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桌邊烹飪:鮮為人知的美國傳統

Billy Lyons 2019年11月14日

桌邊烹制展示何以成為餐廳文化重要的一部分,它們的出現對就餐體驗有何影響?

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在Majorelle,服務員在桌邊現場烹制裹著大蒜和黃油的鴨腿。圖片來源:Courtesy of Majorelle
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餐廳的戲劇化表演形式多種多樣,但作為一種令人難忘的體驗,原創的桌邊烹制展示卻是日久彌新。我指的并不是那些在“生日聚會”上被迫即興發揮的服務人員,與此同時,一只蠟燭則從紙托蛋糕中悲慘地冒了出來。我所說的也不是那些盛大的表演,例如Swift and Sons的餐廳魔法師或迪士尼樂園50’s Prime Time Café的工作人員。我指的是人們在餐廳用餐的初衷:餐食。

盡管一些不怎么出名的桌邊烹制展示,例如Brennan’s 的Bananas Foster,已經紅遍全美,但人們對夜晚外出就餐的大部分回憶取決于某一項服務是否能夠取得成功。

然而,與一般的隨叫隨拿甜品推車或叫賣著“打擾您是想讓您知道這里的餐飲并沒有那么好”的夸張宣傳相比,難忘的桌邊備餐展示有何與眾不同之處?盡管如今有眾多的美食受到人們的追捧,但對于菜肴而言,真正能夠給人們留下深刻印象的關鍵元素在于簡單明了、高雅的幕后故事,以及服務員古怪、令人愉悅、熱情洋溢的說辭,用于解釋為什么人們在品嘗之后會留下難忘的回憶。

新鮮辣椒(但并非來自研磨機)

有這樣一幅畫面:一位成年人把手伸了過來,賣力地用尺寸滑稽的研磨機磨撒黑胡椒,直到你叫停為止。這已經成為了意式高級餐飲的代名詞。

The theatrics of the dining room come in many forms, but one timeless feature of a memorable experience is an original tableside presentation. I’m not talking about servers being forced to freestyle “Happy Birthday” while a sad candle sticks out from a cupcake. I’m also not referring to extravagant disruptions, like Swift and Sons’ in-house magician or everybody at Disney World’s 50’s Prime Time Café. I mean why we dine at a restaurant in the first place: the food.

Though some obscure tableside performances like the Bananas Foster at Brennan’s catch on across the country, a large majority of what we remember from our night out lives and dies with the success of one establishment.

But what makes a memorable tableside presentation stand out from the average point-and-pick dessert cart or an over-the-top gimmick that screams, “We’re distracting you because the food is not that good here”? Despite so many dishes being put in the spotlight these days, what unites the meals that are most memorable are a connection to simplicity, a tasty backstory, and the oddly delightful, enthusiastic speech from your server about why it is you’re never going to forget eating this.

Fresh pepper (but not from a grinder)

The sight of an adult reaching over a table and aggressively sprinkling black pepper from a comically sized grinder until you shout STOP is something that’s become synonymous with Italian-style fine dining.

桌邊的新鮮辣椒,搭配Antica Pesa的西紅柿腌肉意面。圖片來源:Courtesy of Antica Pesa
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然而,位于布魯克林的Antica Pesa的展示方式略有不同。該餐廳的聯合所有者洛倫佐·帕內拉解釋說:“餐廳會在桌邊擺放新鮮的辣椒,以定制意面的口味,而且我們的羅馬店面一直在提供這一服務。”所謂的新鮮辣椒,帕內拉指的是一碟擺在桌邊的Devil Finger辣椒、墨西哥辣椒和哈瓦那辣椒,隨后會被磨碎,灑在意面上,通常是黑胡椒起司意面或意大利粗管通心粉配番茄培根醬。簡單明了的展示,結合意面上辣椒的辛辣味,會讓人們想起自古以來人類發現的眾多美味傳統。

科學!

很多時候,令人難忘的桌邊烹制展示需要確保盡可能地把賓客體驗做到極致。在曼哈頓的主打法式美食傳統的餐廳Majorelle,給客人端上來的是一個滋滋作響的淺盤,里面墊著去渣檸檬,上面是裹著大蒜和黃油的蛙腿,這樣做是有其具體原因的。Majorelle的運營總監韋德·派利解釋說:“蛙腿在停止烹飪之后就會開始失去味道。因此,在桌邊備餐能夠讓蛙腿在烹飪好之后立即端上桌。”

However, Brooklyn’s Antica Pesa is doing things a bit differently. “The fresh pepper tableside experience is provided to customize the flavors of the pasta, and it’s something we have always done at our location in Rome,” explains Lorenzo Panella, a co-owner of Antica Pesa. By fresh pepper, Panella is referring to a tray of Devil Finger, jalape?o, and habanero peppers presented tableside before being grated over a plate of pasta, usually a cacio e pepe or a rigatoni all’amatriciana. The simplicity of this presentation combined with the actual heat of the peppers on the pasta is a reminder that many tasty traditions are always being discovered.

