Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, welcoming foodies to discuss the dining scenes in Israel and abroad, along with all things related to kosher food.

Do "Old Fashioned" Dishes Have a Place on Modern Menus?

Such dishes are "retro" and indeed have a place on menus of fine restaurants
2
12%
Such dishes are not at all "retro", and indeed have a place on menus of fine restaurants
14
82%
Such dishes belong only in bistro-level restaurants
1
6%
Such dishes belong only in mass-market restaurants
0
No votes
There is no valid place for such dishes on modern menus in restaurants of any level
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 17

Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Daniel Rogov » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:44 am

Several recent restaurant reviews, those from critics in New York, Tel Aviv and San Francisco have "accused" restaurants of offering too many dishes that are (in the words of one critic) "a negative return to the 1980's". Among the dishes named rather negatively have been: steak au poivre, tournedos Rossini, baked oysters, lobsters stuffed with crabmeat and crepes Suzette.

What thinkest we? Do dishes such as this have a place on the menu of the best restaurants? In addition to your vote, please share your logic as well as any other dishes that you consider in this "category".
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Ian Sutton » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:16 am

Good food is good food... though if they're aiming to match the culinary standards of the 1980s then it may not be "good food"

Let's see how well they do.

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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby JC (NC) » Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:17 pm

These dishes are still being offered on menus for a reason--diners like them. I would add the Provencale beef daube, Beef Wellington, lobster Newburg (which would be offered on more restaurant menus if I had my way), osso bucco, veal schnitzel. shrimp scampi, chicken cacciatore, beef bourguignon. I'm not sure where the dividing line is between 1980's menu items and French or Italian menu classics so forgive me if I am mixing the categories.
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Shel T » Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:21 pm

This is basically a non-question, nothing is 'retro' if there are customers for it and any so-called "critic" that suggests that such dishes don't belong on 'modern' menus, IMO is either too stupid or too tasteless to live!
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Daniel Rogov » Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:10 pm

Ah….. perhaps we have reached that point where at least my own definition is of "retro" is in order.

Let's put it this way, retro is a term that originated in the mid- to late 1990's and used to describe foods, fashions, cookery styles or other cultural modes, those appearing in a manner that are intentionally self-conscious (self-aware if you prefer) of themselves. Although some of the "things" described as retro may have come to be seen by the masses as unfashionable in the sense of fashion, interior design, and culinary offerings, those "things" can be also be seen in a highly positive light. My own choice is to "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, don't mess with mister in-between".

Best
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Matilda L » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:15 pm

What is a restaurant for? For people to eat and enjoy food, or to show off newly invented dishes? Chefs developing new ways of preparing and presenting food is an important aspect of the restaurant business. Amongst patrons, fashions develop and tastes shift. But in the end, it's about people having the opportunity to eat good food in a convivial setting. If people enjoy 'old fashioned' dishes, all that shows is that they are not a passing fad: people genuinely like them.
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Tim York » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:53 am

Daniel Rogov wrote: "a negative return to the 1980's". Among the dishes named rather negatively have been: steak au poivre, tournedos Rossini, baked oysters, lobsters stuffed with crabmeat and crepes Suzette.



This critic seems to have a defective knowledge of history when he says that these are dishes from the 80s. Most are much older than that. For example "tournedos Rossini" was devised for and named after Gioachino Rossini 1792-1868 who was almost as well known for his immoderate love of foie gras as for his sparkling operas. The first two and the last of these dishes are classics but I am not so sure about the other two especially the baking of oysters which, IMHO, ruins them.

Invention is important in food as in many other things but so is recognition and enjoyment of classics in the face of the the modish and transient.

Personally I have a craving for some bourgeois classics which seem to have disappeared off menus, such as coq au vin, boeuf à la bourguignonne, quenelles de brochet sauce Nantua and lamproie à la bordelaise. I can only get the first three at home now and the last not at all because it is difficult and even unpleasant to prepare.
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby JC (NC) » Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:19 am

Tim, can you give a brief description of sauce Nantua and lamproie (is that eels?) bordelaise? Thanks.
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Charlie Dawg » Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:35 pm

Oops, I meant to vote number 2, instead I voted number 1. In any case if people like it, if people are ordering these dishes then so be it. Who is to say that old is less atractive than new. I love old foods.
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Daniel Rogov » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:20 pm

JC (NC) wrote:Tim, can you give a brief description of sauce Nantua and lamproie (is that eels?) bordelaise? Thanks.



Not Tim but with him admiring sauce Nantua. Following is one of my own favorite dishes.....quenelles with sauce Nantua.


Lobster Quenelles with Sauce Nantua

For the Quenelles:

675 gr lobster meat (can also use trout or pike)
3 cups whipping cream, well chilled
2 egg whites, beaten
grated nutmeg to taste
salt and white pepper to taste
dash or two of cognac and Tabasco

Run the lobster meat through the finest blade of a food chopper three times. Place the ground lobster in a large bowl which sits comfortably on a bowl of ice. Using a wooden spoon, work the lobster into a smooth paste. Slowly work in the egg whites and season to taste with the nutmeg, salt, pepper, cognac and Tabasco. While still over the ice, slowly add the whipping cream, blending constantly.

