ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Anyone else doing classic cart service?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Anyone else doing classic cart service?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Just inherited an old school (38 yrs.) French restaurant and was looking to revamp dining room cart service. Currently doing duck L'Orange, Dover Sole, other whole fish and crepes. Just added roasted poussin and bananas foster. Would like to add Caesar salad but this seems a touchy subject to most.....Just finding a waiter with a tuxedo is hard enough....any help would be greatly appreciated.

Chef Brian (not an old French woman)
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
post #2 of 21
lolol......(not an old french woman)......
oh boy, do you have your work cut out for you in training staff.
funny thing I made banana's foster last Monday.
What's so touchy about caesar salad....other than the coddled eggs? If you put a disclaimer on the menu there shouldn't be an issue with liability....or is there?
Searred foie same thing....
The first dinner I catered at 16 had bananas foster, my best friend and I caught the carpet on fire....pretty exciting.....thank goodness it was her brother's townhome and he didn't notice (care).
Inherited a restaurant? are all the photos in the gallery from your new place?
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #3 of 21
How is the learning curve going for the table side carving? Fish gave me the most trouble. Getting a copy of Jaques Pepin's La Technique (the one with all the photos) for the kitchen is a must.

Are you doing the full presentation for crepes suzette? With the oranges and sugar cubes? If so, I may have to make a special trip out there.

It would be a very cool thing if you did table side ceasers. I havn't seen that since Lawry's Prime Rib.

We used to make a variation of bannas foster with peachs or nectarines instead of bannas, very good combo on vanilla ice cream.

Your post reminds me of service ala russe.

If you are going to cook tableside, for the love of all thats holy get some good burners.

I'd want to add something like an french omlette to the cart, but that might be my brunch bias showing. You could really fancy it up with free range eggs, do some aux fines herbes or wild mushrooms. Serve with little salad, (maybe frissee with lardoons and mustardy vinegrette). It's also a good excuse to shave truffles tableside.

EDIT: I can't believe I forgot the foie! Thanks Shroomgirl!
post #4 of 21
Looks like you got some good press Chef!

Linkage
More linkage
post #5 of 21
reminds me of the first restaurant I worked at in Memphis...La Tourelle/Antoinettes. I just had the menu from 1979 framed....french onion soup with guyere, bibb salad with tomato slice/toasted walnuts and blue cheese, escargot en croute,barquettes d' huitres...barquettes with duxelle/poached oysters/beurre blanc, pate maison....country with ham running through the middle, potage creme d' artichauts, veal blanquette, Escalope de Veau Careme, Veal Marsala, Saute de Fruits de Mer, Chicken Kiev, Filet Mignon with bordelaise.......
still is comfort food....cream and all.....

Tourelle was 4 courses.....different each week....one appetizer, one soup or salad, choice of two entrees, one dessert.....Tues-Sat.

Got to love the prices. pate made in house $2.25, 4 course classic french meal $16-18.....

One of my dear friends has had (still owns one) provencal cafes.....pates, snails, pissonolet, daube, roast chicken, icky ratatouille, breads made in house, desserts too.....when he had his original restuarant I was a regular, it was just great to crash after work and have him make roasted chicken and mashed potatoes with haricot verte please instead of rat.....he's now into Irish pubs.....just lacks the intimate atmosphere, good memories.
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #6 of 21
What do you mean inherited?

Fifi's Restaurant does tableside. Toledo Ohio of all places. :D
post #7 of 21
Brian,
the reviews that tincook posted read differently than the photos you've posted.... So are you doing old french/continental favorites tableside &/or the more modern spin of figs/parmesan in puff?
Your presentations are beautiful, thank you for posting the photos....
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #8 of 21
The reviews might be somewhat dated. I think one of them even predates Brian's takeover. eh C'et la Google.
post #9 of 21
Cheech and Chong come to mind whenever I hear/read Fifi.....

