Tag Archives: restaurants

The Best in the Biz: How does your Restaurant Stack Up?

The results are in: TripAdvisor has recently come out with their list of the 25 Best US Fine Dining Restaurants in 2015, and we at Chef Uniforms wanted to share them here on our blog. How does your restaurant stack up against the best in the country?

25) Rasika – Washington DC

Known for their Modern Indian Cuisine, Wine Cellar and Modern Lounge, Rasika is a must for tourists and locals alike.

Rasika

24) Joël Robuchon Restaurant – Las Vegas, NV

Located in the MGM Grand, this French favorite is the only Three Michelin Star and AAA Five Diamond restaurant in Las Vegas.

Joël Robuchon Restaurant

23) The River Café – Brooklyn, New York

Nestled under the Brooklyn Bridge with gorgeous views of the Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline, this “New American” restaurant is truly one of a kind.

The River Café

22) Kokkari Estiatorio – San Francisco, CA

Kokkari is known for its authentic Greek cuisine, which has been modernized with innovative blends and techniques. If you absolutely loved the food, you can purchase their cookbook for just $40.

Kokkari Estiatorio

21) Butcher & the Boar – Minneapolis, MN

Whether you sit in the bar, dining room, or 5,000 square foot beer garden, you are sure to have the experience of a lifetime at this restauarant. What started simply as a place to enjoy great American craft food, bourbon and beer, has become one of the top restaurants in the entire country in just 3 years.

Butcher & the Boar

20) Bavettes Bar & Boeuf – Chicago, IL

Not your average Steakhouse! A fun blend of French flair and hip hangout, Bavette’s is the perfect place to lose a few hours eating delicious food and listening to some great music.

Bavettes Bar & Boeuf

19) Girl & the Goat – Chicago, IL

Known for their family style menu of bold flavors that’ll knock your socks off, and a fun, yet homey environment, Girl & the Goat is an absolute must.

Girl & the Goat

18) Per Se – New York City, NY

This is Thomas Keller’s New York interpretation of The French Laundry, and with views of both Central Park and Columbus Circle, it’s a must-visit if you’re in the area. Even if you aren’t – it’s worth the trip.

Per Se

17) Colicchio & Sons – New York City, NY

A pioneer of New York’s farm-to-table movement, this restaurant is known for inventive techniques and creations, taking old styles and making something new (much like the High Line, which is just outside its doors).

Colicchio & Sons

16) The French Laundry – Yountville, CA

A staple of Napa Valley, The French Laundry was renovated from a rustic two-story stone cottage back in the 90’s. The menu changes daily, and the staff prides themselves on perfect service to their guests.

The French Laundry

15) Lahaina Grill – Lahaina, HI

If you are visiting Hawaii in the near future, we highly recommend visiting the Lahaina Grill. With its New American Cuisine with Hawaiian and Pacific flavors and its Contemporary Bistro setting, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a night on the island.

Lahaina Grill

14) Mama’s Fish House – Paia, HI

Don’t leave Hawaii without visiting this one! Enjoy Hawaiian and Polynesian flavors, and then stay at Mama’s Inn for the night!

Mama’s Fish House

13) Circa 1886 – Charleston, SC

For a unique dining experience, this is another one you just can’t miss. Guests are made to feel like part of the family, while dining on gourmet dishes with bright, bold flavors.

Circa 1886

12) Eleven Madison Park – New York City, NY

With a seasonal tasting menu focused on local ingredients, each meal consists of 12-15 courses. This one is well worth the $225 per person charge.

Eleven Madison Park

11) Restaurant Gary Danko – San Francisco, California

It is said that Gary Danko uses his ingredients in such a way that his dishes lack nothing. He is meticulous in his style and methods, and it shows in presentation as well as taste.

Restaurant Gary Danko

10) Pappas Bros. Steakhouse – Houston, TX

Impeccable attention to detail and high quality ingredients, Pappas Bros. is one Steakhouse you truly must visit. Their dry-aging process of their meat is the secret to their success.

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

9) Daniel – New York City, NY

Contemporary French cuisine, along with a welcoming bar and lounge attract patrons from all over the world to this restaurant. It’s no wonder it’s found itself among the top 10 on this list.

