Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

New restaurant menu help


howsmatt
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm in the early stages of opening my first restaurant. I'm working out the menu so that I can cost it. My place will be breakfast and especially lunch. The mission statement of my food is "the loving comfort food your mom would make for you if she attended cordon bleu." Basically I want reasonably priced items that are homey but a little done-up and modernized-creativity added. I also need things that can be assembled resonably quickly to suit a lunch rush.

Here are some of the things I have already:

- chicken pot pie

- short rib

-steak frite

-lasagna

- gnocchi

- hot turkey sandwich

- tuna salad sandwich

- grilled chicken sandwich

- pork tenderloin sandwich

-smores

-caesar salad

-potato salad

-onion soup

-kettle corn

-burger (or perhaps a trio with beef-turkey-black bean)

Although the descriptions above are simple, I will be making adjustments to the classic versions. My point is... What foods did you have as a kid that might be added to such a list?

Also, I'm having a real problem coming up with summer items that are comfort food.

Edited by howsmatt (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always like a chicken tarragon salad sandwich over a grilled chick sandwich

chop chop salad - always good for summer

pasta primavera

i just had a great seared halibut sandwich with a great bun, onion, tomato and lettuce - not fried - seared - and some nice crunchy slaw - wonderful

just a couple of items

good luck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

*Just* onion soup? Soup can be so much more than the same type of soup that everyone, everywhere serves and has available to them. Between onion and chicken noodle, so many people just don't have any respect for soup. I'm thinking that it would behoove you to look in this direction.

To me, summer comfort foods include stuff like sloppy joes, watermelon, steak on the grill (heck, just about *anything* on the grill), fried chicken, pasta salad, chicken salad, and lots of other stuff which basically would be easy and cool. Picnic foods. And no, picnic foods don't have to be a source of disrespect...good is good, even if it isn't overly complex.

After reading my own words here, I have *no idea* whether this helps you or not regarding the comfort foods for summer...but please: consider going a bit out of the ordinary on the soup front. Try a muligatawney, or a pumpkin curry, or a apricot netmeg, or something like that. Flavor counts!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly, first reaction when I read your menu was, "bland". Reason for saying so is that the items listed would be typical of any diner, per se. I would spice up the items making it unique, your own. Something to give a guest a "wowing factor" and make them want to order that right away. Need something to give yourself an edge on your competitors, what makes your restaurant superior to theirs?

Jim

Edited by stealw (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I metioned above, these are simplified descriptions. It would obviously be an onion soup au gratin with a slight twist. The thing about doing zucchini-pear soup or beet and corn with tonka beans or whatever is that it doesn't fit my mission statement. I feel it's important to have this identifiable trait because there are TONS of restaurants in Montreal in the area that I'm looking at that do this type of food already. I'm also hoping to come in at a very resonable price point. As for flavour that's the one thing I'm confident I have covered.

Thanks to all already for the ideas. I had thought bar-b-q of course, but not so much picnic, nice idea.

Nice drinks will be great-just hope I can get a license.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about breakfast? Truly great home fries make breakfast for me. Will breakfast be available all day?

For lunch - wonderful soups and a great grilled cheese sandwich. There is a place in Santa Fe that does a great grilled cheese with asiago, carmelized onions and a terrific hot and sweet mustard.

KathyM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, just to avoid confusion, I will give an example of the full description of one of my items. For the "hot turkey sandwich"---it will be turkey thigh braised sous vide for 18 hours, green peppercorn sauce, pea and lima bean puree with mint (perhaps another herb classic to thanksgiving-but I know this works) and dried cranberries soaked in booze (haven't figured this one out yet).

So no need to mention I need to "spice it up". But thanks none the less, it is important.

NOW...

I will serve breakfast, but probably not all day. In fact I'm worried about this. I don't want to be a breakfast place that is open until 3. My best dishes are really hot lunch items like the one above. I want to be a lunch place open until 6 that also serves a good breakfast for those who come by. The ideal would be to have a few diners for breakfast and lots of coffee-muffin take out. A jammed lunch and a few snacks at 3-5pm. Perhaps on the weekends I would do all day breakfast.

I have a grilled cheese on the menu. I've actually been thiking about soups that might go well with it.

I agree, good potatoes are key. I'm not sure yet if I will have a fryer. I want one but with all the safety stuff it may crush my tight budget. On the other hand good fries are filling-good and make a lot of money.

thanks again all.

Matt

Edited by howsmatt (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You said that you may or may not have a fryer.

What equipment do you have?

This will streamline ideas.

No sense telling you about an idea you won't be able to pull off due to lack of proper equipment.

And when you say grilled, is that char grill or flat top?

Many confuse the two.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have no equipment, because I have no kitchen yet. I'm creating a first draft of my menu so that I can have my accountant examine costs and so I can start testing the recipes (I plan to take some time for this).

That being said it is most likely I will have the following:

6 burner with convection oven.

Fryer

Maybe an electric grill (not flat top) or Bar-b-q outside just to grill stuff quickly for flavour

2-3 immersion circulator setups

Yesterday I found out that even without a fryer I would need a commercial hood--even with a 4 burner residential stove--Because it is based on seats not equipment. So if I have to pay 6-10k for a hood, may as well have a fryer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would ditch the immersion circulators and accompanying vacuum machine and get a nice fryer, good sized grill, and a second oven/range to do traditional braises. Some things can be cool sous vide, but if you are going for affordable comfort food, even if it does have a twist, is your clientele going to care whether it was braised 18 hours sous vide or braised 8 hours in a regular oven? Have you looked at combi ovens? Might be more versatile than the immersion circulators and there are some you can program to do all kinds of things. I have a Houno combi that I actually hate because I suspect it is smarter than I, but it is programmable for roasting and braising and steaming and keeping warm. Besides, 6 burners and a grill is not a lot of heat. You're still going to need a burner to heat up all your sous vide bags, more if you are going to sear those meats, that leaves you with 5 burners which is really not much.

