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  1. I thought you all may be interested in this map I made of what I consider to be the nicest places in the Boston area to eat a meal or get a drink. I've been living in the city for the past 5 years and cooking in it for the past 2 and this is what I've discovered. I've also included short anecdotes about each place. Hope this serves you well. http://goo.gl/maps/Vcbb
  2. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. Some very good insight. Some possibilities I have thought of and that have been inspired by the discussion here: - predominately cooking proteins sous vide - the radical idea of only serving cold/room temperature food or food with very few hot elements. Such as a restaurant specializing in charcuterie, pates, terrines, etc. - opening a restaurant within a restaurant. There are actually two diners in my neighborhood that close at 4 PM. I could always do the bulk of the prep elsewhere and then open within the diner at 6 PM. I have realized though that rent is not always a lot cheaper in a standard retail space than it is in an existing restaurant space. It could just make more sense to rent an old restaurant and hopefully inherit some of the equipment and a working exhaust system. Either way, it is cool to think about alternative restaurant concepts like this.
  3. I just think that a restaurant such as The Fat Duck would place a lot of value on innovation and exploration. Alinea has been on top for years and the restaurant continues to push itself into new territory. I think that is very admirable and I almost expect it from restaurants of this caliber. After all, The Fat Duck has a food lab that I assume is for the sake of cultivating new ideas. Great restaurants are supposed to evolve, that's what makes them great.
  4. Heston Blumenthal? When was the last time the menu changed at The Fat Duck? Also falling all the way to number 13 on the Pellegrino list this year. They really have to get back in the game.
  5. Hi everyone, long time reader here that very rarely posts. I should probably tell you a little about myself before we get into this whole thing, I graduated from art school and have been cooking in fine dining restaurants in the Boston area for about two years. As a cook, my goal has always been to open a small restaurant of my own. I hope to have my own place in 3 or 4 years. I can't imagine myself ever having a substantial amount of money or finding/wanting to deal with loans and investors (unless maybe through some other alternative avenue such as kickstarter). I am very much interested in the idea of a DIY type restaurant (think Mission Chinese Food) serving progressive american small plates (think Momofuku Ssam Bar without such a big asian slant). I'm looking to have a place that is 30 seats or less, perhaps with a bar. I always thought the cheapest avenue would be to take over a small existing restaurant space (somewhere around 600-800 sq. ft). That way the hoods, walk in, and most likely some kitchen equipment would already be in place. Recently I've been thinking about opening a restaurant without open flame. It seems that in some cities if you don't have open flames you don't need hoods and exhaust systems. So what would you need in the way of meeting all sorts of health and fire codes? Could I open a restaurant with electric burners or induction, an electric oven, and a home refrigerator. There is a restaurant in Canada called The Black Hoof that just uses an old 4 burner electric coil stove. Sure, I'd love a beautiful kitchen with convection ovens and ranges with french tops but who knows when that would happen. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
  6. Thanks LindaK and therippa, your comments are so appreciated! Maybe I will do a tobacco whipped cream instead of the marshmallow for the dessert course. I've been wanting to use tobacco as a flavor for sometime now. I do need to get away from this sweet thing....
  7. Thanks for the warm welcome, and thank you for the criticism. I understand your concern about the sacrifice of flavor for cleverness, it is something that I have certainly been concerned with. My approach to food is inspired by chefs like Grant Achatz, Andoni Aduriz, Rene Redzepi, and Quique Dacosta. I'm interested in utilizing food as a medium to convey ideas, emotions, and concepts; these are often the things I initially address when conceptualizing a dish. I think you are right about the curry banana in the pork dish, originally I was going to do a balsamic poached cherry instead but since cherries are now out of season I've been trying to come up with something else. Any ideas? The bubble gum shot is sort of a reflection of this past summer and is a miniature version of a cocktail my ex-girlfriend and I created. I sort of pictured it as a pre-dessert sort of thing. Many of the ideas in these dishes were actually a collaboration between my ex-girlfriend and myself, so the story I'm going after is that of our relationship through food, or something like that. This menu was something we were originally going to create and serve together but now things have changed and the story is less about romance and more about nostalgia. One of the other dishes I didn't post here was something we came up with called "First Date" which is a miniature version of the first meal we cooked together. It would be gnocchi, sage brown butter, and porcini mushrooms served as one bite in a spoon. That is what was going to start off the meal. I was apprehensive about posting this sort of stuff because of the personal nature of it. hah, I hope I didn't get to mushy there or anything. Any other suggestions/comments/criticisms would be much appreciated! You seem to understand the approach I'm going for, even though I didn't make it entirely clear. I hope this helps. As I said above I totally agree about the amount of richness and sweetness in the menu, and it is a concern. I'm not exactly sure why I'm attracted to the interplay of sweet and savory ingredients, but it seems sort of natural to me and it's something I need to be more aware of. If you have any other suggestions for ingredients/flavor profiles I would love to hear them. The duck course isn't going to be the first course, right now the menu is still a rough draft and I just happened to write it in this order. It isn't going to be a whole leg, only a small portion of the meat, probably shredded as you said.
  8. I'm planning a 6 to 8 course tasting menu to serve at a dinner party with 6-10 friends. It's a project I've been wanting to take on for a while and I'm doing it now as part of a personal documentary film class I'm taking in school. I have a tentative menu that I've been working on and I figured I would post here for advice as I'm only a home cook (who hopes to cook professionally one day). Here is what the menu is looking like so far, some things I've tested and worked on, and others I haven't yet: duck with red tea duck legs braised in rooibos tea, vanilla parsnip puree, lime air pork sundae braised pork belly, duck fat butterscotch, rosemary marshmallow, curry banana, roasted walnuts norwegian woods smoked beer braised rabbit, concord grape, peanut butter curry mousse, quail egg, hen of the woods, wild boar bacon bubble gum shot bubble gum vodka, grapefruit, tarragon s'moked chocolate smoked sea salt ice cream, roasted marshmallow marinated in brown butter, black pepper, and cayenne I'm also playing with a few other ideas: maybe an apple carpaccio? an encapsulated butternut squash soup? (aka butternut squash ravioli) a course with olive oil ice cream? Any suggestions would be much appreciated!
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