Tuesday, December 30, 2008

NYE 2008

First Course
Wild Mushrooms ala Crème
Shitake, Portabella and Oyster mushrooms, garnished with Amontillado cream.

Prime Beef Brochette
Skewered prime tenderloin tips served over caramelized onions
with bourbon–Dijon sauce.

Crab Cake
Asian slaw, apricot and mustard sauces.

Sautéed U-10 “dry” day boat scallop served with
smoked tomato beurre blanc

Tuna and Micro Greens
Slices of rare tuna with micro greens, wakami salad and ginger dressing.

Boston Wedge
Bleu cheese dressing, smoked bacon, vine ripened and hard boiled eggs.

Spinach and Prosciutto
Fresh baby spinach served wit a warm prosciutto dressing with
toasted pine nuts and Parmesan crisp.

Filet of Beef
Béarnaise, demi-glace and Wisconsin cheddar mashed potatoes with chives.

Chicken Ballantine
Boneless chicken stuffed with roasted vegetables, goat cheese and cornbread. Served with chicken demi-glace and French green beans.

Cedar Roasted Grouper
Roasted on a sheet of cedar and topped with Burgundy truffle butter. Served with potato croquettes and French green beans.

Lobster Dumplings
Shitake-mirin sauce with sautéed spinach.

Roast Vegetable and Polenta Lasagna
Natural Ricotta and goat cheese.

Chocolate Decadence
Flourless chocolate cake with crème Anglaise and raspberry sauce.

Pumpkin Maple Flan
“Upside down” crème brulee, morello cherry sauce and caramel.

Berries and Sabayon
Fresh berries in a chilled light custard.

Sorbet and Pastry
Green apple, mango and raspberry

For the comfort of all our guests seating are limited to two hours.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Samurai Salad Man Send Off

It's customary in some restaurants to give a departing kitchen member a proper send-off. It's pretty rare someone quits and gives a proper notice so it's a rare treat when you can give a "brigade" brother a fine farewell.

The plan was to wait until the end of the night and send Samurai Man down to the walk-in cooler where upon leaving the cooler we'd all be waiting with ketchup, flour, eggs, etc.

As it turned out Samurai Man wasn't feeling too well but was good enough to come in on a busy night. So we decided to go easy on him and chase him out the back door with arms full of eggs and flour as he was leaving for the last time.

I did manage to land an extra large grade A to the back of Samurai's head. A nice shot from 25 yards if I may say. I was able to get close enough after Samurai took a little tumble in the slippery, wet and icy driveway. Ole Victor must have chased him for a hundred yards to get that scoop of flour onto his head. Everyone else was too far behind to get a shot in, they decided to finish the six top before giving chase.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saw this blog on OnMilwaukee.com

"The one the great things about this great city is the great places we can eat. No matter what day it is, or what time, it is possible to enjoy a great meal and a great glass of wine. In a city that has more than 1,500 restaurants, there is something for everyone, even those with the most particular tastes

Not only do I love dinning in Milwaukee, but I love serving in Milwaukee, well most of the time. I have been working in and loving the service industry for many years now and have earned my current serving position by years of hard-work, but as I have adjusted to the fine-dinning, high volume restaurant life, I have come across many things that a restaurant of this magnitude can do that others can not, and most obviously is special requests.

When looking over a menu, I always see dishes that I know I would love if there was a small change, for example substitute balsamic vinaigrette for ginger sesame dressing, or substitute vegetable for a starch, and I am not afraid to ask- after all I am their guest and the restaurant wants to make me happy. At the same time, when one of my guests would like Bearnaise sauce with their steak instead of poivre, no problem, absolutely. When a guest would like no artichokes with one of their fish dishes, also not a problem I would be happy to.

