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Fat Guy

The Kitchen Counter (and more) at Beacon

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My meal certainly featured one of the best duck confits I've ever had (and I may eat more duck confit than anybody else alive), and the oysters were simply magnificent, as was the arugula salad. I think that Fat Guy did us all a favor sharing this with us. Lord knows, I'm goin' back!


Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Went back to Sunday Supper this week, this time with a bunch of friends from college who happened to be in the city for a little reunion of sorts. The night before I'd taken some of the more adventurous eaters on a progressive supper through Chinatown. For our big meal on Sunday I wanted something that would allow everyone to find something they would happily eat.

I won't comment on the wines my dining partners brought. It's a testament to the professionalism of the staff that they iced and served them with such aplomb. On my previous visit I brought in some pretty decent bottles. This time, yeah, not so much. The same wine captain from my last visit oversaw our table and my friends were impressed by his level of service.

I thought the oysters were even better this time around, but maybe this was just because I was looking forward to them. The pizza got a bit too charred on the crust in a few instances, but this wasn't really a huge distraction. Some members of my party didn't eat mushrooms and they graciously served some slices without. Many bowls of salad were consumed.

Everyone liked their food, clean plates all around. I was the only one to order the skillet special, blanquette de veau on this evening. It was good--I had two portions--but not quite as good as the jambalaya. Whereas the latter was spicy and bold, this was more creamy and understated. Not the biggest portion of veal, but two plates more than made up for that. I also got to try the steaks on the menu. There was a tenderloin with a $5 supplement and the regular sirloin with an $8 supplement. Both steaks were good, I'll grant them that, but not worth the surcharge for me. Then again, I dry age for weeks at home and prefer my steaks to those at most steakhouses. Those who ordered the steaks really enjoyed them.

Dessert was a hit, especially the strawberries.

Because we were a large party a 20% gratuity was automatically included. No complaints at all there. All in, just shy of $50/person after the supplements and such. More than fair for all that food.

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Went tonight. The apps were great, but seemingly not unlimited any more? When I inquired about additional oysters, our waiter suggested that we could purchase an order a la carte. I guess times are tough all around.

Still a good deal overall, though.

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Went tonight. The apps were great, but seemingly not unlimited any more?  When I inquired about additional oysters, our waiter suggested that we could purchase an order a la carte.  I guess times are tough all around.

Still a good deal overall, though.

That's too bad if that is the case going forward.

What was the main skillet special last night?

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I don't think they ever were unlimited.  I always approached it from the perspective of what's reasonable.  I'd be curious to know if you had already gotten any refills up to that point.

Nope. We had only what they brought to us at the outset, so a portion of each app size for two - 3 oysters (which we thought odd since there were 2 of us), a plate of arugula salad, a cup of soup for each, and 2 small squares of pizza.

The skillet special was a Spiced Grilled Lamb Shanks w/ Candied Lemon and Couscous.


Edited by Jammin (log)

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I have recently learned that the kictchen counter is now only offered and available when a party of six makes a reservation.

I have a group of four interested in going on May 21st, but we are having some difficulty acquiring the required two extra people.

We are still waiting to hear back from some prospects, but I figured I would put out a bulletin to see if anyone here might be interested in joining if possible.

just pm me with questions. Thanks

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I had lunch at the burger bar on a recent trip to New York; my lunch companions knew Waldy and Sergio, the chef, so my experience was probably not typical. We started with some of the wild mushroom pizza, which they apparently give to all the tables. Thin crust and wood fired, it was among the best I've had. (Since I didn't get a chance to have any other pizza on this trip to New York, it was very welcome.) The burger was also one of the best I've ever had. Apparently the burgers used to be served on sliced bread; I'm glad they switched to onion rolls because I've never been a fan of burgers on bread, but I'm told that they were great that way too.

