Please critique My Restaurant Idea, Menu, Example Recipes

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Joined Aug 21, 2013
This is what I want to open one day. I currently work as a line cook and working on this controls my obsessiveness.

I do not want to provide details of menu items on the menu, I expect my serves to know exactly what is in each dish and provide details upon request.

Daily I will offer two specials. A seafood dish Fresh!, and a individual casserole.

Examples are Halibut topped with super lump crabmeat with a brown butter sauce. Sell the fish!

Also, a Lobster Mac and cheese casserole or a shepard's pie.

Check out the menu and a appetizer and entree recipe and let me know what you think.

Eventually I'll write a lunch menu,...
Tomato, Large4.00ea
Olive Oil, Extra Virgin6.00floz
Garlic Cloves5.00ea
Vinegar, Balsamic1.00pt
Salt, Kosher1.00T
Baguette, French1.00ea
Butter, Salted0.25C
Pecorino Cheese3.00T

Reduce balsamic vinegar to light nappe
De core and Small Dice ( ¼ in) tomatoes
Blend ½ basil with  ½ evoo and bring to boil
Chiffanade remaining basil
Roast garlic with remaining evoo and blend
Brunoise shallots
Slice baguette (1/3 in)
Melt butter
Toast baguette slices with melted butter brushed
Combine diced tomatoes, ciffanade basil, evoo with garlic and basil, brunioise shallots, and salt

Broil to hot French baguette, lay out on hot plate, top with tomato mix, glaze with lines of balsamic glaze, grate pecorino cheese: sell

Pork Chop
French Cut Pork Chop12.00ea
Apples, Gala12.00ea
Bleu Cheese Crumbles1.00pt
Blended Oil6.00floz
Salt, Kosher3.00floz
Pepper, Black1.00floz
Rice, Medium Grain4.00c
Sazon Pork2.00pk
Chicken Boullion2.00pk
Herbs de Provence2.00T
Haricot Verts3.00#
Peel, Medium Dice Apples, Saute on high heat in Melted Butter until golden brown, Take off heat and add in bleu cheese crumbles, toss and let cool.
Season pork chops with oil, s+p. Grill burn marks into both sides of pork chop, not cooking through. Let cool
Butterfly pork chops and fill with apple cheese mixture
Boil 2 parts rice to one part water, sazon, boullion, and herbs de provence for 16 min. hold for service
Blend blackberries with 2oz water, strain through chinois, add sugar, bring to a simmer, hold for service
Steam Haricot verts to al dente and let cool
Service: Put pork chop in convection oven at 385 for 15 minutes, sauté haricot verts in butter.
Plating. 4 oz ramakin of rice turned at 10 o clock, 4 oz serving of haricot verts diaganol at 2 o clock
Pork chop laid on top bone out, sauce over bottom half of pork chop.
Joined Aug 15, 2003
What is the reasoning behind not providing full details of the dish?

Menu looks fine, could be a hit depending on where you are and who you are cooking for, what your prices are, etc. 

I would leave off the balsamic glaze though, shit was over like 10+ years ago. 
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
I wouldn't be attracted in either a bar or restaurant. Too much "mix and match" within each category and too much confusion with the "fluff" words. I'm not drawn into the menu in a good way. If better focused with better descriptions, maybe. But I got stuck on the cheesesteak spring rolls and balsamic drizzle - gag. And totally distracted by the Mexico City Ceaser salad. I believe Ceaser Salad is from Tijuana. Good luck with your project!
Joined Dec 18, 2010
Oh, and it intending to be too critical, but are you sure about the 2 parts rice to 1 part water ratio for medium grain rice?
Joined Feb 8, 2009
Hey Chefslug, I'm thinking your in upper state NY, New England or over the boarder in Canada. There's nothing bad about the menu but I do see ideas of the past. I remember when everyone had Shrimp cocktail on the menu. I haven't seen Veal Marsala on the menu in years, I had it on mine in the 80's. I see you also have pirogues on the menu that would show a polish oriented area. I also see "Maple" as the name meaning that maple syrup may be big in that area. If Maple is big in that area then maybe a Maple glazed double cut pork chop or a maple glazed cedar plank salmon. Chefs have a way of wanting to always make it their own ideas of what goes on menus. We need to think we know it all and are the best judge of what our customers like. I really don't have any problem with taking any and all of someone else's ideas and methods of cooking and making it my own. Look on Yelp at Mustards cafe in Napa Valley they have a pork chop that is second to none. Free range is also another item on everyones menu. Grass fed is the old Pasture raised that lets you throw a few more bucks on the item and makes everyone feel like their saving the world. Give each item on your menu a lot of thought on how the dish, when served to the customer, will make them say "WOW"!!!!! .......Like I said there's nothing wrong with your menu, you know your area best. I commend you for putting the menu out there to poke at it. A good chef will take constructive comments so as to make their restaurant the best..........ChefBill


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Would you yourself be drawn in by this menu if you saw it on the restaurant website?