Daniel

8) Chez Panisse – Berkeley, CA

Chez Panisse opened in 1971 as a neighborhood bistro, and soon became a huge success. In 1980, the Café at Chez Panisse opened just upstairs, offering an alternative menu from the restaurant below. In either case, you’ll find organic, locally grown food that is out of this world.

Chez Panisse

7) Canlis – Seattle, WA

The staff truly treats every day as a special occasion for their patrons. The brightly colored, delectable dishes bring in customers from far and wide.

Canlis

6) Victoria & Albert’s – Orlando, FL

Located in the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort, Victoria & Albert’s offers more than just American cuisine. Prepare to enter an era when dining was an elegant adventure, and enjoy one of the best meals of your life.

Victoria & Albert's

5) Halls Chophouse – Charleston, SC

A premier American steakhouse, Halls uses only the finest and freshest USDA prime meats. Nightly live music helps make this meal even more memorable.

Halls Chophouse

4) Uchi – Austin, TX

An excellent combination of local seasonal ingredients and contemporary Japanese cuisine, Uchi offers a very unique dining experience while maintaining sustainability with their entire menu.

Uchi

3) Le Bernardin – New York City, NY

Just three months after opening its doors, Le Bernardin earned 4 stars from The New York Times in 1986. Its Parisian style and perfectly presented dishes have earned it the #3 spot on this list.

Le Bernardin

2) Alinea – Chicago, IL

This restaurant has been praised the world over for its innovative dishes and amazing service. The staff pride themselves on creating an unforgettable experience when dining at Alinea.

Alinea

1) Bouley – New York City, NY

Finally, we arrive at the top restaurant in the US, according to TripAdvisor, Bouley. Located in Tribeca near the southern end of Manhattan, Bouley caters to both locals and tourists alike. Bouley is all about fresh, pure ingredients, flavorful and healthy French cuisine. Dining at this particular restaurant is more than dining. It’s an experience, and that’s why Bouley has earned the #1 spot this year.

Bouley

Have you visited any of these restaurants listed above? How accurate do you think TripAdvisor’s list is?

How to put the iPad to work for your Restaurant!

Is it just me or is it pretty crazy how quickly technology is growing?  I mean, I feel like it was yesterday the iPhone 2 was out, and now what number are we on? I think I’ve seen signs of the iPhone 5 on the web, just saying.  Honestly, it’s amazing hiPad P.O.S. Systemow tech-savvy this country is getting. It’s even reached the point where iPads are being used in restaurants to take and view orders. In fact, this new point-of-sale system is so fast that the chefs have the orders in front of them before the server has even left the table. Waiters don’t have to rush back and forth asking “what’s in this dish?” The recipe is right there in their hands.  Good-bye impatient and hungry customers, hello efficiently satisfied bellies.

iPad restaurant menuNot convinced yet that this technology will be useful in your restaurant? With an iPad you can give your customers their own tablets to view a wine list or the full menu.  Plus, you can let them choose for themselves what they’d like to eat and drink.  You can virtually put the ordering process into your customers’ hands, and let them take control. Now we’re cookin!

Let’s look at it from a payment perspective.  How much do you hate it when you’re trying to get out of a restaurant, and the server is taking what feels like an eternity with your bill? Use an iPad and they’ve got the bill right there, not to mention you can even charge your card, table-side. Talk about stream-lining the process and taking “going green” to the next level!

To keep this techie-talk going, let’s discuss mobile apps.  Mobile apps haveUrbanspoon App for iPhone, iPad, Android also changed the way we go out to eat. We no longer have to sit around and say “where should we go tonight?” Now, all we have to do is tap the app, and it’ll tell us where to go, what type of food to order, and how much to pay. Apps like Urbanspoon, Where?, Around Me, Yelp, and Foodcaching all have this ability. They can even pull up a map to the restaurant and the phone number in case you need to make a reservation. And you can read reviews of the restaurant, in case you aren’t so sure about it.

iPads, mobile phones, applications…I’m curious to find out what will come out next and how we can use it to continually facilitate the out-to-eat experience.

