Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Mac is back. A story of love and hate.

OK, for the dozens(I'm not exaggerating) of people who have called the restaurant, now you've got your answer. Yes, the lobster macaroni and cheese is back on the menu.

So, what's the 'love/hate' part of it, Andy? I'm not crazy about the dish. The idea gained popularity a couple of years ago when chefs like Thomas Keller and Patrick O'Connell started to interpret this American classic. I remember being taken with Patrick's interpretation during my first days working in his kitchen. Macaroni and cheese in a parm. tuile topped with white truffle? Yes, please. Well, it's 2009 and 'dressed up' macaroni and cheese is dying in ubiquity(yeah, it's a word now.) Every one is doing their spin on it, some OK, some downright terrible. From a culinary view and a menu planning standpoint, I'd LOVE to be able to take the lobster macaroni and cheese off the menu and move on. You see, we only have 4 slots at the top of our menu, one of which gets taken up with the macaroni and cheese. So, that limits me to showing only three new dishes on our menu. I'm not really crazy out that. That's the hate part of the story. Although, it does give me a chance to use our awesome country ham.

Here's the love part. People move toward restaurant cooking for many different reasons. Back to Patrick O'Connell again, he's famous for saying that 'you don't choose this profession, it chooses you.' He's right. So, as chefs, we're all here for different reasons, but because cooking chose us. I think one thing that drives all of us is the satisfaction that we get when someone digs our food. Well, sometimes in your career you get a dish that people really like and you can't take it off the menu. This isn't a 'beef tenderloin' situation where people just order it because they like mushy, flavorless food. People like this dish. They anticipate when this dish will come on to the menu; call and ask if it's back; wonder if they can buy large quantities of it to eat at home. I appreciate that people like this dish. I love that they come to the restaurant to eat it. I'd be stupid to take it off the menu, right? How about I serve the mac and cheese with a complimentary side of beef tongue????

The photos on this post are obviously not taken by me....they're too good. They were taken by my good friend and photographer Andy Smith. I love they way his pics tell our food story. Simply amazing.


ostman said...

Save the side of beef tongue for me!

Josh said...

Chef - I will try anything you make - but this dish is a home run. (sorry)