What was exceptional about the meal was that Beacon just changed its menu, so the chef sent out quite a few samples from the new lunch menu to see what we thought (by way of disclaimer, the chef offered and these dishes were all complimentary). We tasted a nice smoky seafood chowder garnished with tiny pate a choux puffs, plus a number of items from the wood oven -- grilled smoked pork belly served with charred peppers; shrimp in butter sauce; razor clams; chicken livers and lamb kidneys; an artichoke stuffed with breadcrumbs and gremolata; lamb meatballs; and asparagus with egg and parmesan. For me, the most successful were the asparagus, pork belly, meatballs and shrimp. The razor clams were very tasty, topped with buttery breadcrumbs, roasted garlic and chorizo, but razor clams are just not my favorite -- they're always chewy, and these were no exception. Likewise, the artichoke was nicely done and flavorful, but I think roasting isn't the best treatment for the vegetable -- it was a bit dry and would have benefited from a dipping sauce.

Overall, though, I think the menu works. Given that they'd just started it a few days before, they had the dishes down well and execution was solid. We got to watch quite a few dishes leaving the kitchen, and I could easily have found another half dozen I'd want to try.

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A few months ago our son's nursery school's PTA called upon me to solicit donations for the annual fundraising auction. Helpfully, the auction committee keeps a book of who has given in past years. Flipping through, I noticed that Beacon had donated before, so I figured that would be an easy one. I emailed Waldy Malouf asking if he'd donate dinner again and his reply was basically, "If you cook it." We agreed that the auction item would be dinner for four at the kitchen counter, prepared with the assistance of guest non-chef me. Despite my involvement, this item turned out to fetch a hefty sum at the auction. The dinner went down last night, although my day started much earlier.

Those who have been to Beacon or read about it here know that the restaurant has an attractive open kitchen displaying a wood-fired oven, a grill and a rotisserie. Off to the left, through swinging doors, is a much larger kitchen where you'll find the pastry department, garde manger, dishwasher and a few other things. But the real guts of the operation are downstairs.

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The downstairs area of Beacon is about the size of the entire visible restaurant plus the upstairs kitchen. It's more like a small Mexican village than a kitchen: there's a baker, a butcher . . . for all I know there's a post office down there too. It goes on and on and if somebody sends you down there to fetch something you wind up lost and asking for directions in what you remember from before you dropped Spanish in high school.

I eventually found Sergio Lopez, Beacon's chef de cuisine, conducting a meeting in one of the walk-in refrigerators. That's not a euphemism. The cooks like to have meetings in the refrigerators because they're nice and cool.

My prep tasks started with grinding lamb for lamb meatballs. We only needed eight meatballs for the dinner for four at the kitchen counter, however I was tasked with grinding the meat for about 150 of them. The task involves feeding chunks of meat (Elysian Fields lamb chuck) alternating with onions, garlic and herbs (parsley and, thanks to a Greenmarket delivery that day, orange mint) through the Hobart mixer's grinder attachment, which is similar to a home KitchenAid mixer with the grinder attachment affixed except much larger, more powerful and more effective.

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I hadn't pulled a shift in a restaurant kitchen since working on my last book, so I had suppressed the memory of how arduous the repetitive prep tasks can be. In the case of grinding the meat, it looks easy, and I guess it is easy, but feeding each of those chunks through the grinder takes half an hour or so, with the chef wandering by every few minutes to note something you're doing wrong. After the first 10 minutes, my arms, neck and shoulders were feeling it. I'm not proud to say that by the end of 20 minutes I was considering throwing the remaining chuck in the trash and claiming I'd ground it all. In half an hour I was a broken man, and just wanted to go home, but I endured for the sake of the auction -- for the children.

We then added Greek yogurt, salt, pepper, cumin, eggs and bread crumbs to the mix.

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My next job was to make the meatballs. For whatever reason, Beacon has settled on 1.9 ounces as the ideal size for a meatball. Sergio brought out a scale and covered it in plastic. He pinched a wad of meat, rolled it in his hands and put it on the scale. Yep, 1.9 ounces. "Now do the rest . . ." and he was off. I pinched a wad of meat, rolled it and put it on the scale. 3.1 ounces. I removed some of the meat. 2.6 ounces. More. 2.1 ounces. A little more. 1.7 ounces. Added a little back. 2 ounces. When you do it this way, it takes a while to convert that much meat into meatballs. I got a little better at it, but not once did I nail 1.9 ounces on the first try, as Sergio had. It reminded me of my father's strategy as a scout leader: my father was by all accounts better at starting fires by rubbing twigs than anybody in the world. That this was pretty much the only outdoorsy thing he knew how to do was not relevant. Immediately upon meeting a new group, he'd do a fire-starting demonstration. Nobody messed with him after that.

