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Bluestar or Monogram Range?


greenwich st
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What started out as a kitchen window replacement has rapidly evolved into high-pressure kitchen redo, when we realized that (duh) counters and cabinets were going to get ripped out of place and half-destroyed in the process. We've just replaced our double bowl SS Kohler with a large single Franke -- I'm psyched. The range (a '98 Thermador) is out of harm's way, but we've always detested it (burners don't stay ignited, hate the on-and-off clicking of the "ultra low" burner, oven's bipolar and it's impossible to get serviced, so we're manically edging toward another major impulse buy. Any votes for Bluestar or Monogram? The latter tempts me by it's narrower depth (two inches shallower) and generally glamorous looks, but we mostly want a good performer, so should I go Bluestar? Any comments on the broiler, and simmerability? Anyone have theirs serviced yet? Thanks!

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Our BlueStar is too new for me to have any long-term or servicing answers for you, but it's been a joy to use thus far. Of course it replaces a thoroughly sucky electric range so the side by side comparison wasn't too taxing. That said, I've cooked on a few other [domestic and commercial] gas appliances and the BlueStar is, as noted, a joy.

Not sure what to tell you about the simmer burner. It's low, and reliable, but simmering being so dependant on volume and pan type I find it hard to generalise. If the volume of liquid to be simmered were too small then the burner would be too high even on the really low setting I suppose, but then I'd just slide the pan over a bit....

The oven temperatures are spot on across a wide range. Are you talking about the in-oven broiler, or a broiler [grill] top?

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Are you talking about the in-oven broiler, or a broiler [grill] top?

The in-oven infrared broiler. We'd be going for the 30", not sure they have a grill top option. I do like to use the broiler a fair amount which is frustrating on the Thermador -- the rack is too far from the not-so-strong heat, and for some reason ours takes some patience before it actually kicks in. It procrastinates. We have really hesitated about replacing it because it cost so much, but it's a total lemon.

How's your high-heat cooking? The Rosengarten article made me anxious to start searing meat.

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The in-oven infrared broiler.  We'd be going for the 30", not sure they have a grill top option. 

Right. Ours is the convection oven 30. I've fired the oven broiler up as a test, but haven't used it 'in anger'. The previous range's broiler was so sorry that I rather got out of the habit.

As with the oven burner itself, there's a delay between turning on and start of flame - the ignition system is a glow rather than the spark of the top burners. We're talking about seconds, not minutes here, but it's not instantaneous. The ceramics get hot very fast after ignition, and I doubt I'll have any problem with insufficient output - that thing is hot.

How's your high-heat cooking?  The Rosengarten article made me anxious to start searing meat.

Authoritative :laugh: The 22ks deliver. What surprised me more was how much better the even spread from the big burner made other processes. Most of our cookware is pretty decent stuff now but even so the burner design gives more even temperatures, faster.

Bottom line: This thing was a really major purchase for us, and it had an awful lot to live up to; so far we're really pleased with it.

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Thanks, Derek. I will be thinking "anger" next time I toast a gratin! In the mean time I figured out that the Monogram dual fuel needs 220 volts for the oven which our apartment kitchen doesn't allow. I haven't seen a negative report on Bluestar anywhere on the web, and you confirm it's a winner. We're going to go for it.

We're staying in a sublet with a leaky, unusable '80s-era restaurant Wolf -- fills the place with nauseating fumes within a minute. It's been salads and take out every day, so I can't wait for my new stove. (I'll have to find a non-cook to take my beautiful-but-brainless Thermador.)

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I have ignition problems on my simmer burner on which I spilled hot sugar from not watching the pot. However my trusty barbeque lighter works just as well. The ignition still fires so you know the burner has been turned on but the burner does not light. The ignition quits firing as soon as the burner is lit manually.

"Flay your Suffolk bought-this-morning sole with organic hand-cracked pepper and blasted salt. Thrill each side for four minutes at torchmark haut. Interrogate a lemon. Embarrass any tough roots from the samphire. Then bamboozle till it's al dente with that certain je ne sais quoi."

Arabella Weir as Minty Marchmont - Posh Nosh

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I have a Bluestar cooktop and I'm in love with it.

However, if I was in the market for a 30" range, I would definitely take a look at the Capital 30" range. It can be configured with a high output wok burner (25k) and the simmer burners go down to 800 degrees. I've heard good things about the broiler, and it's got a built-in rotisserie. Check it out here.

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I'd say that sticking with BlueStar is a wise decision -- straight-forward design, superior burners, no electronics to fail, very easy to work on by any qualified technician (or advanced homeowner, and not that they need repairs often), and so on.

