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Please critique My Restaurant Idea, Menu, Example Recipes  

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 

This is what I want to open one day. I currently work as a line cook and working on this controls my obsessiveness.


I do not want to provide details of menu items on the menu, I expect my serves to know exactly what is in each dish and provide details upon request.


Daily I will offer two specials. A seafood dish Fresh!, and a individual casserole.


Examples are Halibut topped with super lump crabmeat with a brown butter sauce. Sell the fish!


Also, a Lobster Mac and cheese casserole or a shepard's pie.


Check out the menu and a appetizer and entree recipe and let me know what you think.


Eventually I'll write a lunch menu,...




Tomato, Large 4.00 ea
Basil 1.00 bu
Olive Oil, Extra Virgin 6.00 floz
Garlic Cloves 5.00 ea
Vinegar, Balsamic 1.00 pt
Shallots 2.00 ea
Salt, Kosher 1.00 T
Baguette, French 1.00 ea
Butter, Salted 0.25 C
Pecorino Cheese 3.00 T


Reduce balsamic vinegar to light nappe
De core and Small Dice ( ¼ in) tomatoes
Blend ½ basil with  ½ evoo and bring to boil
Chiffanade remaining basil
Roast garlic with remaining evoo and blend
Brunoise shallots
Slice baguette (1/3 in)
Melt butter
Toast baguette slices with melted butter brushed
Combine diced tomatoes, ciffanade basil, evoo with garlic and basil, brunioise shallots, and salt

Broil to hot French baguette, lay out on hot plate, top with tomato mix, glaze with lines of balsamic glaze, grate pecorino cheese: sell


Pork Chop


French Cut Pork Chop 12.00 ea
Apples, Gala 12.00 ea
Bleu Cheese Crumbles 1.00 pt
Blackberries 1.00 pt
Sugar 0.50 C
Blended Oil 6.00 floz
Salt, Kosher 3.00 floz
Pepper, Black 1.00 floz
Rice, Medium Grain 4.00 c
Sazon Pork 2.00 pk
Chicken Boullion 2.00 pk
Herbs de Provence 2.00 T
Haricot Verts 3.00 #
Butter 0.50 #



Peel, Medium Dice Apples, Saute on high heat in Melted Butter until golden brown, Take off heat and add in bleu cheese crumbles, toss and let cool.
Season pork chops with oil, s+p. Grill burn marks into both sides of pork chop, not cooking through. Let cool
Butterfly pork chops and fill with apple cheese mixture
Boil 2 parts rice to one part water, sazon, boullion, and herbs de provence for 16 min. hold for service
Blend blackberries with 2oz water, strain through chinois, add sugar, bring to a simmer, hold for service
Steam Haricot verts to al dente and let cool
Service: Put pork chop in convection oven at 385 for 15 minutes, sauté haricot verts in butter.
Plating. 4 oz ramakin of rice turned at 10 o clock, 4 oz serving of haricot verts diaganol at 2 o clock
Pork chop laid on top bone out, sauce over bottom half of pork chop.
post #2 of 81

What is the reasoning behind not providing full details of the dish?


Menu looks fine, could be a hit depending on where you are and who you are cooking for, what your prices are, etc. 


I would leave off the balsamic glaze though, shit was over like 10+ years ago. 

post #3 of 81
I wouldn't be attracted in either a bar or restaurant. Too much "mix and match" within each category and too much confusion with the "fluff" words. I'm not drawn into the menu in a good way. If better focused with better descriptions, maybe. But I got stuck on the cheesesteak spring rolls and balsamic drizzle - gag. And totally distracted by the Mexico City Ceaser salad. I believe Ceaser Salad is from Tijuana. Good luck with your project!
post #4 of 81
Oh, and it intending to be too critical, but are you sure about the 2 parts rice to 1 part water ratio for medium grain rice?
post #5 of 81