Some of my embarrassing meatballs:

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We took the meatballs upstairs and browned them by shallow frying them in oil. This is a much more effective browning method than just cooking them in a skillet the way I and most home cooks do. The meatballs brown up beautifully and stay totally moist.

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We removed the meatballs, dumped the oil, deglazed, added the meatballs back to the saute pan, topped off with tomato juice and placed the whole thing in the wood-burning oven for an hour.

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We were mostly done with the prep for one course of the evening's 12-course menu. Luckily we weren't responsible for every single course. But we still had a long checklist of to-do items.

Next we had to make the crispy poached eggs, which involved poaching eggs, cooling them and breading them.

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The crispy poached eggs were to be served atop flakes of smoked sable (aka black cod), so while they were poaching I flaked the sable.

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Sergio poached the first group of eggs.

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A couple of the eggs got damaged in poaching.

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Then a couple of others got damaged during the breading process. So in the end I was sent back to the stove to poach some extra eggs so that, in the end, we'd be sure to have five really good ones (four for the guests and one extra for us to taste).

After about an hour in the oven the tomato juice had reduced into a nice sauce.

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That was pretty much the end of prep for that dish, though later some garnish would be grabbed from the restaurant's regular stations.

Sergio had started braising rabbit that morning, before I got involved, and it was nearly done.

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We (and by we I mean Sergio) sauteed some morels for the pizza course.

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While that was going on I noticed I was standing right next to a rack holding a sheet pan of Neuske's bacon and a sheet pan of spiced pralines.

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I snacked so heavily on these items I was concerned that by the end of dinner service the restaurant was bound to run out of bacon and pralines. But supplies held out, despite a busy evening.

I pulled the meat off the rabbit, following Sergio's instruction to pull it in fairly large chunks.

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At this point we got an extra set of hands in the person of Joel, the number three guy in the Beacon kitchen hierarchy after Waldy and Sergio. Joel and I made the short-rib agnolotti. The short-rib filling was enhanced with tangerine sage, raisins and Parmesan.

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There were a bunch of other prep tasks but it would be too boring to read about them all.

At 7pm the guests arrived and, while waiting up front in the lounge area, were served a cocktail and a piece of foie gras terrine dipped in caramel and run through the cotton candy machine.

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At this point we fired two things in the wood-burning oven: a pizza with favas, morels, asparagus and red onion as the first course at the table, and the rabbit stew for later.

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As the guests were eating the pizza (which was actually their second course at the table, because first they received a crudite course of fennel that came off the garde manger station independent of our prep effort), we deep fried the breaded poached eggs, warmed (off the heat) the sable in a little garlic-infused olive oil, plated them up and topped with quince paste. You'll notice in some of these photos that there's an odd-man-out dish, which is because one of the guests was pregnant. So for this course, for example, her egg had to be cooked through more than the others. (There were additional restrictions, such as no pork or shellfish, which influenced the menu.)

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Those things that look like scallops are chunks of swordfish for the next course, roasted in the wood-burning oven.

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The swordfish was plated up with artichoke puree.

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Then thin slices of salmon seared on one side, with shisito peppers and citrus (I segmented all the citrus, by the way), except for the pregnant guest's salmon (front) seared on both sides so as to be cooked through.

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For most of the courses, we'd make five portions and whichever one came out the worst we'd sneak it off to the side and eat it with plastic spoons. There were also other items sampled, from the regular menu. So here's my salmon course with a side of ravioli.

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Next, the short-rib agnolotti, garnished with chiffonade of tangerine sage.

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Then buttermilk fried quail. These were half portions of a dish from Beacon's regular menu, though we garnished with fried parsley which is not how the dish normally comes.

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Waldy served the rabbit stew over couscous at the table.

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The lamb meatballs were served over creamy polenta and garnished with corn shoots.

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For the final savory course, Kobe beef, presented on a brick of Himalayan salt, cooked on hot stones at the table by Sergio.