Does it reflect the style of the restaurant?  Is it a bar, fine dining, bistro?  I can't tell.

What kind of pricing are we talking about here?  Does it say cheap, medium, very expensive?  (see point above)

What is the style of the food?  Am I intrigued with the whole thing or are there just one or two things which pop out and the others just blah?
Joined Aug 21, 2013
ok balsamic glaze is off the bruschetta

no descriptions on the items was intended to create a back in forth between server and customer

cheesesteak spring rolls are a staple of upscale dining in philadelphia nj shore region

brian shaw thanks for pointing out the type it's two parts water one part rice

switching over the pecan salmon from honey coated to maple syrup coated, and maple dijon dressing

upscale casual restaurant experience focus on customers and quality medium to medium high price point

won't know til i fill out the costing sheets though.

kuan i decided to add descriptions based on views on a website, they will want to know ingredients before entering
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Joined Aug 15, 2003
Having no descriptions on the menu might lead to a lot of problems. You are depending on your guests to ask questions. It's all well and good to want to try and facilitate dialogue between servers and customers, but you are assuming that the guests will ask the appropriate questions. You'll also have allergies, "allergies," food preferences, etc to deal with. Again, all dependent upon guests asking questions. 

There are other ways to have dialogue with customers while still giving them the info they need/want to order food. 

You are taking a concept reserved for captain/backwaiter/michelin restaurant and forcing into a style of dining that doesn't need nor warrant that type of stuff. Eleven Madison Park does it because they are using exotic ingredients, and also the server explains each course as it is presented, making the need for over description null. 

I'm also presuming that you won't be using ingredients that most customers haven't heard of (I mean, if you are putting crosnes or bottarga on your philly cheesesteak egg rolls, I stand corrected). But I'm assuming that 99% of the things you are using are ubiquitous and probably standard, so again, why the secret?

There is a difference between being minimalist for artistic sake (again, like at EMP or Per Se) and being pretentious and trying to force some ideal into a format where it doesn't belong. 


Glad you are going to take the balsamic glaze off. Good decision. 

If everyone already does Philly Cheesesteak Rolls, why are you? What can you do to be different? Better?
Joined Dec 18, 2010
no descriptions on the items was intended to create a back in forth between server and customer
I know I'm not alone ... as a customer I don't want to have to ask too many questions, nor am I comfortable having to have too much discussion with the server. Too many times I feel like I'm getting a telemarketer-style sales pitch when most of the menu/price information is blabber from a server. I want to understand a menu by reading it, save a few questions about preference/allergies, and I certainly don't want a server to be intruding too much on my dining time, which is how I feel when I spend more time talking to a server trying to order than talking to my wife. I HATE trying to have a discussion about weird menu items or outrageous prices with a server being the third wheel in the conversation. Too much intrusion and too much pressure. Menus that leave too much to the imagination are at the type of restaurants that I glance a menu and move on to another place, and in one situation just apologized and left after being seated.
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Joined Aug 15, 2003
Not to mention slow service if the waiter has to spend 10 minutes at a table answering questions and describing everything while taking the order....
Joined Dec 18, 2010
... and if I can make one more comment. Please don't think of me as a jerk. But one of my dislikes of the menu is the pretention and errors. Most folks knows what a Waldorf Salad is (and it was originally from the Waldorf Hotel, not Waldorf Astoria... which didn't exist back in those days() but why "blue" instead of "blue cheese"?  Similar with Caesar Salad - technically it is originally from Tijuana but what does that matter? If I see company or places of origin, I'd rather they be related to the food product I'm about to eat, not the origin of the recipe.
Joined Apr 18, 2015
You might want to think about offering one soup always on the menu, and have the second soup be soup of the day or seasonal. It would be a way of making the menu more seasonal. People always like asparagus soup in spring, butternut squash in the fall, French onion in winter. Or you could open with the two soups you list and see which is the better seller, and replace the one that sells less well with a seasonal or soup of the day option. Personally, I was drawn to the seafood bisque as one of the menu options that most interested me. 