Hey Chefslug, I'm thinking your in upper state NY, New England or over the boarder in Canada. There's nothing bad about the menu but I do see ideas of the past. I remember when everyone had Shrimp cocktail on the menu. I haven't seen Veal Marsala on the menu in years, I had it on mine in the 80's. I see you also have pirogues on the menu that would show a polish oriented area. I also see "Maple" as the name meaning that maple syrup may be big in that area. If Maple is big in that area then maybe a Maple glazed double cut pork chop or a maple glazed cedar plank salmon. Chefs have a way of wanting to always make it their own ideas of what goes on menus. We need to think we know it all and are the best judge of what our customers like. I really don't have any problem with taking any and all of someone else's ideas and methods of cooking and making it my own. Look on Yelp at Mustards cafe in Napa Valley they have a pork chop that is second to none. Free range is also another item on everyones menu. Grass fed is the old Pasture raised that lets you throw a few more bucks on the item and makes everyone feel like their saving the world. Give each item on your menu a lot of thought on how the dish, when served to the customer, will make them say "WOW"!!!!! .......Like I said there's nothing wrong with your menu, you know your area best. I commend you for putting the menu out there to poke at it. A good chef will take constructive comments so as to make their restaurant the best..........ChefBill

post #6 of 81

Would you yourself be drawn in by this menu if you saw it on the restaurant website?


Does it reflect the style of the restaurant?  Is it a bar, fine dining, bistro?  I can't tell.


What kind of pricing are we talking about here?  Does it say cheap, medium, very expensive?  (see point above)


What is the style of the food?  Am I intrigued with the whole thing or are there just one or two things which pop out and the others just blah?

post #7 of 81
Thread Starter 

ok balsamic glaze is off the bruschetta


no descriptions on the items was intended to create a back in forth between server and customer


cheesesteak spring rolls are a staple of upscale dining in philadelphia nj shore region


brian shaw thanks for pointing out the type it's two parts water one part rice


switching over the pecan salmon from honey coated to maple syrup coated, and maple dijon dressing


upscale casual restaurant experience focus on customers and quality medium to medium high price point


won't know til i fill out the costing sheets though.


kuan i decided to add descriptions based on views on a website, they will want to know ingredients before entering

post #8 of 81

Having no descriptions on the menu might lead to a lot of problems. You are depending on your guests to ask questions. It's all well and good to want to try and facilitate dialogue between servers and customers, but you are assuming that the guests will ask the appropriate questions. You'll also have allergies, "allergies," food preferences, etc to deal with. Again, all dependent upon guests asking questions. 


There are other ways to have dialogue with customers while still giving them the info they need/want to order food. 


You are taking a concept reserved for captain/backwaiter/michelin restaurant and forcing into a style of dining that doesn't need nor warrant that type of stuff. Eleven Madison Park does it because they are using exotic ingredients, and also the server explains each course as it is presented, making the need for over description null. 


I'm also presuming that you won't be using ingredients that most customers haven't heard of (I mean, if you are putting crosnes or bottarga on your philly cheesesteak egg rolls, I stand corrected). But I'm assuming that 99% of the things you are using are ubiquitous and probably standard, so again, why the secret?


There is a difference between being minimalist for artistic sake (again, like at EMP or Per Se) and being pretentious and trying to force some ideal into a format where it doesn't belong. 




Glad you are going to take the balsamic glaze off. Good decision. 


If everyone already does Philly Cheesesteak Rolls, why are you? What can you do to be different? Better?

post #9 of 81
Originally Posted by ChefSlug View Post



no descriptions on the items was intended to create a back in forth between server and customer



I know I'm not alone ... as a customer I don't want to have to ask too many questions, nor am I comfortable having to have too much discussion with the server. Too many times I feel like I'm getting a telemarketer-style sales pitch when most of the menu/price information is blabber from a server. I want to understand a menu by reading it, save a few questions about preference/allergies, and I certainly don't want a server to be intruding too much on my dining time, which is how I feel when I spend more time talking to a server trying to order than talking to my wife. I HATE trying to have a discussion about weird menu items or outrageous prices with a server being the third wheel in the conversation. Too much intrusion and too much pressure. Menus that leave too much to the imagination are at the type of restaurants that I glance a menu and move on to another place, and in one situation just apologized and left after being seated.