An Interview with Holger Strütt, Executive Chef, Chops Lobster Bar, Boca Raton, FL

Recipe Below: Filet Au Poivre 8 Servings

Presented by: Chefuniforms.com

Chef Holger Strütt’s career spans three continents and many countries, all bringing him to a high level of culinary excellence, applied at Chops Lobster Bar in Boca Raton, Florida. In his native Germany, he made his first strides to a career in the kitchen at the young age of 15, when he decided to pursue vocational training in the culinary arts. His impressive resume includes positions in Germany, Italy and Switzerland, where he perfected the finer points of regional European cuisine. Chef Holger believes in perseverance, consistency, attention to detail and leadership by example. He thrives on the pressure of a busy kitchen and he knows that working at the helm of Chops Lobster Bar’s kitchen is always an exhilarating experience. He has an intense hands-on approach to managing his kitchen and enjoys working with the talented chefs of south Florida. I had a chance to catch up with Holger to ask him about his experiences as an Executive Chef and wanted to share this with you. I invite your comments.

Why did you want to become a chef? My sister worked in a restaurant and introduced me to the business. I was 15 when I had to decide what I wanted to do in life.

What education would you recommend for aspiring chefs? Definitely go to Culinary School and after that go and spend some time in Europe, Germany, France, Switzerland or Austria to learn the basics and the European way of cooking.

What do you recommend for on job training? Don’t be shy of spending 12 hours a day in the kitchen and work closely with the chefs. Get as much input as you can while you’re in the beginning stages of your culinary career.

What is your greatest challenge in getting the ingredients you need? I am very fortunate to work with the best purveyors in the country. Sometimes it takes a little longer for products to get to Florida.

Has the price of energy affected your industry? Absolutely. You have to be very cautious with when you turn your equipment on and off. Power and water are not cheap.

I know that previously you were a chef in Northeast and now you are in South Florida, are their differences in dining trends including types of food? Of course. In New York you find every kind of cuisine and the quality is very high. It is very difficult to find some ethnic foods here in south Florida.

Do you see any dining trends surfacing for the future? I believe that Classic dishes are going to come back very strong. Traditional food like Crab Cakes, Beef Wellington and Dover Sole always are favorites and that will not change.

How much of the recipes are Chops corporate and how much is your own? Many of the signature dishes are from the restaurants in Atlanta. I also developed many recipes with the owner and his son. I also do a lot of specials. When the specials become popular and the owner likes it then we might put them on the menu.

What fabric and style of uniform do you enjoy wearing most? I prefer Egyptian cotton and recently started to like short sleeve jackets.

What is your method of developing your sous chefs? I like for them to spend as much time with me as possible and pay attention to what I do during the day. You learn a lot by listening and observing and by being in the kitchen, not at home. We have a job that demands a lot of time being at the restaurant. But if you work hard, the profession of a chef can be a lot of fun and very rewarding in many different ways.

Do you try to create a team spirit and environment with the kitchen staff? If so how do you accomplish it? You have many different characters in the kitchen and most of them need a different management style. We spend a lot of time together in the kitchen, so it is important to have fun, but never forget why we are here. We have to produce quality food and make sure that our guests leave happy. I have a young team and I believe in teamwork. Teamwork is the key for a good spirit in the kitchen.

When preparing your menu do you consider health and try to prepare foods that are healthier? You always have to have both; Healthy food and then hearty food which is not so healthy. In Chops Lobster Bar, I have many health oriented people that like light food, so some of my fish dishes are very healthy in comparison to my meat dishes that are mostly steaks or braised meats.

Do you notice any resistance to unhealthy dishes? Yes. Many of our guests don’t like too much butter or any kind of fat.

Do you enjoy dining out in your free time? Yes I do. I like to try new restaurants. There are also some restaurants where I like to go on a regular basis.

Do you try to experience the food at your competitors? Do you ever get ideas from competitors? Not really. I like to cook food that I like and my guests like to eat. I go to the competitors for dinner, but don’t steal recipes. Although, you might get ideas you can work with.