The question I am then posing is: When does it become too much? If I am at brunch and would like fried eggs instead of poached eggs, am I going to be upsetting a server, or even worse a chef? At my current restaurant we can do, and will do almost anything for a guest if he/she asks, but is this really necessary? At 700 on a Friday night, when a guest asks for a steak without a marinade, with a different steaks preparation and his dinning partner wants a special salad that we used to have on the lunch menu as their entree, do we always have to comply? Trying to organize with the chefs and the cooks and the customer to create their essentially personalized menu, is no problem, I'm happy to do it- unless it takes all of my attention away from my other guests. Would it be unreasonable to suggest to the guest more feasible alterations? How would I feel if a server suggested that to me? Granted, I know well enough to be reasonable with my requests, but as a very dedicated server I don't want to upset anybody, but I also need to think about service.

Also, if a table has a special request, or many special requests to their dishes I don't think it's unreasonable to understand that it may take longer to come out of the kitchen. When the cook on grill has to spend extra time and attention to create this made-up steak dish, it may take an extra couple minutes, is that also unreasonable?

Just a couple thoughts on the issue, I find it becoming more and more prevalent not only with my customers, but myself as a customer as well.

From a Chef's standpoint "sauce on side" or no pepper etc is not big deal but I draw the line at requests that are so distracting that they interrupt the rhythm of the line. If I have a spare body or if things are going very well we'll be more than happy to do an oddball request but if I have to pull a guy "out of the zone" to make it happen and I NEED him in that zone I'll say no. Any one who has worked the line knows what I'm talking about. That special place cooks go in their head when they are busy as hell and cranking it out.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

That Time of Year

As usual with this time of year things get a little busy with home and work, so the posts may be fewer and farther between.

Just keep one thing in mind.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Slicer Study (For You Knife Nuts Out There)

I've been running tuna carpaccio lately so I decided to do a little comparison of knives, blades and blade types when it came to slicing raw tuna. For carpaccio I'm looking for large thin slices about an 1/8 inch so I cut from a whole loin. The idea is to cut "sheets" of tuna. You can see in the title picture how they're used.

I sharpened each knife just prior to the test.

Watanabe 270 Damascus Sujihiki
The blade has a satin finish so it tends to be a bit "sticky". This is also a case where size does matter. I ran out of knife. If this was a 330 it would have done the job nicely. Light comfortable knife to use. Not one of my favorites.

Nenohi Highest Kasumi 270 Kiritsuke
Again I could have used a little more blade, length that is, the wider the blade the more the protein sticks to it and this blade is WIDE. Although it performs wonderfully on smaller "loins".

Mizuno Tanrenjo 390 Special Blue DX Honyaki Yanagi
No shortage of blade here. Length or width. It cuts smoothly and thinly but gets a little grabby and some tuna separates with the back stroke. Other wise it cuts like butter.

Masamoto 360 White steel Hon Kasumi Yanagi
I say it over and over, "my Masamoto kicks ass". It's my favorite slicer. It gets sharp as hell and as you can see here it doesn't grab the protein. It performed the best over all in this test.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"86" Samurai Salad Man

Our Samurai salad man (aka Blake) has informed us he will be moving on to bigger and better things. He has done the right thing and given proper notice. I thank him for that because I have a sneaky feeling that he will be back.

He's been itching to get behind the line and I think his new position will offer him that. I caution him though, because someone gives you an opportunity it doesn't mean you're ready. It could do more harm than good. Never the less, I fault no one for stepping out and giving it a shot.

Good luck Blake.

In other staffing news:

Justin continues to improve and prove himself valuable. He has been splitting duties between cold kitchen and the line and is doing a great job.

Cacho (my Sous Chef)is still a rock and continues to be the glue that binds this kitchen.

Victor is a serious saute man. That little dude rocks.

Miquel is a happy dishwasher, salad man and 2nd saute. A happy crew is a fast crew.

Lo Lo is doing a great job holding down the fort busting suds.

Jeff, though part time is doing a nice job on saute or in the middle.

Good ole Juan still contributes on the weekend as the "old timer" on salads and desserts.