with a rosemary buerre blanc. 

The rabbit ragout sounds perfect for our menu.  We could still keep the Italian/ Tuscan sort of feel but still introduce some new proteins.  Thank you for the advice. 

I like the gnocci idea as well.  Is that something you par cook and fire in the pasta boiler to order?  Only worked with gnocchi for banquets and such, so never had to hold it for service. 

Joined May 21, 2010
The only way to keep the gnocchi from feeling like 20 pounds in the pit of your stomach is to make it fresh, freeze it then cook it directly from frozen.  End result nice fresh light gnocchi(that you don't have to make every/every other day).  

I have also used the decco one pound frozen blocks.  I have to say it is not that bad. If that is a route you choose you will have to play with it see what works best for your kitchen/ setup

Hope it helps
Joined Jun 2, 2010
From personal experience, I would make the gnocchi fresh. It's pretty easy to make in large batches and if you have a good recipe, it's pretty easy to control the end result.

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