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Restaurant Recipes

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Many times when I go out to a restaurant I'll eat things that I absolutely love and then try to recreate at home.

How do you feel about asking for the recipe at the restaurant? Do you think they would give it to me? How do I go about asking and who should I ask? Most often servers are a bit clueless and I'm sure the chefs are busy.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #2 of 14
Heres the only one I know ( its free to register ), the Bar B Barn baby back ribs are great, enjoy




Secret Recipes
post #3 of 14

If it's a chain...ala OG...TGIF...etc, then you might as well give up

"How do you feel about asking for the recipe at the restaurant? Do you think they would give it to me? How do I go about asking and who should I ask? Most often servers are a bit clueless and I'm sure the chefs are busy."

Most chain restaurants will not give it because it's an "...ancient Chinese Secret..." (old TV commercial for Calgon) You can usually find a clone at any of the clone recipe websites. If it's NOT, (mom and pop, celeb etc)...then THAT is where your palette comes it. You will just have to taste the dish very carefully and try to dissect anything familiar, (texture, crunch/lack of, smell, is it sweet is it sour, is there an acidic aftertaste, etc. Make notes at the table if you remembered to bring a small notebook that you use for JUST such occasions. Then...as soon as you can, get home and try to recreate the recipe. It may take several (hundred) tries before you get the taste "right". If you have a friend (i.e. SO etc) with you, get his/her opinion as to some of the flavours you may be missing or mislabeling.

That's probably the best test of a foodie or a chef. However, you have nothing to lose regarding asking the maitre d', manager or someone in charge in FOTH. The chefs don't have time, and the servers (as you stated) usually care less. Perhaps a letter (email or snail mail) the next day, complimenting the entree and asking politely for the recipe.

Good luck
Cantor Posner aka ChefBoyof Dees

"An Armed Society is a Polite Society"--Robert A Heinlein

"You either Do or Don't Do...There is no TRY" --Yodah
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Cantor Posner aka ChefBoyof Dees

"An Armed Society is a Polite Society"--Robert A Heinlein

"You either Do or Don't Do...There is no TRY" --Yodah
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post #4 of 14
You could also contact a food writer at your local or regional newspaper and ask him to request the recipe for publication.

The chef or owner might be so flattered (and eager for the free publicity) that he would be willing to part with a special recipe. It's worth a try!
Vera
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Vera
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post #5 of 14
Most times chefs are happy to part with a recipe or two. Of course, each and every chef has a few recipes that they like to "hold close" but beyond those, many are more than willing to part with recipes. Don't though expect to get it that night. Oftentimes we have to cut recipes down from serving anywhere from 25-100 to serving 4-8. So provide your email address or regular address and expect to wait a week or 2.
post #6 of 14
Engraved on every little boy's watchfob should be the words "you have to ask."

If you don't ask, you definately won't get the recipe. If you do ask, and the chef says "no" you are no worse off than you began.

I can only remember twice, since I was in my late teens, that I asked for a recipe as a private person and the request was denied. As others have said, don't expect the chef to stop what (s)he's doing to write it down for you (but, then again, they might if things are slow enough). But a polite request usually is honored---except those few times when, as Pete points out, they really are the Chef's pride and joy which aren't shared with anyone.

Nowadays, in a time of TV stardom and celebrity status, there might less willingness on the part of some chefs to share, particularly if the chef is working on a book. But, again, you don't know that unless you ask.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 14
Do what I go, get the chefs table in the kitchen, and after a bottle of wine....say...."so hey...what's in this anyway" :D haha. and STILL fail at making it.


haha actually, one of my favorite things to do is recreate a dish, but not from a fridays or such, I've succeeded a few times, and failed many more! haha.
post #8 of 14
Same here, lol

I can usually make out the ingrediants, but executing the dish is another story. :eek:
post #9 of 14
The menu often gives you a pretty good clue. Then order some to go. At home, you can work on the matching the sauce bit by bit or whatever it is.

I've done this with barbecue sauces a couple of times and come up with some good clones. And a few improvements of my own.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #10 of 14
Or you can analyse is with a gas chromatagraph mass spectrometor to find out exactly whats in it.
post #11 of 14
As a executive chef in many chain and private eateries I have never said no when time aloud. I love talking to customers and am always honored to talk about almost everything I make. Just ask. :smiles:
post #12 of 14
I have to agree. There were many times I was asked for things and was happy to provide it. Yet there are some (actually many), even through conversations here, that I still hold "close to the vest".
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
The recipe in question is at my favorite Cypriot restaurant. They make this leg of lamb called "Lamb Kleftiko" and on the menu it is described as roasting in the oven wrapped in parchment paper with vegetables. On the plate it is served in thin slices with the carrots and celery it is roasted with I presume, and lemon roasted potatoes.

Now do they roast it in individual portions, do they roast the whole lamb on its own, I can't figure it out. I'm trying to find an excuse to go again and I will gather the courage to ask them.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #14 of 14
I would definately ask.

Meanwhile, this might help. I can't find a reference to a Cypriot version of Kleftiko, but there are two in Dean and Catherine Karayanis' Regional Greek Cooking; one from Naxos and one from Rhodes.

In both cases, the dish is cooked in the form of individual servings. Both use cubed or small pieces of lamb, rather than slices.

The Naxos version is made in individual ramikins, while the one from Rhodes uses parchment paper (or foil as a substitute). There's no reason I can think of why slicing the meat instead of cubing it wouldn't work.

However, in Maro Duncan's Cooking The Greek Way there are two recipes for lamb cooked in paper (Arnaki Sto Harti); one of which uses a whole leg of lamb, the other uses individual portions.

So, at a guess, I would say the Cypriot version you had was prepared in larger portions, with the lamb in the parchment and the veggies roasted alongside, then the meat was sliced for individual service. More than likely they started with boned legs. In a restaurant environment it just makes more sense to do it that way. At home, on the other hand, I would probably make it in individual servings.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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