Dining where I work tonight

To some people it may seem strange to want to have dinner where you work, as if you didn’t already spend enough time there.  But to me it’s an important thing to do. 

See, I never would have eaten at the last restaurant I worked and even talked my wife out of bringing her parents there to eat.  The reasons were varied, but it told me alot about where I worked and why I needed to change jobs.

But where I work now is a far different story.  When friends and family come to visit I want them to come and eat where I work, because the food is really good and is a good value as well. 

Some of the dishes I want to try tonight come off my station, because I’ve never had the whole dish and I want to taste how the whole dish works when put together, even though I’ve tasted time and again each individual component.  Two such dishes are the duck crepes and the sweetbread dish.  I never get tired of making either, especially the sweetbread dish, which gets served with a puff pastry bouche, sauteed mushrooms, pearl onions and asparagus and is sauced with a sherry veal jus.  It’s fucking delicious and it’s hard for me to understand why we don’t sell more of this dish, other than people are grossed out by it (but that’s another post).  The crepes are two crepes filled with duck confit and butternut squash, sauced with pistachio cream sauce (the only cream sauce we use) and topped with black currant compote.

The only slight bummer in all of this is that Erin’s pregnancy diet excludes some pretty tasty things, like bleu/raw/soft cheeses, charcuterie items as well as a few others, which just proves to me why I’m happy to be a man.  I’m happy not to have to modify my diet and am not so sure I could ever really exclude certain things, though I guess if I had to I could.

When I told my chef that we were coming to eat he was happy to hear it, as he should be.  Based on my own experience I would be wary of any employee who didn’t want to eat where they work.  Being on the other side of the pass and eating as customers do can give the cook a better understanding of what we do and maybe how to improve our performance.

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In different and mildly entertaining news, Greg Cox, the restaurant critic for Raleigh’s News & Observer, released his list of Top 25 restaurants for the past year and my old restaurant makes its first appearance ever, calling into massive question the legitamacy of such lists.  Excluding all the other problems this restaurant may have, how does a restaurant still serving a summer menu in January make anyone’s top anything list (unless it’s top places not to eat for lack of seasonability). 

I just went to their website and here’s just one menu item:

Summer Risotto
A smooth and creamy risotto of asparagus and lemon. A perfect summery scent. 12.95

If the last time time he ate there was June then that’s fine, but he should have done some research before publishing such a list.  I wonder if Greg Cox is aware that they lost their chef in June and the menu hasn’t changed since, because there is no chef?  Which would necessitate another review in my humble opinion.

At any rate, this just further proves to me that critics know fuck-all and merely push whatever agenda they have on a relatively unassuming public, or maybe a public that wants/needs to be told what to think/do.

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3 thoughts on “Dining where I work tonight

  1. Have fun tonight, and you might want to know that in France and other European countries, there are no limitations on what pregnant women can eat when it comes to cheese, etc.

    I also love the sweetbreads, but I think the puff pastry is unnecessary and actually detracts from the dish.

    Regarding the top 25 list, it’s possible that Greg was basing his ranking on a meal from some time ago. When he visits a restaurant at least 3 times before reviewing it, AND he does about one review a week, there’s only so much time available for him to hit every one of his top 25 restaurants each year. That may be one reason why the restaurants should be ranked by a pool of writers, not just one. Tough issue, that’s for sure.

  2. Yes, but the puff pastry makes the sweetbread dish look so much cooler. I forgot to mention that there’s a parsnip puree on top of the puff pastry (and underneath it to hold it down).

    As for the top 25 list I argue that they’re worthless, unless done in an entirely static world. With things constantly changing at restaurants (from staff to product to owners’ whims), any look back is merely that, a look back, not a valid way of assessing a restaurant’s current qualities. It’s easier to come up with a top 25 song list for the year, because once recorded a song is theoretically set in stone (though even that boils down to individual taste).

  3. What a lazy management crew to not bother updating their menu, I guess they’ve been so busy what with the economy trainwrecked they haven’t had time. Worse for me is restaurants who leave menus on their websites un-updated for years. Vagabond here in San Diego still has their Summer 2007 Menu up.

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