One problem with the Capital is the burner design. As some may know, when Fisher Paykel purchased DCS the original owners left the company and started Capital Cooking Equipment Inc. And if you look at Capital's product line, it's basically the same as DCS, including the burner design.

What's the problem with DCS burner? From BlueStar's website, the David Rosengarten review:

TEST DEEP FRYING -- [...] Viking easily grabbed second place in this test; it took six minutes and 35 seconds for the oil to come to 365 degrees. Moreover, only the Blue Star and Viking were able to maintain the initial heat; after reaching the target temperature, the oil in the saucepan on the Viking range rose quickly to 390 degrees before dropping slightly, two minutes later, to 380 degrees, where it held steady. Viking's success in this test may have had something to do with its air-flow qualities; The design pushes the flame inward, creating a kind of cone. This may well be better for maintaining oil temperature, especially since the DCS, with its wide configuration of flame, was the biggest disappointment in his test. Both it and the Jade allowed the temperature of the oil to drop to approximately 340 degrees after two minutes has passed.

TEST STIR-FRYING IN A WOK -- [...] And sure enough, the Blue Star yielded the best, most restaurant-worthy stir-fried bok choy. For starters, the wok became incredibly hot; I couldn't even wait the full three minutes for it to heat up before the showroom filled with smoke. The bok choy emerged with golden-brown spots over about 65 percent of its surface and a remarkable "taste of the wok." DCS, which offers a porcelainized cast-iron wok ring, finished in second place again; this bok choy was browned over 30 percent of its surface, with darker spots, and had a less authentic restaurant flavor.

If in fact Capital's and DCS's burners are as similar as they appear, I'd say that BlueStar's 22k burner is equal, if not superior, to Capital's 25k wok burner.

Of course, the proof is in the pudding umm.. wok hay! :laugh:

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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Well, I've had some problems with my Blue Star 30" range. I still love it, but I can't say the folks at Blue Star have been responsive or, in fact, anything but dismissive when I asked for help. I couldn't adjust the simmer burner to turn down the heat; seems I needed a new burner handle; the one the burner came with was defective. The oven door kept sticking and I had to yank it open with both hands -- a nuisance when I was involved in roasting or baking. I had just moved into a new house with many problems associated with it, and by the time I got to the oven door, it was out of warranty. The door was now completely out of whack from all that yanking open and needed a new door lining, which I had to order from the distributor - the Blue Star people barely managed to say "call the distributor" -- showing complete disinterest in my predicament. Then the sparker on one burner went; I phoned the distributor (by this time I knew them only too well) and now that works.

It's a lovely stove, cooks beautifully, but the quality control -- at least on the one I got -- is less than perfect, and the consumer relations of the Blue Star people s.. (well, lets say) stinks.

Since I'm not mechanical, each problem involved a call to a repairman, scheduling, ordering the part, rescheduling, paying the repairman.

Would I buy one again? Yes, I probably would. But I'd keep the distributor's name and contact information close, and make sure to have EVERYTHING wrong repaired within that first year, when it's still under warranty.

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Most of my non-heavy-duty-cook friends are getting Monograms in their new kitchens. The ones I've seen and worked with are very nice, and they've been happy with them. Their decision-making was less "Viking/Wolf/Monogram" and more "Dacor/JennAir/Frigidaire/Monogram."

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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This is what I love about EG -- I had just begun to think hey, what about Capital, and I find my thought process playing out right here several steps ahead. So, Joe Blowe, what do you think of Capital's wide burners from the opposite point of view: the simmer function? I've seen some suggestion that the small diameter of the simmer flame could lead to hot spots. And thanks, joancassell for your cautionary tale: sounds like what we experienced with Thermador (and I'm impressed that you still love the range.)

I have to admit I coveted the Monogram mostly for its beauty. And there is always the potential resale factor: what if we sell and a buyer doesn't "get" the stove. Part of the appeal of the Capital is that it may combine features of both: good looks and the ultra-high and -low output of the Bluestar and lits large oven capacity. I also like the Capital 's advertised simmer function on four burners, and smooth-sliding oven racks . Unfortunately, it's very hard to check one out in person. Hmm...

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Just to obsess a bit more about the Capital: I am wondering about the wok cooktop configuration. I never stir fry in a wok and though owning such a stove may inspire me, I'm mainly interesting in being able to sear meat and to quickly boil and deglaze. The Bluestar offers two 22K burners as opposed to the Capital's four 19K burners. The Capital counters with the 25K central wok burner. Presumably one can use that wok burner for other functions, but doesn't the protruding skillet handle render one or two other burners unusable? And is there enough room on that cooktop for a big central pan, plus two other large pans, say, on the periphery? I'd love to be able to bring my pans and check it out in person somewhere.

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