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Everything posted by Sethro

  1. Sethro


    If it's dairy based, then kappa carageenan + guar gum will give you a texture nearly identical to a cooked custard (with no baking needed). The % varies based on the ingredients, but here is a simple custard made of just whole milk: 1000 ml whole milk 200 g sugar 3 g kappa carrageenan 1.5 g guar gum Shear sugar and gum mixture into milk Cook to 160 degrees f Strain and mould as desired immediately
  2. Shlomy is an awesome cook. I think he has his menu up and running already but I'm not positive. I definitely recognize some of the dishes on the pdf menu as his...
  3. Sethro


    For sauces, Ultra Sperse 3 is so, so, SO much better. Xantham has a terrible, mucous-like mouthfeel to me. I only use Xantham in cases where I need to increase viscosity like a foam base.
  4. Generally, "glucose" alone refers to glucose syrup. The only thing I personally use Glucose Powder for is ice cream and sorbet. You should never let the total sugars % of your ice cream base drop below 50% granulated sugar, as a general rule. In other words don't replace the sugar in an ice cream recipe entirely with glucose, or you may push the % of solids way to high and end up with a gummy product. Also, bear in mind that glucose is only 30% as sweet as granulated sugar, and has a lower freezing point. You definitely should not use any dry mass in your chocolate work. In candy syrups like italian meringue base, glucose syrup it is commonplace, but once again the powder can't be used that way (unless it can be re-hydrated or something?).
  5. I will go ahead and submit Xie Xie to the list. Short menu and everything on it is killer. Especially the lobster and the vietnamese beef.
  6. In a restaurant service environment the ice creams will go on a non-stop rollercoaster ride of freeze/thaw, and the service freezer temperature will likely fluctuate wildly as well. I try to only spin one paco-beaker of any given flavor at a time, which is only like 20 quenelles max, and I will still have beakers get icy even WITH stabilizer. It might be a matter of how sensitive you are to ice crystals. I will determine an ice cream to be un-serviceable when most customers wouldn't notice any imperfection at all. I am a perfectionist though. I also totally prefer the texture of more stabilizer/less egg, and the flavor delivery is inarguably more clear. Eggs taste like eggs. Also yolks are yellow and a lot of other colors do not benefit at all form the addition of yellow. It is to a large degree an issue of personal philosophy. I love the vanilla ice cream at the Modern which is stark white and has almost a chiboust texture indicative of stabilizer. I also love the vanilla ice cream at Otto which is yellow and super custardy and very classic.
  7. Used to use the smallest melonballer, kind of circle the pitt and then pull it out with the baller facing down. Paper clip works fine too but ends up flinging pitts everywhere, including your face.
  8. Sethro

