Taro Sushi Bar – In Review

It looks divine Chef Chris 👍

Tooting Hustle

It has to be said that Sushi is definitely in my top 5 foods in the world. So when I moved to Tooting, it was imperative I tried out the nearest sushi bar… And here we are!

As you can see they have  wide variety on the menu, so much so that my eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach when I ordered, a starter, ramen and platter of sashimi and maki rolls. All the food was beautifully presented and made my mouth water every time other customer’s food was served.

One thing I noticed was not all the maki rolls were made properly, which may be due to the experience of the kitchen staff. Some of the rolls were not rolled fully and so there was not rice on all of it. It also took longer than necessary to be served, which may be down to it being a…

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NYC Food Truck Lunch: Healthy Food leads to a Healthy Life by eating Health Salads filled with Nutritional Goodness is just one but finding it is somewhat difficult as Perry of NYC Truck Food found out #AceFoodNews – @AceFoodNews

#AceFoodNews – May.12: Perry, the founder of New York Street Food, brings you his latest review on New York City street food.

NYC Food Truck Lunch: Health Chef Salad From Health Chef Inc If you read this column regularly, you’ll know that we’ve been trying to eat healthier lunches for the past few months, with one big exception.

Now along comes Health Chef Inc to make our lives easier in this department. According to the person taking our order (who appeared to be the boss), it was only their second week in business.

The menu is not exactly what the truck’s name implies. The first item listed is a burger with cheese/bacon/side of fries options and the second item is a Philly cheese steak. We’re not sure in what universe these lunches are considered healthy, but if you find it, let us know. We’d love to move there!

There was literally one salad on the menu, which is what we ordered. It cost $7, with an additional $2 to add grilled chicken breast.

If you’re looking for a traditional chef’s salad like you get in a diner (ham, turkey, egg, cheese, etc), that is not what you’ll get. That’s not to say lunch was bad. In fact, it was pretty good. It just wasn’t a chef’s salad in the traditional sense.

For this chef’s salad, they grilled a sliced, seasoned chicken breast with green bell peppers and onions. It was then served over mixed greens. Tomatoes, roasted red peppers and Italian dressing were added on top. You could have oil and vinegar, if preferred (or no dressing if you’re hardcore). The menu said cucumbers were supposed to be included, but they were nowhere to be found.

Between the seasoning on the chicken and the Italian dressing, the chicken breast had some nice flavor. The Italian dressing, the juices from the chicken, and the onions and peppers all upped the flavor of the salad as well. The mixed greens were a good selection, and made for a comfy bed for the other ingredients.

chicken salad NYC Food Truck Lunch: Health Chef Salad From Health Chef Inc

(credit: Perry R.)

Health Chef Inc is pretty mainstream and won’t change the food truck scene in NYC. You probably could have guessed that by the inclusion of “Inc” in their name. They’re the food truck equivalent of a decent corporate cafeteria, which isn’t necessarily bad, but certainly not groundbreaking.

For now, you’ll have to keep an eye out for Health Chef Inc. They don’t have a Twitter account, a Facebook account or a website, which is inexcusable your second week in business. Social media is the primary way a food truck can be found and spreads the word.

If you run across Health Chef Inc, you will likely get a solid lunch for $10 or less, but at this point in time, you can’t find out ahead of time where they will be for lunch. That makes it tough to succeed.

health chef inc truck NYC Food Truck Lunch: Health Chef Salad From Health Chef Inc

(credit: Perry R.)

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NEW YORK: Chef David Katz Shares Quick And Simple Recipes For Eating Fresh Daily – #AceRecipeNews – @AceFoodNews

#AceFoodNews – Mar.16: Get dinner on the table fast using fresh ingredients and seasonal produce here are More: Cheap, On-The-Go Snacks In NYC by David Katz enjoy #ChefCJ

Chef David Katz Shares Quick And Simple Recipes For Eating Fresh
Chef David Katz, culinary director of the restaurant chain Honeygrow, stopped by CBS2 on Sunday to share some of his quick and simple healthy recipes.