post #10 of 81

Not to mention slow service if the waiter has to spend 10 minutes at a table answering questions and describing everything while taking the order....

post #11 of 81

... and if I can make one more comment. Please don't think of me as a jerk. But one of my dislikes of the menu is the pretention and errors. Most folks knows what a Waldorf Salad is (and it was originally from the Waldorf Hotel, not Waldorf Astoria... which didn't exist back in those days() but why "blue" instead of "blue cheese"?  Similar with Caesar Salad - technically it is originally from Tijuana but what does that matter? If I see company or places of origin, I'd rather they be related to the food product I'm about to eat, not the origin of the recipe.

post #12 of 81

You might want to think about offering one soup always on the menu, and have the second soup be soup of the day or seasonal. It would be a way of making the menu more seasonal. People always like asparagus soup in spring, butternut squash in the fall, French onion in winter. Or you could open with the two soups you list and see which is the better seller, and replace the one that sells less well with a seasonal or soup of the day option. Personally, I was drawn to the seafood bisque as one of the menu options that most interested me. 


I like your idea of a daily seafood special and daily casserole. 


I tend to agree with the others about having more info on the menu. Also I think I'd just say "garden salad." Garden spring salad in October would seem a bit odd. 


If it's veal marsala you're intending, there's a typo (missing r). Reading "masala" I assumed it was an Indian fusion treatment which sounded interesting but puzzling with (a) veal and (b) egg noodles. 


The menu strikes me as a bit light on vegetarian options (and nothing vegan, as far as I can tell, not even the bruschetta) which may not be a problem depending on your location and intended market. You're going to need killer tomatoes for the bruschetta, otherwise they're just sad. Also, I think I'd leave off "baguette". People know what crostini are and baguette just confuses the issue. Are we in France or Italy? 


The vegetarian entree you do have is an interesting choice and much more appealing than the usual default pasta primavera! Braised red cabbage would be a good accompaniment and add color. BTW, I've usually seen it spelled pirogi, but that may just be a regional thing, although "pirogue" seems to be a kind of boat (at least according to google!) 


Best of luck with your venture! 

post #13 of 81

Dated or not man, I like balsamic glaze on my bruschetta!:o

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
post #14 of 81
Or instead of bruschetta do a take on it like melted cheese in crostini and top with shredded buffalo chicken or bacon, shredded lettuce and small diced tomato
post #15 of 81
Thread Starter 

Updated the Menu with a few additions and changes, next revision i'll include descriptions...


post #16 of 81
Thread Starter 


post #17 of 81

Your food cost is very high.  These days we do more with less.

post #18 of 81

My head spins looking at these menus you are all over the place, am I at TGI McFunsters or at some time warp wannabe maybe fine dining????? I don't want to have to spend ten minutes with a server explaining the menu to me. I'm more of a visual guy, you know like with playboy, I want to see the descriptions not hear about them.


This looks like something that I had to do as a practical in school. Create a fictional restaurant along with menu and food costs. When you have a fictional restaurant, you only need fictional money and customers, there is nothing to loose. If you are serious about opening something one day you seriously need to do some homework or you will flush everything that was put into it within the first year.

It's ok to dream, Sharpen your pencil, learn what's really going on in food today, read menus, eat out, take a good hard look at what it is that you actually want, is it  pizza, hoagie place, fine dining, bar & grill, Italian?


You proposed the same question to the group a few years ago, does not look like you have progressed much since then.


http://www.cheftalk.com/t/77251/menu-feedback    I could get most of this at any corporate happy hour or chain.


Please do not copy any menus created here for professional gain without contacting posters.  I got a laugh out of this!

post #19 of 81

Not to sound overly critical, as I see a few items on your menu that I find interesting, but for the most part, this menu reads like it came from 25-30 years ago.  If you are going to go old-school then it needs to be old school all the way or go more contemporary with just a bit of old school splash.  Right now the menu is all over the place.  As a chef I read this menu, and my immediate thought is this is the menu of a chef that has had the same menu for years and years, and now, because of dwindling clientele is trying to do some updates to the menu but is in over his head. The look of the menu itself, with its font and colors, screams out dated (read old and tired).