Science!

Many times, a memorable tableside presentation is needed to ensure the best possible guest experience. At Majorelle in Manhattan, a restaurant rooted in French culinary tradition, frog legs sauteed in garlic and butter are presented to the guests on a sizzle platter deglazed in lemon for a very specific reason. “The minute the frog legs stop cooking, they start to lose flavor. Serving them tableside allows the frog legs to cook right up until they are served,” explains Wade Pirie, the director of operations at Majorelle.

在桌邊烹飪鴨腿能夠讓鴨腿做好之后立即上桌。圖片來源:Courtesy of Majorelle
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在滋滋作響的鐵板燒已經風靡全美的同時,裹著大蒜和黃油的熱蛙腿或Au Za’atar餐廳的旋轉的沙瓦瑪塔(能夠讓賓客直接從放在桌上的一個迷你烤肉扦子上自切想要的肉品和蔬菜),則有望走出自己的那片狹小空間。

雕花推車并非是必需品

令整個美國動容的是,為了讓賓客關注服務員,美國的Lawry’s The Prime Rib大力推廣上等肋條推車和旋轉大碗沙拉。如今的美食愛好者們則更容易被不經意間的倒水服務和吸引人的幕后故事所打動。

While sizzling fajitas have already swept the nation, perhaps hot garlic and butter drenched frog legs or Au Za’atar’s spinning shawarma tower, which allows guests to slice their own meat and vegetables straight off a mini spit that’s placed on the table, can catch on beyond just their addresses.

You don’t always need a carving cart

While America is indebted to Lawry’s The Prime Rib for making guests pay attention to their server by popularizing the prime rib cart and spinning bowl salad, today’s food-obsessed crowd is more easily moved by subtle pours and an enchanting backstory.

Auburn餐廳的菜品。圖片來源:Courtesy of Elodie Bost
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在位于洛杉磯的Auburn餐廳,大廚艾瑞克·布斯特想出了一個辦法,讓洋姜成為了菜單中的必點菜品,只不過,在這里索要串肉扦可能并不是一個明智的做法。經過灶臺烘烤的洋姜在端上桌時會搭配葵花籽和花瓣,而且布斯特還會加上一碗融化的艾帕歇絲,即一款濃濃的奶油芝士,然后服務員用勺將其澆在洋姜上。這項展演提醒人們,在吸引賓客方面,蔬菜的上鏡率不亞于海鮮和牛肉,而且澆有熔融芝士的任何菜品都必然會俘獲一批粉絲。

一道菜肴,兩部程序

如果我們讓大廚執導《不眠之夜》(Sleep No More),那么洛杉磯的Vespertine便是其現實版的再現,而且是采用非傳統講故事手法的餐廳之一。與所有戲劇作品相同的是,其中的一位演職人員——乳鴿,會分兩個場景出現。在開場階段,乳鴿以整體形象出現,外層以煙熏杜松包裹。在切開之后,乳鴿便與以黑加侖子和乳鴿原湯小火慢燉的萵苣放在一起。

隨后便是短暫的休息。乳鴿被帶回廚房,切掉腿部,烤制,然后放入干的碎玫瑰花瓣中。鴿腿然后被送回賓客餐桌,向這個最難忘的菜品進行最后的悲情道別。Vespertine的大廚喬丹·卡恩說:“這是一個美妙但又讓人感到些許震驚的展示。它打造了一個非常特別的時刻,盡管飯局臨近結束,但這個場景依然縈繞在賓客的腦海中。”(財富中文網)

譯者:馮豐

審校:夏林

At Auburn in Los Angeles, chef Eric Bost has found a way to make sunchokes a must-have menu item in what could be considered a riff on fondue, though you probably shouldn’t ask for skewers here. The sunchokes are roasted on a hearth and served with seeds and flowers, and Bost adds a bowl of melted Epoisses, a potent and creamy cheese, that your server scoops on top. The presentation is a reminder that vegetables are just as equally sharing the spotlight as seafood and beef when it comes to mesmerizing guests, and that anything with melted cheese poured on top is bound to build a fan base.

Turning your dish into a two-part play

Vespertine, a Los Angeles restaurant that represents what would happen if a chef directed Sleep No More, is one location that’s embraced nontraditional storytelling during the meal. And like any theatrical production, one of its cast members, the squab, appears in two acts. In the opening scene, squab is presented whole, wrapped in an aromatic cage of smoked juniper. Once cut open, the pigeon is plated alongside endives braised in black currant and the juices of the bird.

Then there’s a brief intermission. The bird is taken back to the kitchen in order to have its legs removed, grilled, and dipped in dried crushed rose petals. The squab legs are then returned to guests for the final tragic act of saying goodbye to a meal most memorable. “It’s a beautiful and almost shocking presentation,” says Vespertine’s chef Jordan Kahn. “But it all creates a very special and lingering moment as you near the close of your meal.”

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