Like most people who have been in the business, or indeed who eat out regularly in decent places, I can tell at a glance if a menu has been written by a chef who is serious about his or her food. In no particular order, the following are a few dishes and ingredients which make my pulse quicken when I see them on a menu.
Let me more specific. I love shellfish when it arrives in alive and kicking. Not frozen crab, chemically soaked scallops in tubs or those awful rubber shrimps. There is no substitute for the real thing and although expensive, if treated correctly is worth every penny.
|Crab risotto at the Sportsman in Kent. One of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. Source : Sportsman Website|
I don't eat steak very often and almost never order it in a restaurant but if I see bavette I will almost certainly go for it. It has a little more resistance than the more tender cuts but more than makes up for it with he flavour it delivers. Served rare with crispy chips and bernaise sauce, it's up there with my death row last meals!
|Not quite bavette but this underblade in Etto Merrion Row was absolutely superb.|
I'm instantly drawn to any type of offal and applaud chefs who are brave enough to list it on their menus as I know it can be a hard sell. Veal liver is a particular favourite of mine and any part of a pig. Especially the head meat. Anyone who takes the time to slow cook a pig's head and meticulously pick the meat out when still hot, burning their fingers in the process, deserves all the support they can get!
It's becoming increasingly difficult to get wild game in restaurants as health & safety authorities require more packaging and labelling. A lot of game is now farmed but for me, the flavour does not compare to it's wild cousin. When eaten in season with some serious red wine all is right with the world.
I mentioned in the previous post that I reckon the vegetarian options in a restaurant should be appealing enough for meat eaters to order them. I love to see vegetables getting the same treatment as every other prime ingredient and will order it without hesitation if some thought and TLC has gone into it.
Let me know what menu items turn you on. For now, I'm off for something to eat as I've broken the golden rule of writing about food on an empty stomach!