Do you think it is important to visit the markets rather than just have standard orders? I am sure if you go to the market you see things that you would like to cook rather than just ordering the food. Not too many chefs’ though have the luxury of time to drive to the fish or produce market every day. My purveyors have such a large variety of things that I don’t really need to go to the market.

How do you test a new recipe without putting it on the permanent menu? I try it as a special for a couple of weeks and then take it off. If people keep asking for it I will bring it back and after discussing it with the owner it may appear on the menu.

Do you pick the wines or is there a separate beverage manager? We have a Beverage Manager, although I love good wines.

If so does he try to pick wines that work well with the type of food that chops is known for? Yes, he tries to pick wines that work well with Steaks and Seafood.

What is your advice for planning a menu for a new restaurant? You have to consider what the majority of people want to eat. It can be different from State to State and City to City. Make sure that the food is tasty and not too wild. Don’t go crazy putting too many ingredients on the plate. Keep it simple!

As a special surprise, Chef Holger offered up one of his recipes that will be sure to make your mouth water and your taste buds tingle. Let me know how it comes out.

Filet Au Poivre 8 Servings

  • 8 each Filet Mignon (8 ounces each)
  • 4 tablespoons ounces vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • 1 cup cracked peppercorns (black, white and green)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sliced Portobello mushrooms (see recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons chives finely cut
  • 8 port wine shallots (see recipe)
  • 2 cups peppercorn sauce (see recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons green peppercorns (canned)
  • I cup port wine glaze (see recipe)
  • Brush the steaks with the vegetable oil and season both sides with the salt. Crust the filets with the cracked peppercorns on one side. Heat up 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a sauté pan and sear the steaks on both sides. Place the steaks on a baking pan and put them in a pre- heated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes (medium rare).
  • Place the butter in a pan with the Portobello mushrooms. Garnish with the shallots and chives.
  • Pour 2 ounces of peppercorn sauce in the middle of a plate and place the filet mignon in the middle of the plate. Place the Portobello mushroom on top of the filet and a port wine shallot on top of the mushrooms. Poor one tablespoon on port wine glaze over the shallot.
  • Garnish the sauce with the canned green peppercorns and the port wine shallot with some chives.

 

 

Recipe for Portobello Mushrooms:

  • 1 pound Portobello mushrooms (stems removed)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ cup garlic cloves, halved
  • Drizzle half of the oil in a sauté pan and place the Portobello mushroom topside down. Garnish with the thyme and garlic. Drizzle the other half of the oil on the Portobello mushrooms and place in a pre-heated 400 degrees oven for about 8 minutes or until tender.

 

Recipe for Port Wine Shallots:

  • 2 cups port wine
  • 2 cups red wine
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 8 shallots, peeled, whole
  • Poor the wines and the sugar in a narrow sauce pot and reduce half way. Add the shallots and cook for 15 minutes or until tender.

 

Recipe for Peppercorn Sauce:

First Stage:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 each shallots, sliced
  • 8 each garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 3 twigs fresh thyme
  • 1 each bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon green peppercorns, dry
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Second Stage:

  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1tablespoon whole green peppercorns, dry, freshly ground
  • 2 quarts veal stock, (available in any supermarket)
  • 1quarts heavy cream
  • Pour the oil into a sauce pot and bring to the first smoke point.
  • Add the mushrooms, shallots, garlic, thyme, bay leave and whole peppercorns and cook until slightly caramelized.
  • Season with the salt.
  • Deglaze with the brandy and reduce until dry.
  • Add the ground peppercorns and veal stock and reduce.
  • Reduce the sauce to a glaze.
  • Whisk in the heavy cream, bring to a boil, adjust the salt if necessary and strain through a fine strainer.

 

Recipe for Port Wine Glaze:

  • 1 cup port wine
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pound butter, room temperature, diced
  • Pour the wines and sugar in a narrow sauce pot and reduce at medium heat down to a quarter cup. Then pull the pot away from the heat to the edge of the stove. Whisk in the butter cubes in small amount until emulsified. Do not boil the sauce.

Bon Appetite!!

Visit Chops Lobster Bar Website for Dining Locations in Atlanta and Boca Raton
http://www.chopslobsterbar.com/

For reservations in Boca Raton, Fl, please call: 561-395-2675

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