    Wondee Siam

    I like Wondee best out of all the Hell's Kitchen options, and I often get my chops busted for that. I also like savory food sweeter then most, so I don't ever bother asking for "Thai Style", but I do ask for "spicy". I don't require extreme heat but most Manhattan Thai isn't aggressive enough for me. My Manhattan go-to is still Land Thai Kitchen, but only for take out, as it is the most uncomfortable dining room imaginable.
  9. Oops. That is definitely supposed to be "1/2 tsp matcha". Hope nobody ruined a pint of raspberries...
  10. Remember to keep it in the fridge. Matcha can take on some really nasty flavor properties (fish, metal) if it sits around warm. As far as suggestions, matcha raspberries have always been a big winner for me: 1 pint raspberries 2 T sugar 2 T lemon juice 1 tsp matcha 1/8 tsp salt Just macerate in the fridge till the sugar is dissolved.
  11. I agree with this one, though as you note it's polarizing because the people who don't like Mason's cuisine are rather vocal about it. The place changed considerably after the reviews, but unfortunately there's usually no way to get the critics back again.Seäsonal is another great example. The Times didn't review it at all. ← I thought they got one star?
  12. Yeah why does it matter what percentage of dry mass is in a beverage? Is it like...hot cocoa with no cocoa? I guess I would use a little tapioca starch to emulate that mouthfeel...although I have no idea if that's what you're trying to do or not. The only other chocolate beverages I can think of are chocolate martinis and Canfields chocolate soda!
  13. Tailor. I'm sure this is polarizing, since so many NYers hate modern cooking. They have done such a good job of hating it that we are down to two restaurants in which it is showcased. Three if you count Corton. By showcased, I mean the main attraction, which is what it is at WD and Tailor. Of course every 4 star kitchen now has a colloid/gum shelf in the dry storage, but the usages are intentionally sly and subtle. Tailor also has an extremely low price point for all the labor cost. Also it has the best cocktail program in the city, in my opinion.
  14. Sorry. Cryovac is the popular brand of vacuum compressor (like xerox is to copiers). Cvap is an oven that cooks with moisture at regulated temperature as supposed to regular convection oven that just injects steam willy-nilly. You could use any brand of vacuum compressor and cook in water on an induction unit with temp hold function just as well I guess. I wouldn't even recommend this approach to duplicate the traditional candied fruit though, where the sugar concentration in much higher. This is just an alternative idea I toyed with and liked the results of.
  15. I used to just cryovac the pitted cherries with a strong syrup (about 2:1 + a little glucose) and throw them in the cvap oven at 180 degrees/100% steam for about 2 hours, until they turn completely translucent. They are not as sticky as traditionally candied cherries, but they are fully red and translucent. They also only hold about a week once you open the bag. Works well for kumquats too but they often take up to 4 hours.
  16. The Bras, Nobu and JG versions are completely different animals. Bras has a ganache center, Nobu has a center of pure chocolate couveture and JG's center is raw batter. Two are more of a souffle and one is like a brownie, or really dense genoise. I like the Nobu version the best. As a pastry chef its one of those things where you have to suck it up and remember that it is a business. I do shudder whenever I meet a girl and the first question is "can you make molten chocolate cake?". Either that or creme brulee. Ah well, such is life. It is undeniably yummy.
  17. I went last night for a few cocktails. Rhubarb Gimlet was just about perfect. Just enough rhubarb to get a slight, vegetal finish. The grassyness really improved the twang of the gin. I could have drank several more. Raspberry Whip was right up my alley as well, although I think some people would complain it was too sweet. I like sweeter drinks though, and there was a healthy note of licorice that really gave it an interesting finish. I also tried the olive cured trout, which I loved. Olive, marjoram, cherry and marcona almond; its obviously a balls-out dish. I like to actually taste what is written on the menu, as supposed to just getting a hint or a whisper, so it was totally successful for me. Basically everything I tried was right up my alley, as it has been on every visit. I will say however that my server was oddly negative, telling me things like "our selection of whites is really pathetic right now". Seems like a strange selling point... I would definitely recommend popping by for the Rhubarb Gimlet though, before the season ends. Its a superlative cocktail.
  18. Now that you've explained it, I'm afraid I am still having trouble with the math. Obviously you're right that a $35 dinner results in a lower tip than a $70 dinner. But it results in a higher tip than an empty seat.So why do you say it's a losing proposition to extend "deals" that pull people into the restaurant, into seats that would otherwise be empty? ← I think the crux of the matter, if I'm getting this right, is that with fewer covers, you need fewer FOH staff, so the tips go further. Filling seats at a lower price means more tips but at a lower rate and a greater need for added staff. I guess it's a matter of striking the right balance. Christopher ← That and of course it is illegal to be payed in tips alone so everyone is getting wages too. The tip pooling problem is more of a quality of service issue that I shouldn't have bothered mentioning since its confusing I guess.