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For the palate cleanser/pre-dessert, celery sorbet with Sergio's mother's recipe "coconut eggs," which are basically Cuban macaroons.

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Finally, chocolate souffles.

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Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I hadn't pulled a shift in a restaurant kitchen since working on my last book, so I had suppressed the memory of how arduous the repetitive prep tasks can be. In the case of grinding the meat, it looks easy, and I guess it is easy,  but feeding each of those chunks through the grinder takes half an hour or so, with the chef wandering by every few minutes to note something you're doing wrong.  After the first 10 minutes, my arms, neck and shoulders were feeling it. I'm not proud to say that by the end of 20 minutes I was considering throwing the remaining chuck in the trash and claiming I'd ground it all. In half an hour I was a broken man, and just wanted to go home, but I endured for the sake of the auction -- for the children.

Thanks for reminding me why I lasted less than a year in a restaurant :smile: .

And had you thrown that chuck in the trash, there is no doubt that the chef would've

found it and you would've been eating it for family meal.

Great story.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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And had you thrown that chuck in the trash, there is no doubt that the chef would've

found it and you would've been eating it for family meal.

At least I'd have had family meal. As it was, we were too busy to take a break.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Some of my embarrassing meatballs:

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Don't be so hard on yourself. I would describe your meatballs as "rustic," and I am sure, like the rest of the meal portrayed in your photos, the meatballs were delicious.

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They were delicious and rustic, however when I got pulled off the meatball task to attend to something else a guy from the regular prep crew took over and made about a hundred visually perfect round meatballs in a just few minutes.

I should add, the meatballs are an item from Beacon's new menu. The restaurant turns 10 this year, and Waldy has decided to reinvent the menu to some extent. As he explained it to me, he asked himself what kind of menu he'd want if he opened a restaurant today. For the past 10 years, Beacon has been operating on the premise of a "chef-driven steakhouse." This has always been a little boring for Waldy, who is a far more serious chef than is needed for a chef-driven steakhouse (the same goes for every member of the Beacon kitchen brigade). So the new menu, while it still offers some steaks and chops, is focused on the "open-fire cooking" concept, which is Beacon's (and Waldy's) big strength and serves as a much more atypical selling proposition, especially for the neighborhood.

As JAZ mentioned above, we were in recently and tasted several of the new menu items. And I'm sure I'll work my way through the rest of the new items over the next few months, as we go to Beacon pretty often.

The new menu is also different structurally. It's on one large piece of heavy paper, like a brasserie menu. The prices are the same all day and all night. There is no item over $30, unless you count the steak for two, which is $29 times two. There's a short list of lower-priced wines, and cocktails, on the menu itself (a full list is available separately). You can see the menu here.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Noticed a few new things at the Burger Bar today:

1. They've added a pulled-pork sandwich.

2. They've added a grilled-cheese sandwich.

3. They've added a selection of spiked milkshakes.

4. The burger price has gone down at dinnertime and up at lunchtime. It was $16.95 at dinner and $12.95 at lunch for a burger at the counter, and is now $14.95 at both services, in keeping with the new one-menu-all-day approach of the overall restaurant.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Anyone hear anything about this July 10th $10 dinner? Eater posted it as "10-courses for $10" but when I called to make a reservation they said it was only 3-courses. Either way a steal, but it's only available to the first 100 customers who make a res. Add $10 bottles of wine and that's one of the better deals I've seen in awhile.

Eater's post: http://eater.com/tags/dealfeed


always-eating.com

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The press release I got on 15 June said:

> July 6th - July 11th

>

> 10% off All New Menus

> -------------------------

> Daily $10 Sommelier-

> Selected Bottle of Wine

> -------------------------

> Daily $10 Chef Selected Entrée

> -------------------------

> JULY 10th ONLY!

>

> First 100 dinner guests will receive complete three-course meal for $10 AND

> a sommelier- selected bottle from Beacon's Wine Cellar for just $10


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Last night I participated in the preparation of another Kitchen Counter dinner, again as part a charity-auction offering. This time I was better prepared. I visited the restaurant the day before to meet with chef de cuisine Sergio Lopez. We decided that I would come in between 2 and 3, poach and bread the eggs for the crispy-egg dish, grind and season the lamb for the lamb meatballs, and then assist Sergio with various prep tasks on the other 8 savory dishes from the evening's 12-course menu (2 courses were to be desserts so Sergio and I were only responsible for 10).