To form the quenelles, have ready to moderately large spoons of equal size, a small bowl of hot water and a well buttered cookie tin. Leave one spoon in the hot water and with the other lightly scoop out just enough of the quenelle mixture to fill the spoon. Take the second spoon out of the hot water and invert it over the first to shape the quenelle. Do not press the spoons together: merely shape the quenelles.

Nantua Sauce

For the mirepoix (brunoise):
1 tsp. butter
150 gr. carrots, diced finely
100 gr onion, chopped finely
50 gr. celery, chopped finely
salt to taste, pinch of thyme and 1 bay leaf ground into powder

For the sauce:
1/2 kilo crayfish, shrimp or lobster shells
1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
1/4 cup each Cognac dry white wine
3 cups fish stock
2 tsp. butter, melted
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup sweet cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prepare the mirepoix (sometimes known as a brunoise) by melting the butter in a saucepan. Add the onions, celery, carrot, thyme and bay leaf and sautי until the vegetables are very tender.

Continue making the sauce by adding the shells and tomato paste to the mirepoix. Saute until the shells turn red and then add the Cognac and white wine. Simmer over a medium heat until the liquids are reduced by half. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so that a low simmer is maintained and cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.

In a small bowl make a roux by beating together the melted utter and flour, mixing until the mixture is completely smooth. Add this roux to the simmering sauce and whisk in thoroughly. Simmer for 10 minutes longer, stirring almost constantly.

Remove the sauce from the heat, strain and discard the solids. Return the sauce to the heat and stir in the cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If not using at once dab the surface of the sauce with butter and set aside to keep warm.
Arrange the quenelles in a buttered baking dish and over these arrange the shrimp. Pour the sauce over, covering generously, and bake in a medium-hot oven until the sauce is lightly browned and the quenelles have risen slightly (10 - 12 minutes). Serves 4 - 6.
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby JC (NC) » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:36 pm

Thank you Daniel. It does sound delicious.
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Bill Spohn » Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:37 pm

Tim York wrote:For example "tournedos Rossini" was devised for and named after Gioachino Rossini 1792-1868 who was almost as well known for his immoderate love of foie gras as for his sparkling operas.


Immoderate? The man was a piker (and I do not refer to quenelles!). He mucked up all that good foie gras with too much beef and bread in his eponymous dish (well, one of them, anyway, as I believe he coudl lay claim to several). In fact I doubt that one can ever be classified as having an immoderate fancy for foie gras any more than for having, say, an immoderate liking for ...air!

But foie gras aside, I get heartily sick of restaurants that feel they must be on the bleeding edge of current cuisine fashion. You can have all your deconstructed molecular garbage topped with insipid foam, your bland food cooked sous vide, and any of the other 'latest things' and give me dishes that were good 200 years ago and are still worthy of inclusion in a modern menu.

When the mistral roars outside, give me a traditional daube, not some cuisine minceur frippery. By all means offer the odd 'new' thing which I am free to try or not, but do not supplant the tried and true with the nouveau.

Traditional virtues should not be condemned simply by labelling them 'retro' Or am I being too 'retro'..... :wink:
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby JC (NC) » Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:40 pm

"Retro" or "metro" I'm with you on this subject Bill. Some chefs go entirely too far to be "innovative."
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Tim York » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:57 am

JC (NC) wrote:Tim, can you give a brief description of sauce Nantua and lamproie (is that eels?) bordelaise? Thanks.


Lamproie is lamprey. The preparation involves a live lamprey which needs to bleed; messy, ugh!! I can't find an English version of the recipe but here is one in French which reveals all the gory detail http://www.francesudouest.com/decouvert ... mproie.htm . It is traditional to serve a red Bordeaux with this dish.

Thanks, Rogov, for the quenelles and Nantua sauce recipe. I will print it for Germaine's expert attention and our mutual pleasure.

PS I've found an English version of the lamprey recipe http://www.cuisine-french.com/cgi/mdc/l ... laise.html .
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Bill Spohn » Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:18 am

You know how you get little towns laying claim to some sort of fame by proclaiming (usually with rather ugly billboards) that they are the X capitol of the world? Corning, Olive Capital of the World comes to mind as we used to hit it every time we drove down from Canada to race at Laguna Seca, and we;d stop and hit the olive tasting bar and load up on gallon jars of various olives, not all of which made it back to Canada unsullied.

