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Menu items that just scare you....


roosterchef21
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Saw these on a menu the other day. Thought I might post it and see what other questionable stuff people have seen... Some of these scare me just a little. Would have to be a genius in the kitchen to get some of these to work...

Orzo Pasta, NT Crocodile, Mudcrab, Scallop & Wagyu Beef Cheek stack w abalone sauce

Roasted Wagyu Rump Cap w Tian of scallops, spiced avocado & tomato salsa w lemon & mustard vinaigrette

Charred Cutlets of Lamb w Buffalo Yoghurt, Blistered Tomato, Olives, Artichoke, Basil & Raspberry Vingaigrette

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The lamb sounds pretty good, like an arty riff on Greek standards. The first one sounds... ridiculous, and the second one sounds like they got some sort of deal on a truckload of scallops and are kind of desperate to use them up.

John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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Charred Cutlets of Lamb w Buffalo Yoghurt, Blistered Tomato, Olives, Artichoke, Basil & Raspberry Vingaigrette

How do you milk a buffalo? Water buffalo maybe? Or maybe the question should be why would you milk a buffalo? Educate me please.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Charred Cutlets of Lamb w Buffalo Yoghurt, Blistered Tomato, Olives, Artichoke, Basil & Raspberry Vingaigrette

How do you milk a buffalo? Water buffalo maybe? Or maybe the question should be why would you milk a buffalo? Educate me please.

I am guessing that this is the same sort of milk that is used for the highly prized Mozzarella di bufala campana, buffalo mozzarella, which is made from the milk of water buffalo.

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I don't know. I mean absolutely no offense to anyone when I say this but, with eGullet being the hub for the culinary adventurous to gather and discuss things that it is, there are a lot of surprisingly conservative views towards food and food wording. "Charred culets of lamb" is too descriptive and off-putting but a simple "cutlets of lamb" would be deemed not descriptive enough. We want to know how it's prepared! "We're serving scallops with the beef." Well they must have an overstock of scallops they want to get rid of, nobody else would do that. "Buffalo yoghurt" is silly but "buffalo mozzarella" is fine.

I'm honestly not trying to start an argument here. I think it's just an impossible task for a chef to word a menu so that it will make everybody happy. I personally love the Alinea style which would render that dish as Lamb - Yoghurt - Tomato - Artichoke or something similar but that would undoubtedly bring on a whole list of complaints as well since it tells nothing about the preparation.

And, for the record, I agree that the first dish sounds a bit insane. I don't know if it would scare me or tempt me... just out of curiosity.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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The first one sounds like a powerboat accident on a plate! NT Crocodile, Northern Territories? I like the touch of provenance in that description but is it the saltwater or freshwater croc? Big flavour difference I hear :wink:

You have such a bountiful supply of tropical seafood in Australia but it seems that this chef has either become very blasé about the ingredients or has just lost respect for them completely.

The other two sound on the acceptable side of eclectic, just.

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I don't know. I mean absolutely no offense to anyone when I say this but, with eGullet being the hub for the culinary adventurous to gather and discuss things that it is, there are a lot of surprisingly conservative views towards food and food wording. "Charred culets of lamb" is too descriptive and off-putting but a simple "cutlets of lamb" would be deemed not descriptive enough. We want to know how it's prepared! "We're serving scallops with the beef." Well they must have an overstock of scallops they want to get rid of, nobody else would do that. "Buffalo yoghurt" is silly but "buffalo mozzarella" is fine.

The problem with "charred cutlets of lamb" isn't overdescription, it's bad description. "Grilled" or even "char-grilled" would be okay, but "charred" just sounds burned and unappetizing. Ditto the "blistered tomato", which sounds like it needs a course of antibiotics; I'm guessing that "roasted tomato" would be equally descriptive, and more appetizing.

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With respect, I venture to guess the difference between tempting and off-putting in the original post in terms of language (vs ingredients) is American English vs Austalian English, which are two wildly varying things.

If someone told me they had a beautifully blistered pepper I'd be right there with my balsamic and buffalo milk mozz...

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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How do you milk a buffalo?

You ask it very nicely.

And for mozzarella cheese.

Yoghurt is just spoiled milk as far as I'm concerned. :laugh:

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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I'll concede that it's subjective but the word "charred" is not off-putting to me at all. In my opinion (which I realize is not the only opinion that matters), it's ok to assume a certain amount of common sense from people. Does anybody really think the word "charred" on a menu means they plan to severely burn the item and send it out? If you were, say, at the French Laundry and it said "charred cutlets of lamb" on the menu, would you expect a lump of lamb charcoal to appear before you? Understand that I'm not trying to dictate what others should find off-putting, I'm just suggesting that thinking a little deeper than the initial reaction might relieve the fear. I've never seen/heard a complaint about the word "blackened" on a cajun/creole menu but does that really sound like an appetizing desciption of what is a very tasty preparation method?

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Figures... I try to stick up for creativity in menu writing and it turns out they're actually sending out chunks of lamb charcoal. Oh well, not the first time I've been wrong.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Even if the lamb hadn't been incinerated ... I think the problem is what's already been pointed out: "charred" and "blistered" in the same line. Shifts the imagery from the grill to the trauma ward.

I like to spoof writing like this, but sometimes there's nothing more you can do.

Notes from the underbelly

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  • 2 years later...

I'm reviving this thread in order to share this scary salad from a restaurant in Idaho:

Beet and Poached Pear Salad: Mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, radish, feta cheese, candied peanuts, champagne mango vinaigrette.

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I'm reviving this thread in order to share this scary salad from a restaurant in Idaho:

Beet and Poached Pear Salad: Mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, radish, feta cheese, candied peanuts, champagne mango vinaigrette.

Hhmmm - I like salt and sweet together so the concept odes not scare me but the execution would have to be excellent. Beet blood leaching into pear - no not pretty.

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For me, the scariest thing isn't on any high-end menu, but instead is available at most truckstops along the sierra: Caldo de Manguera.

Literally, this translates as "hose soup" but in reality it's a boiled bull's unmentionables, with potatoes.

Eek. :blink: :blink: :blink:

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Literally, this translates as "hose soup" but in reality it's a boiled bull's unmentionables, with potatoes.

I just read your post to my husband. I think I just ruined his evening.

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