Normally, if I say I'll be somewhere between 2 and 3, I arrive at 1:50. But my fear of an extra hour of kitchen labor trumped my compulsive on-timeness, so I entered the restaurant at 2:59. In order to slow myself down, as I was walking across Central Park South on the way to Beacon, I stopped by the horse-drawn carriages, called my almost-5-year-old son, and described the different horses to him. Upon arrival at the restaurant, I found Sergio in the basement and took as much time as possible selecting and donning chef's coat and apron. Then it was time to poach the eggs.

When my father was a Boy Scout leader, he figured out a strategy for earning the respect of his troop: he learned to do one thing really, really well. In his case it was starting a fire with a twig and a rock. He would make sure, on any trip, to perform that feat first thing. Once he did it, everyone respected him and it didn't matter that he wasn't up-to-par on many of the other expected skills.

That's how I am with poaching eggs. When chefs and serious food people come over to my place, I try to find an excuse to poach them an egg. Almost invariably, I get it just right. I have friends in the food world who are still talking years later about how preternatural my egg-poaching abilities are. So I figured, right off the bat, I'd poach some eggs and earn the respect of the Beacon kitchen brigade.

Things went downhill from there. When it mattered most, I experienced my first-ever episode of egg-poaching impotence. The first egg I attempted to crack shattered into a disastrous mess of shell, yolk, and albumen. On the next one, the white tore away from its yolk as the egg hit the water. The job was to poach five eggs: four for the dinner guests and one for backup. Two dozen eggs later, staring despondently at a stockpot full of egg-drop soup, I didn't have a single acceptable poached egg to my name. I couldn't poach an egg to save my life. No amount of meditation and visualization could save those eggs.

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Thoroughly humiliated, I reported to Sergio, "This just isn't going to work." He was kind: "Eggs can be tough. Let's start over and take it step by step. We've got plenty of eggs. Just relax and we'll make it right."

We put on another pot of water, added vinegar, let it come to the boil, and turned the heat down a bit. Sergio got the water moving with a slotted spoon and gently cracked four eggs into the pot. Three minutes later, four flawlessly poached eggs emerged. He cracked in another four and told me to take them out when they finished cooking. I got three out and broke the fourth. I then cracked four eggs and managed to poach them without incident, though nobody was watching. So we had 11 poached eggs chilling and firming up in ice water.

Sergio went to change his clothes. The disposal of the failed poached eggs had backed up the drain and splattered Sergio's chef pants. He took it in stride.

After drying the eggs and chilling them for a bit, we set up a station with flour, beaten egg, and bread crumbs (house made, toasted with garlic and butter and ground very fine in the Robot Coupe).

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Sergio said, "Let me do the first five." He dusted each poached egg gently in flour, then dipped it in the beaten eggs, then rolled it in bread crumbs. Then I had the other six eggs to experiment with. I breaded five of them without incident, and was very proud of myself, but I put a thumb right through the sixth one. Worse, it leaked all over three others.

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My preparation of the lamb meatballs was slightly less humiliating, though still plenty pathetic. Sergio, by then thoroughly disgusted with me and extra busy picking up my slack, turned me over to Manny the butcher. Manny set me up at a station in the basement with a big bowl of lamb shoulder meat, herbs, onions, garlic, and big Hobart grinder (actually a mixer with the grinding attachment affixed). My job was to alternate feeding the meat and flavorings through the grinder.

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After putting a couple of pieces of meat through the grinder I fed in a bunch of herbs. Half of the leaves didn't make it into the feed tube and fell directly into the bowl of ground meat. I reached in to pick them out and right away a clump of bloody meat coming out of the grinder fell on my sleeve.