  19. Well nobody keeps their tips, they are pooled. Then every FOH employee is assigned points, like maybe a captain is 10 points, a server is 8, an SA is 6, runner 4 etc. Bartenders are in their somewhere too. So then all the pooled tips are divided amongst the total points to create a point value, like every point on a goodnight might be $20, and on a horrible night $5. So the more people on the floor, the fewer points there are to spread around. Thats how you pay out tips. The expediter is the bridge between the kitchen and the FOH. Its usually jut a senior runner. EDIT: Anyways thats not really important. The point is that more covers at a lower check average is not going to help you in a sense, in less you staff the floor really "creatively".
  20. Sure, and that distinction would be the amount of time they actually enjoyed being in the black. I don't know anyone at Cru, so I don't want to imply that I have some insider info, but I'd have to assume that they were making money for a few years. That's a pretty good buffer to work against. Obviously every restaurant is in the red their first year (well, maybe not like Fatty Crab UWS or Momo Ko, but those are exceptions) so if you happened to open on the first day of the great depression like we did then you are screwed a lot faster. But I believe most high-priced restaurants, old or new, are screwed regardless. Jean Georges is a totally unique example. They do so much expense account dining at lunch due to their notoriety and their location that it probably offsets the pri fixe. Also, that is a very famous pri fixe that probably draws a consistent crowd. Do you think that many people will hear about or be compelled to prioritize Cru's pri fixe? Bear in mind that the profit margin for most of these fine-dining restaurants is in the 10-13% range, unless they have a huge private dining program (which nobody does anymore). So "feeling the pinch" could easily mean something to the effect of losing 100-200k a month. I supposed how sustainable a rate that is varies from case-to-case, but it leaves you at the bottom of a BIG hill regardless. I hope I'm wrong but I haven't heard any positive speak in a while. Another overlooked aspect is the effect on FOH. Figure you manage to increase your covers at the cost of dramatically lowering your average check. That means you have to have enough staff on the floor to keep quality consistent (we are talking about fine dining), and their payout point-value is going to drop like lead. Now your expediter, for example is getting four points at $5 a point. If he doesn't quit on his own, you are going to have to release him in order to keep the point-spread smaller, and keep your captains on board. This is possible since captains, servers, runners and busers are all well below overtime hours to begin with. The result is you wind up with fewer FOH staff trying to do multiple jobs simultaneously (at the cost of service quality), and a bunch of unemployed people. Fine dining restaurants get killed on labor costs to begin with.
  21. Hopefully they are amongst the first to realize that those measure don't help the bottom line and do look desperate.You increase your cover count meaning you need to keep more staff on the floor. However these covers expect to pay exactly the pri fixe cost (plus an 18% tip) and maybe one wine by the glass. You lose money in the short term. ← I find that excruciatingly difficult to believe. Dozens of restaurants have independently reached the conclusion that such deals are beneficial. You are claiming that they all, in fact, lose more money than if the seats were empty? And apparently they are too dumb realize it? Sorry, I don't buy it. ← Well I will just say "trust me". I've had the pleasure of being involved in enough failed restaurants to see these things pretty clearly. Its not a matter of being too dumb to realize that you are spending more money than you are making with these deals, its the instinct to try ANYTHING when your dining room is empty. Plus, most of these deals are conceived by your PR, who is focused solely on keeping your name in print but are not privy to your F&B or labor cost reports.
  22. Hopefully they are amongst the first to realize that those measure don't help the bottom line and do look desperate. You increase your cover count meaning you need to keep more staff on the floor. However these covers expect to pay exactly the pri fixe cost (plus an 18% tip) and maybe one wine by the glass. You lose money in the short term.
  23. Tan is right. Adding a water-based syrup to cream is NEVER going to help the whipping process. Cold infusions are nice, but I would blanch the mint first and puree it into the cream (then strain and filter). If its mint then why not take advantage of the beautiful green.
  24. If you are an ambitious fine dining restaurant in Manhattan, circa 2009, you are bleeding money. Period. How's a giant off-premy wine cellar sound, now that nobody wants a bottle over $50, and sommeliers have to haggle with diners table-side? "Close to the brink" is a far more relative term nowadays. How committed/indifferent are the backers? How many months in the red is sustainable? The answer better be closer to 24 than 12. Especially if the primary investors have already made their returns (see: credit bubble, 2006-2008).
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