Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Names will have to be changed

We belong to a club. I'm not going to specify the club but I will say that it's a casual place that we get to about once a week and we have a good time there.

There's only one problem with the club. It's the food. It's boring. Some of it is decent and perhaps on a good night there may be a few quite excellent steaks and chops coming out of the kitchen.

But the menu has always bothered me. It's schizophrenic; going from diner special type entrees to steak house favorites but in such a haphazard way that it just seems sloppy.

Well last week I had (or perhaps forced?) the opportunity to go over the menu while sitting down with the manager of the front and back of the house - Mike. He was a real sport. I attacked the thing head on. "It's flabby", "trim it down", "make it seasonal", "do monthly or at least quarterly specials", "rotate dishes to create anticipation", "what about drink specials - perhaps give the bartendresses a chance to highlight their skills?". Mike listened like the veteran restaurant worker he is. He's experienced, he knows good food when he sees it, and he believes he's serving his clientele well. And who am I to argue? He's right, I have the book learnin' but no practical experience.

Well, no more. This week, Mike is letting me into the kitchen and we're working on a special appetizer to run together. I'll work with his kitchen staff and we'll see how it goes. I'm planning on letting the guys do what they know how to do. I'll simply work out the recipe and plating with them before service starts for the night.

Bacon wrapped Scallops with Bourbon Sauce

Soy Sauce
Maple Syrup
Dijon Mustard
Ground Black Pepper
Bacon Slices
Fresh Scallops

I'll work with the guys and we'll find a blend of the bourbon, soy, syrup and mustard for a marinade. I'll mix up another batch and cook it down until syrupy. The reduced one will be used as a sauce on the plate.

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