About half an hour later my arms felt as though they would come out of their sockets and my neck was profoundly stiff (the feed tube for the grinder was at the level of the top of my head). Manny walked by and asked, "Is it done?" I was maybe half done. I said, "Almost." He looked at what was done and what was left and uncomfortably said, "Just get me when it's done, okay?" with the emphasis on "okay" implying, "Say 'yes' if you understand simple English commands." (Manny, whose name is probably Manuel and who is not a native English speaker, was puzzled by my apparent mental feebleness.)

After an hour of grinding, I brought the finished product to Manny and Sergio for inspection.

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Sergio told me to add pepper, salt, eggs, cumin and some other stuff, put on latex gloves, and mix everything in by hand. After I did everything, Sergio tasted a little bit, shook his head, re-seasoned and re-mixed. Then Sergio walked away, Manny tasted a little bit, shook his head, re-seasoned and re-mixed. Manny then set up a scale and said we needed to make 4-ounce meatballs. He pinched a wad of the meat and threw it on the scale. Exactly 4 ounces. He rolled it into a ball, put it on a tray and grabbed another portion. Exactly 4 ounces. It was my turn. My first attempt was about 7 ounces. I took bits off and, after about 9 adjustments, had the needle pretty close to 4 ounces. I made a ball and put it on the tray, then Manny picked it up and re-rolled it. I filled the tray -- it held 12 -- and brought it upstairs. This took me about 20 minutes. About 20 minutes later, Manny came up with a huge sheet pan full of meatballs -- he had manufactured the rest of the batch.

We then pan-fried the meatballs and put them with tomato juice in the wood-burning oven for a good long time.

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I proceeded to embarrass myself in creative ways: destroying perfectly good oranges in order to extract six presentable segments, cutting some sushi-style slices of tuna that looked like they'd been chewed off, etc. It was awful. Luckily, Sergio and the team salvaged all my errors. (And I got to eat the mistakes.)

Our guests for the evening were kosher-style diners, so we weren't serving pork, shellfish, and other forbidden creatures, and we weren't combining meat and dairy in any single dish. This required very little modification of recipes -- it was mostly just a question of selecting dishes from Waldy and Sergio's repertoire that were up to code. Meanwhile, as I was working in the prep kitchen, I was standing next to a sheet pan of bacon on a speed rack:

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It called and called to me, but I kept thinking it would be unethical to eat the bacon and then handle the food of our guests. I figured what I'd do is wait until all the prep was done, sneak a few pieces of bacon, wash my hands, and then go into service. But when prep was finally over, the bacon was gone from the rack. Someone had taken it out to the service kitchen. I went without.

It was time to serve dinner. Upon arrival, the four guests were seated at the counter up in the bar area. We were going to serve them kir royales with their canapes but they were serious wine collectors and brought a '90 Trimbach riesling. (And, for later, a '96 Lafite; yes I got to taste.) We glazed cubes of foie gras with a grapefruit syrup and ran them through the cotton-candy machine. Course 1, foie gras with spun sugar.

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At the kitchen counter we had waiting a crudite of breakfast radishes with seasoned butter for dipping.

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Course 2 was a wood-oven pizza with fava beans, asparagus and onion. Each guest was served a small slice on a cool-looking miniature wooden paddle. That used less than half the pie. I got the other half.

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Course 3: crudo of tuna with white soy, served over corn and pea shoots

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Course 4: wild-mushroom ravioletti.

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Course 5: hot-smoked cod with fennel.

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Course 6: crispy poached egg with pickled watermelon rind

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Course 7: grilled quail with roasted plums.

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Course 8: duck confit with orange and herbs.

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Course 9: lamb meatballs with polenta.

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Course 10: kobe beef cooked on hot stones.

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Course 11 I didn't get a photo of. Coconut sorbet with what I can only describe as a Cubano version of a macaroon (Sergio's family recipe) served with strawberries dressed with balsamic syrup and roasted in the wood oven. I got a photo, at least, of the strawberries right before they went into the oven.

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Course 12: Chocolate-chip souffle with smoked-vanilla ice cream.

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Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Great looking food. This is why I tell people home cooking has nothing to do with restaurant cooking- the time and accuracy element is so intense. What caught my eye immediately was the dark brown paper on the sheet pans at some point. It looked like they started with regular parchment paper- do they re-use it until it is almost incinerated? Good to know if it works because the stuff is not cheap retail.

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