What did I order?

Have you ever tried to impress your partner by taking them to a fancy restaurant, open the menu and not have a clue what what you are reading? You're not alone. Don't ever be embarrassed to ask your server. They understand and most are educated on the menu. Well operated restaurants have a pre-service meeting with the chef before opening the doors. They then have the opportunity to ask questions and even taste the menu options for that evening to have a clear understanding.

So the next time you want to send back your Ceviche ( raw cured fish ) because its undercooked, ask questions! Here are some menu items or terms you may see in your favorite fine dining restaurant these days.

WAGYU

On the steak and chops section of your menu you may see Wagyu beef being served. WAGYU is a Japanese beef cattle breed and refers to all Japanese cattle where "Wa" means Japanese and "gyu" means cow.

Most are familiar with Kobe beef but what you need to know is that all Kobe is Wagyu, but not all Wagyu is Kobe. Many restaurant menus feature “Kobe Burgers” or “Kobe Steaks”.The truth is authentic Kobe beef is very rarely seen on restaurant menus in the US. Legitimate Kobe beef is priced around $200 per portion for a steak, and $50 for a burger. If you see something on a menu referred to as Kobe priced less than that, it is most likely domestic or imported Wagyu.

RAMPS

Here’s the short answer: ramps are a wild onion that grow during the spring in Eastern Canada and the U.S. They’re sometimes referred to as wild leeks, and taste like a balanced mixture of garlic and onion. They’re pungent, to say the very least.

Pickling is a great way to preserve ramps. These wild spring onions overflow the market for a few weeks each spring. Their garlicky flavor combined with a vinegar kick adds a bright punch to all sorts of dishes.

BURRATA

Think Mozzarella cheese. They are both two types of semi-soft Italian cheese.

Fresh Mozzarella is made from cow or water buffalo milk- Burrata cheese takes it one step further. Its mozzarella that is formed into a pouch and then filled with soft, stringy curd and cream.

FIDDLEHEAD FERNS

You can tell its spring when you see these on the menus. These tightly wound, disc shaped vegetables are the curled fronds of a young fern that are harvested in the spring. They are bright green in color, snappy texture like green beans and a woodsy taste similar to asparagus.

If you see them at the market, pick them up for a change of pace at dinner.

Lemon Garlic Fiddlehead Ferns

  • About 1/2 pound of fiddlehead fern

  • 1/2 t. fresh lemon zest

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced

  • 2 or more tablespoons of fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme)

  • Combination of olive oil and butter or ghee, olive oil and lard, or your choice of oil/fat

1-Wash the fiddleheads. Remove any fuzz found in the “curl” of the fiddlehead (easily done by running a finger through the curl or simply rinsing with plenty of water). Dry. I like to do this process in my salad spinner.

2-In a large skillet heat your oil/fat, until hot and add the fiddleheads and garlic cloves. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fiddleheads are soft with just a hint of crispness left to them. I don’t like them overly crisp, as I find their flavor not as good when undercooked. But when they are well cooked and tender, they are delicious!

3-In the last minute or two, add the herbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste, and then serve while hot.

BRANZINO

This is a simple, healthy, and delicious Mediterranean fish, also known as 'European Sea Bass',

AMUSE-BOUCHE

Literal Meaning: “Mouth-amuser”

You know you are at a high-end restaurant when you are served a complimentary amuse-bouche shortly after you sit down. This is traditionally a very small course – just one or two bites. This is a way for the chef to give you a glimpse of the meal you are about to experience.


Featured Posts