I like your idea of a daily seafood special and daily casserole. 

I tend to agree with the others about having more info on the menu. Also I think I'd just say "garden salad." Garden spring salad in October would seem a bit odd. 

If it's veal marsala you're intending, there's a typo (missing r). Reading "masala" I assumed it was an Indian fusion treatment which sounded interesting but puzzling with (a) veal and (b) egg noodles. 

The menu strikes me as a bit light on vegetarian options (and nothing vegan, as far as I can tell, not even the bruschetta) which may not be a problem depending on your location and intended market. You're going to need killer tomatoes for the bruschetta, otherwise they're just sad. Also, I think I'd leave off "baguette". People know what crostini are and baguette just confuses the issue. Are we in France or Italy? 

The vegetarian entree you do have is an interesting choice and much more appealing than the usual default pasta primavera! Braised red cabbage would be a good accompaniment and add color. BTW, I've usually seen it spelled pirogi, but that may just be a regional thing, although "pirogue" seems to be a kind of boat (at least according to google!) 

Best of luck with your venture! 
Joined Dec 23, 2004
Dated or not man, I like balsamic glaze on my bruschetta!/img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif
Joined Sep 9, 2012
Or instead of bruschetta do a take on it like melted cheese in crostini and top with shredded buffalo chicken or bacon, shredded lettuce and small diced tomato
Joined Feb 17, 2010
My head spins looking at these menus you are all over the place, am I at TGI McFunsters or at some time warp wannabe maybe fine dining????? I don't want to have to spend ten minutes with a server explaining the menu to me. I'm more of a visual guy, you know like with playboy, I want to see the descriptions not hear about them.

This looks like something that I had to do as a practical in school. Create a fictional restaurant along with menu and food costs. When you have a fictional restaurant, you only need fictional money and customers, there is nothing to loose. If you are serious about opening something one day you seriously need to do some homework or you will flush everything that was put into it within the first year.

It's ok to dream, Sharpen your pencil, learn what's really going on in food today, read menus, eat out, take a good hard look at what it is that you actually want, is it  pizza, hoagie place, fine dining, bar & grill, Italian?

You proposed the same question to the group a few years ago, does not look like you have progressed much since then.    I could get most of this at any corporate happy hour or chain.

Please do not copy any menus created here for professional gain without contacting posters.  I got a laugh out of this!


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Not to sound overly critical, as I see a few items on your menu that I find interesting, but for the most part, this menu reads like it came from 25-30 years ago.  If you are going to go old-school then it needs to be old school all the way or go more contemporary with just a bit of old school splash.  Right now the menu is all over the place.  As a chef I read this menu, and my immediate thought is this is the menu of a chef that has had the same menu for years and years, and now, because of dwindling clientele is trying to do some updates to the menu but is in over his head. The look of the menu itself, with its font and colors, screams out dated (read old and tired).

I do see some really good flavor combinations in the menu, but I just think that they need to be presented slightly differently to appeal to modern tastes.  Update the wording and streamline some of the items.  Take for example your Santa Fe Grilled Chicken Breast.  It sounds like something I'd find on a menu at Holiday Inn.  Update it to:

Southwestern Chicken Breast

Marinated with Three Chiles then Grilled and served with Pico de Gallo and Black Beans and Rice
Joined Aug 15, 2003
Its better than the first one you posted, and I like that you added descriptions. 

I think it is WAY to big though, especially for a 60 seater. Your kitchen won't be very big, and your cooks (what, 2? 3? Including you, or not?) will be hard pressed to keep up. I think you could easily trim it down about 40%, if not more. With a menu that big, you are gonna be buying a LOT of food. Not to mention prepping and storing it too. 

Also, be wary of saying things like "Tijuana" Caesar Salad. Does this imply that you are going to be beholden to the original Caesar, prepared tableside sans anchovies, etc? Or are you doing the ubiquitous modern version. Just something to think about, but it might be adding un-needed expectations. 

Maybe say "pastured" instead of free range on the beef. Free range sounds odd to me, not even sure why. At least in the context of beef.

It is very old school. Not anything wrong with that, per se, but you might have trouble attracting a younger clientele. Who knows.
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