How many seats are you looking at?

Edited by pastrygirl (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm surprised no one has mentioned a great macaroni and cheese!

Other ideas in the comfort-food range:

meatloaf

oatmeal cookies

apple crisp

great tomato soup to go with the grilled cheese

These may be comfort foods, yes, but to me, they're far more in the line of winter comfort foods, not summer comfort foods. These that you've listed are heartier, more stick-to-your-ribs kinds of foods, and I'm not sure that they're what the OP had in mind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have no equipment, because I have no kitchen yet.  I'm creating a first draft of my menu so that I can have my accountant examine costs and so I can start testing the recipes (I plan to take some time for this).

That being said it is most likely I will have the following:

6 burner with convection oven.

Fryer

Maybe an electric grill (not flat top) or Bar-b-q outside just to grill stuff quickly for flavour

2-3 immersion circulator setups

Yesterday I found out that even without a fryer I would need a commercial hood--even with a 4 burner residential stove--Because it is based on seats not equipment.  So if I have to pay 6-10k for a hood, may as well have a fryer.

You might as well get the fryer.

It's easier to have the ansul system installed with the fryer in mind instead of facing the additional cost of adjusting the fire supression system after the fact.

Brisket with Caramelized Onions & Merlot Demi

Beef, Veal & Pork Meatloaf, just to kick it a bit

Chicken Cacciatore (or Parmesan) with Creamy Polenta

Pot Pies (too easy, but comforting)

Liver & Onions (calves liver and caramelized shallots)

Potato dishes are very popular:

Home Fries with saute'ed mushrooms and onions, cheese, avocado, sour cream and sprouts (for example)

Quiche

Frittata

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My food suggestion is any play off of BBQ beef. For my cafè, I have a molè chicken which has quickly become one of my top movers. Its basically a shredded chicken breast cooked in the molè sauce. For you maybe its a BBQ bison or elk...or whatever feels regionally appropriate. Serve that bad mama jamma on a sweet potato biscuit with a side of great slaw and I'm on my way for lunch!

And as for the hood, my inspector was incredibly flexible to let me do a residential range and hood. I appreciated the cost savings a year ago, but we've already outgrown them. Now I have to figure out how and when to bring in bigger better equipment, so plan on success and growth as you plan this out.

The other thing which I haven't done my research on yet, is that my architect eluded to a less costly surpression hood that many of our restaurants in historic buildings (like mine) have been installing. Apparently they are free standing, with limited water supply, but only run a couple of thousand. For me that's important because I'm in a 120 year old adobe building with no roof space. It might be worth looking into...but again I don't know any more than what I've just said.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In terms of comfort foods in general, I'd add meatballs to the list, in some form or another. (Not necessarily with spaghetti.) For summer comfort foods in particular, I'd say the two most important things are grilled items and salads. Personally, I ate a lot of carrot salad as a kid. And if you can think of a way to make Jell-O salad high-end, I'll be the first one to order it! :biggrin:

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I think of summer comfort food I think of yogurt, even just as a marinade, feta, cucumbers, anything citrus, bibb lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, arugula, granny smith coleslaw, avocado, cold soups, prosciutto, and of course, anything grilled. I love smoked tomatoes in relish dressings. Good luck, it all sounds good so far. ch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To start off, once again THANKS. What a great place this is. I haven't opened and I already have 2 customers.

The circulators allow me to cook very cheap items and have them come out better than classic braised-particularly in the texture and repeatability departments. At my current restaurant we make a great short rib, but every 4th or 5th batch someone doesn't do something right and it comes out flat.

The turkey dish for example will cost me around $2, only $1-1.25 for the turkey portion. I can also make a chuck steak for a steak frite for $2, that is mignon tender. It also allows me to trust the other cooks I will need one day. I will use the circulator bath to keep my meats at the temps I want, therefore no need to use a burner to reheat just sear and serve.

The combi oven is definitely a good idea-I wish I had more first hand knowledge. I will certainly look into it though.

I'm looking at about 32-40 seats.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about a nice ceviche of seabass with fresh citrus, chiles, cilantro and shaved radish or even a beef tartare. I think refreshing items like that in the summer would be great and comforting. Braised brisket with a nice slaw would be great. When good heirloom tomatoes come into season a gazpacho with some pickled watermelon rind and fresh herbs. I hope some of these ideas help.

Good Luck!

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"

Oscar Wilde

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am posting this in case you don't subscribe to CIA's ProChef Smart Briefs: (I like them because among other things they post Wall Street Journal reports on food world which otherwise are available only to paying customers)

http://www.smartbrief.com/news/cia/index.j...85-83dd791f17fb

From today's offerings:

A Side of Business

Chef takes a chance in down economy

Small-business owners in Schenectady, N.Y., say now is the time to open a new business. One chef created an open-concept gourmet shop to bring tastes from Atlanta, Chicago and Miami, which he says are absent in the area. He plans to find more revenue by catering and teaching cooking classes. Daily Gazette (Schenectady, N.Y.) (4/5)

http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2009/apr/05/0405fulcobiz/

Good luck with your project.

Edited by skipper10 (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...