I do see some really good flavor combinations in the menu, but I just think that they need to be presented slightly differently to appeal to modern tastes.  Update the wording and streamline some of the items.  Take for example your Santa Fe Grilled Chicken Breast.  It sounds like something I'd find on a menu at Holiday Inn.  Update it to:


Southwestern Chicken Breast

Marinated with Three Chiles then Grilled and served with Pico de Gallo and Black Beans and Rice

post #20 of 81

Its better than the first one you posted, and I like that you added descriptions. 


I think it is WAY to big though, especially for a 60 seater. Your kitchen won't be very big, and your cooks (what, 2? 3? Including you, or not?) will be hard pressed to keep up. I think you could easily trim it down about 40%, if not more. With a menu that big, you are gonna be buying a LOT of food. Not to mention prepping and storing it too. 


Also, be wary of saying things like "Tijuana" Caesar Salad. Does this imply that you are going to be beholden to the original Caesar, prepared tableside sans anchovies, etc? Or are you doing the ubiquitous modern version. Just something to think about, but it might be adding un-needed expectations. 


Maybe say "pastured" instead of free range on the beef. Free range sounds odd to me, not even sure why. At least in the context of beef.


It is very old school. Not anything wrong with that, per se, but you might have trouble attracting a younger clientele. Who knows.

post #21 of 81

With respect and not to bust your bubble....As a consultant, you lost me at "I'm a line cook and want to open a restuarant" Do you have any other culinary skills other than being a line cook putting dishes you have cooked in the past on a piece of paper? Do you have any management skills? Do you understand what it takes just to open a restaurant? You could have the most awesome, unique menu in the world, but if you don't understand what it takes to have the restaurant to showcase that menu..well I think you know where I'm going with this. 

I ask a lot of people if they know what a resume is. Of course I get the professional definitions 5 miles long blah blah blah....It's simple, A resume is "Screwing up at someone elses expense!!" LOL. Move beyond the line cook, get into a Jr. Sous chef position and try your menu out as someone else's expense. Take a few business course and understand how you'll keep that dream of yours up an running.

As far as critiquing your menu....from the perspective of a chef consultant, I'd tear it apart on so many levels. but if you want an honest opinion, I'd be happy to tell you in Private. It's a dream of yours, I commend you for having that dream, but you need to deal with the reality of the world. This business has a bazillion critics and Foodies who are heartless when it comes to peoples dreams. You need someone to set you on the right course, not a bunch of folks making you feel good telling you all the things you want to hear. Just sayin'

post #22 of 81

I think the comments already given have a tremendous amount of good suggestions. Descriptions of the menu item and its preparation are fundamental to their appeal. A good menu is the chance to beat one’s own drum.

Louisiana White Gulf Day Boat Shrimp with garlic butter, capers, served with capellini, and Bloomsdale spinach

Italian wedding soup may be known to many dinners, but others are going to have to be embarrassed to ask or simply skip it.

Bruschetta, from the Italian word "bruscare" means roast over coals while Crostini are baked in the oven. If I were going to offer Bruschetta, I would use Italian bread not French, olive oil, not butter.

The millennial reading the menu will not know what a Waldorf salad and Blue cheese was not an ingredient.

Instead of “French Cut” Pork Chops, I think “Center Cut Pork Loin” Chops is more descriptive.

The comment about rotating the soup of the day is a good suggestion from onlinealterego.

The menu items might consider including American’s favorites. A hamburger is still the number one ordered item in America. New England Clam Chowder has a huge following. Why Montreal Rib eye not say Omaha, Kansas City, Niemen Ranch?

Fundamentally, there seems to be no underlying theme to the restaurant’s menu. I would recommend that you reduce the number of items offered. This will force you to choose only that which you can “master”.

Do you envision people wanting to bring their children? Consider adding a children’s menu.

What about desserts?

I judge a restaurant on their bread and if they have one or two menu items that I do not normally cook at home; so, I especially like the Lobster Macaroni and Cheese on your menu. Caesar salad is rather dated, look to offering a Puntarelle Roman Salad with anchovy mustard dressing.






post #23 of 81
As to descriptions, descriptions sell food, whether they are printed or spoken, they are the most important sales tool any chef has, and printed descriptions can share a lot more information, more consistently than servers.