Well we were driving through a small town south of Bordeaux (probably heading for Cahors, though the exact location escapes me right now) only to see a billboard proclaiming it to be the lamprey capitol of the world. I don't think we even stopped to see if they had any "Is that a Lamprey in your Pants or are You Just Glad to See Me? T shirts, nor to take a photo of the sign. If the name of the town comes to me, I'll post it.
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Tim York » Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:09 am

Bill Spohn wrote: If the name of the town comes to me, I'll post it.


It seems to be Sainte-Terre http://www.tourisme-aquitaine.fr/fr/act ... aliteId=60 - funny name.
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Bill Spohn » Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:15 am

Tim York wrote:
Bill Spohn wrote: If the name of the town comes to me, I'll post it.


It seems to be Sainte-Terre http://www.tourisme-aquitaine.fr/fr/act ... aliteId=60 - funny name.


I think that's right. Damn, we missed touring Lamprey Theme Park with lamprey-like winding paths (Le sentier qui parcourt le parc évoque la forme de la lamproie!)! And possibly joining la Confrérie de la lamproie http://www.echos-judiciaires.com/sainte-terre-consecration-de-la-lamproie-j300-a2157.html

Had I only known what we were bypassing.....
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Dave R » Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:10 pm

Shel T wrote:This is basically a non-question, nothing is 'retro' if there are customers for it and any so-called "critic" that suggests that such dishes don't belong on 'modern' menus, IMO is either too stupid or too tasteless to live!


Shel,

I just read your bio on the web. You have had one heck of an incredible life!
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Shel T » Sat Feb 14, 2009 3:52 pm

Dave R wrote:
Shel T wrote:This is basically a non-question, nothing is 'retro' if there are customers for it and any so-called "critic" that suggests that such dishes don't belong on 'modern' menus, IMO is either too stupid or too tasteless to live!


Shel,

I just read your bio on the web. You have had one heck of an incredible life!

LOL Dave, it's certainly kept me off the streets, and the good news from my POV is that I'm still breathing!
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby ChefJCarey » Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:43 am

Shel T wrote:
Dave R wrote:
Shel T wrote:This is basically a non-question, nothing is 'retro' if there are customers for it and any so-called "critic" that suggests that such dishes don't belong on 'modern' menus, IMO is either too stupid or too tasteless to live!


Shel,

I just read your bio on the web. You have had one heck of an incredible life!

LOL Dave, it's certainly kept me off the streets, and the good news from my POV is that I'm still breathing!


Btw, the web site link you mention in your profile here is not functional.
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Shel T » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:23 pm

ChefJCarey, thanks for letting me know, the website was offline, don't know why and is being investigated, but back on now.

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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Bill Spohn » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:59 pm

So Shel - are you still working in analogue, or have you gone digital?

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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Shel T » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:09 am

Bill Spohn wrote:So Shel - are you still working in analogue, or have you gone digital?

Bill
(a vinyl freak)

Sorry Bill, you're gonna have to hug that precious vinyl to your chest, and the tape that it was made from, in the best King's english--there ain't none around!
All the major manufacturers stopped making it as digital took over and the market shrunk. I heard somebody was gonna restart, maybe has by now, but afraid it won't matter as analog has pretty much gone the way of the sliderule after calculators went on sale. And recording studios have also entered the realm of the dodo. There were around 300 studios in the L.A. area not very long ago, and doubt that there are 25% of them still in business as most of the contracted artists and tons of 'hopefuls' got their own home digital studios.
Digital has progressed to such a degree that expensive big studio sound can be emulated in a home studio for a fraction of the price.
Would "you" be able to tell the difference...maybe, but most wouldn't.
BTW you can't beat the convenience of digital, where you can go instantly to any part of the recording instead of having to wait for rewinding the tape and it really helps with punching in while tracking as no time is lost if you have a mood and a rhythm going.
So circling around to your question, I'm working exclusively in digital as that's where the state-of-the-art is, except for the following anomaly. All the good pro digital studios like the one I use have a load of analog gear like limiters/compressors, noise gates, pre-amps etc., mainly used during mixing, so analog lives--kind of.
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Re: Culinary Poll #26: Old Fashioned Dishes on the Menu

Postby Bill Spohn » Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:26 am

I think a large part of that is what you said - anyone can do digital in their garage or basement (though arguably not as well as a proper sound engineer can).

There are a few analogue recording and mastering facilities around and vinyl seems to be making a come back, but much of it is pressed from digital masters. Only a few purists continue to work exclusively in analogue. Bless them.

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Being in a Latin sort of mood, I might observe that if 'Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit' then I must not be a wise man! :wink:

Every time someone tels me about some overly compressed recording they just got and how great it sounds on CD, I go back and spin something from, say, Reiner and damn the tape hiss (if you even notice it) the music shines through as few (notice i didn't say none) digital recordings seem able to do.

I've had great fun with people that swear by digital, but when they listen to good analogue are blown away, as are their preconceptions. Problem is, unless you are a hairshirt sort of purist, recording in digital is just so much easier.

But I've already sidetracked this thread too much (sorry, Rogov). Another time.
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