wow, steak tartar, dover sole.....Fifi's menu reads like a restaurant from the 70's......hard to find good tartar these days. do you think the tableside waiter has to give a verbal warning about consuming raw eggs/meat?
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
The review in Newsday is from last summer before we took over. Gone is the "routine" vodka sauce and most items have been re-worked. All the pictures are recent from about mid-june until now. I said inherited because we kept the name and all the current staff and menu when we took over (plus all the outdated equiptment etc..) and it's been alot of work to re-train employees that have been in that kitchen for 11 years. The Maitre 'd has been there for 38 years. The "Great Restaurants of Long Island" Photos were the first plates of food I made here and I'm a little disappointed with them. Other than that we are moving forward and making great progress. We are keeping the classic haute menu and using daily specials and monthly tasting menus to introduce new dishes and ideas.
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
post #11 of 21
wow.....wow.....
that's a job and a half, taking a kitchen that had been in existance for umpteen years..doing it a certain way and then changing gears probably pretty rapidly. And then the waitstaff on top of that.....wow.

So, how's it going? photos are lovely.
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Slow and steady wins the race. Trying to keep customers happy that have been patronizing the restaurant for 20+ years while winning new ones has been slippery business. To me, classic French will never go out of style but the way it is presented is important. The cart is an essential element to all this and it is a niche very few restaurants around here occupy.
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
post #13 of 21
how many carts do you have, and how are they equiped?
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Some Like It Haute

We have one dinner cart which is basically a portable butane burner sunk into a rolling cart with a cutting board. Underneath is a shelf for plates, knives, liquor, etc... We will need a second cart after our coming renovation for the caesar salad I spoke of earlier. I am embarrased to say that I've never had caesar salad prepared tableside. I'll start with what I think I know:

rub a wooden bowl with a nice clove of garlic
add egg yolk, lemon juice, dijon, dash worchestershire, chopped anchovy
whisk like the devil slowly adding olive oil
toss with romaine hearts, reggiano and croutons
top with more cheese and some chopped flat leaf parsley

Easier said than done. Just because you should see the hassle of pushing one cart around a crowded dining room, constant plumes of Gran Marnier flames licking the ceiling...whoooosh!!!

We have one two tier dessert cart with an attached cake stand (actually making it three tiers, duh) Which except for it's ugly outdated appearance is doing just fine.
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
post #15 of 21
Cool dude! Can't wait tell you post pics of of it.

As for the made from scratch ceaser, they do a good one at the Zuni Cafe in San Fran (way out of your way I know) I think Judi Rogers put it in her book. I'll take a look tomorrow and post the basics.
post #16 of 21
That's exactly how caesar is done. You gotta mash the anchovy though with a fork.

For a nice fireworks display when doing your bananas foster, use the ground cinnamon like magic dust. It lights up, crackles and pops and all that. Pretty cool. :D

Man what a lost art. And to think our parents took it for granted.
post #17 of 21
more and more I'm seeing frico added to caesar...
One cart? and if you have multiple tableside meals at one table.....+ 80 seats
.....
love cooking dim sum carts. There is just something to cooking in front of someone.....the theatrics.

a visual on desserts probably pushes the fence sitter over the side.
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

80 seats?

Did I say 80 seats? I think we can seat about 65 but never at once. Since I've been there (two months) we broke 90 covers in a night once most busy shifts being from 65-85 people. Our dinners can be long drawn out experiences, each guest getting cocktails, water, amuse, and bread service all BEFORE they ever see a menu. Then 99% of all our guests order a first course so most tables are reserved in two hour slots. For Bastille Day we did a five course tasting and they were all scared sh*t but it went off without a hitch.
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
post #19 of 21
when everyone is eating the same thing it usually easier on the kitchen....if you have extra tables/space for plating.
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Problem is, we also offered a less expensive three course menu at the same time. So you'd have a six top with 4 three course and 2 five course on it. And to make it worse, if someone complained enough, the maitre d' would let them order off the regular menu! It was actually hardest on me expediting i think.
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
post #21 of 21
yep, I believe it. I know of restaurants that have a policy of everyone at the table having the tasting menu or none.
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Anyone else doing classic cart service?