Great servers will guide guests where you want them to go, and add a lot of value to the experience, but if they are stuck at each table explaining every item on the menu, they aren't selling drinks, greeting new guests, clearing plates, filling waters, picking up orders when they're ready, or helping out other servers.

All that means you need more servers to serve less people and you have to pay them more to do it. It also means the ordering process will be greatly slowed and you'll turn tables slower which limits sales and requires higher prices to overcome, making you less competitive.

Menu descriptions are very important.

Brandon O'Dell


Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service


O'Dell Restaurant Consulting



Brandon O'Dell


Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service


O'Dell Restaurant Consulting



post #24 of 81

There was a period of time, in the late 90's and beyond where it was trendy for some places to not give any descriptions at all.  Thus menus read:


Tuna  Wasabi

Ribeye  Pommes Frites

Swordfish  White Beans


As a guest I hated that trend.  I want to know what I am getting on my plate.  I don't need every item put in the description but I want a good idea of what I am going to get.  As a server I hated it even more as I had to spend way too much time at the table describing the items and answering questions.  It took way too long and slowed down my service.

post #25 of 81

Pretty soon they will get rid of servers and have iPads at every table that will give you a visual and audio description of everything and you'll order right from the iPad. There will be a bunch of runners running around and they will be dubbed Gophers...lol........

post #26 of 81

Boy, I have far too many questions before I can offer much in the way of a constructive critique. A few thoughts though, I would probably add a textural note such as walnuts to the stuffing for the pork chop.


While I am on the subject of walnuts, they would probably work better than pecans on the salmon. Maple syrup is sweet and so are pecans. Walnuts (while sweet as well) are able to provide an astringent counterpoint to the maple syrup due to the tannins present in them. As to the sauce, including maple syrup in it, after using it to coat the salmon, seems like a bit of overkill on the flavor and sweetness factor. A madiera whole grain mustard sauce would work well. I suggest whole grain as opposed to the dijon because of the textural aspect. Nothing wrong with garlic mashed potatoes, but sweet potatoes would take the dish up a notch in flavor pairing


On the veal dish, masala is an East Indian spice mix, I assume you mean marsala wine. Also along these lines, there is no i in mignon, not trying to be a wise guy, but small things matter when writing a menu.


Portobello mushrooms have a real earthy and meaty flavor profile and to my mind would overwhelm the crab.


The Santa Fe chicken has an abundance of starch...refried beans, black beans, corn, and rice are all starchy in content.


That is about all of my input for now, I could possibly give more with more menu descriptions.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
post #27 of 81
 On the veal dish, masala is an East Indian spice mix, I assume you mean marsala wine. Also along these lines, there is no i in mignon, not trying to be a wise guy, but small things matter when writing a menu.


Good catch!  I totally missed that!

post #28 of 81
Originally Posted by Justa Chef View Post

Pretty soon they will get rid of servers and have iPads at every table that will give you a visual and audio description of everything and you'll order right from the iPad. There will be a bunch of runners running around and they will be dubbed Gophers...lol........

@Justa Chef I have to agree and chuckle at your statement. I think the Gophers will also have back Gophers called Tenders who will parade the animals. tanks, and a cubicle gardens down the isle, past you for your viewing pleasure. Not to see what piece of each you might be getting. No that's time consuming, but to see what the ingredients of your' meal shake' or 'meal pill ' are made out of. Society is becoming so fast and furious, convenience is the answer. Instead of slowing down and having someone suprise you with a good meal, it more convenient to go fast food, junk, pizza, shakes, bars, etc. food delivered to your home, portioned with directions, pre-made meals delivered, etc.

   I'm hanging in the old fashioned way, but never 100% satisfied when I dine out. I only pray the Millennials will bring this industry back to it's senses.;)

post #29 of 81

You should center justify.

post #30 of 81

lol...soon the old fashioned love we have will only be served at Baseball games at that pace if you understand where I'm coming from...LOL

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