Spicy Garlic Stir-Fry

(makes 2 lunch servings)

Phase 1
1 T. Canola Oil
¼ C. Red Onion – medium dice
¼ C. Bell Peppers – medium dice
5-7 Broccoli Florets – blanched and chilled
¼ Pineapple – peeled & medium dice
3 Oz. Cooked Chicken Breast – cut into strips
1 Garlic Clove – minced

Phase 2
1 5oz. Portion of Chinese or Ramen Style Egg Noodles (see recipe)
3 Oz. Spicy Garlic Sauce (see recipe)
Chopped Parsley for garnish (optional)

– Warm a wok or stir-fry pan over high heat until it just starts to smoke gently.
– Add the canola oil and then the Phase 1 ingredients. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes until the ingredients start to slightly brown.
– Lower the high from high to medium and than add the Phase 2 ingredients. Stir everything thoroughly until the sauce is well incorporated and than divide into 2 small bowls, add the chopped parsley and serve.

Spicy Garlic Sauce
1/2 C. Gochujang (Korean chili paste)
1/3 C. Water
2 T. Honey
1 t. Chopped Garlic
1 t. Kosher Salt
1 t. Black Pepper

Stir all ingredients in a mixing bowl until combined.


In a medium pot of boiling water, drop the bundle of noodles in and cook for exactly 1 minute and 25 seconds. Drain the noodles immediately after timer sounds and plunge into ice water. Drain from the ice water and have noodles ready to follow recipe steps.

Spring Thai’m Salad Recipe:
1 Romaine Heart – chopped in 1/4 inch slices
8 each Small Shrimp (51-60 size)
10 each Sugar Snap Peas – blanched and shocked
6 each Mint Leaves
1/4 C. Shredded Carrots
2 T. Scallions – sliced thinly
2 T. Fried Shallots

Add all ingredients to a large salad bowl and dress with the Lime-Chili dressing. Use as much or as little of the dressing according to your preference. Toss the salad until the dressing is well mixed in and than transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the fried shallots over the top and serve.

Lime-Chili Dressing:
2 T. Lime Juice
1 T. Sriracha
1 T. Fish Sauce
1 t. Sugar – granulated
1 t. Red Chili Flakes
1 t. Garlic – minced
3 leaves Basil – chopped
2 T. Canola Oil
3 T. Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

– In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients besides the oils and whisk well to combine.
– Slowly drizzle in the oils while whisking until all of the oils are incorporated. Taste and add salt & pepper according to your taste.

EDITOR NOTES: Thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet also our newspaper is added with all our posts daily below: Private Messages to https://t.me/acechatnews

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NYC Food Truck Lunch: Chinese Schnitzel From Schnitzi New Yorks Street Food Review – @AceFoodNews

#AceFoodNews – Mar.04: Perry, the founder of New York Street Food, brings you his latest review on New York City street food.

NYC Food Truck Lunch: Chinese Schnitzel From Schnitzi We’ve always been a big fan of schnitzel. In fact, Schnitzel & Things was the first food truck we ever went to, over seven years ago. Then around three years ago, the Schnitzi food truck arrived on the scene, adding a lot of variety (and kosher certification) to the schnitzel mix.

While you can get a burger, hot dog, or salad at Schnitzi, it seems kind of silly to go to Schnitzi and not get a schnitzel sandwich. There are 10 varieties of schnitzel on the menu, which we’ve been slowly working our way through. This time we went for the Chinese Schnitzel.

Every schnitzel sandwich costs $12.50 and comes on a baguette or in a wrap, with the option of white or whole wheat for both. We ordered our sandwich on a whole wheat wrap.

Getting back to the office, it turned out they got our order wrong. We ordered a whole wheat wrap, but ended up with a whole wheat baguette instead. Luckily, our choice was just a preference and not a requirement. Still, they did get our order wrong.

As far as the interior of the sandwich, that was delicious. The baguette was literally 12″ long (we measured it), and the bread was soft on the inside, but with a crunchy crust.

schnitzi sandwich NYC Food Truck Lunch: Chinese Schnitzel From Schnitzi

(credit: Perry R.)

The schnitzel itself was breaded and deep-fried, with sesame seeds mixed into the breading. The chicken was still nice and juicy, and there was plenty of it in the sandwich.

In terms of fixings, we got the works. That meant lettuce, tomato, pickles, raw onions and grilled onions, all fresh and crisp (except for the grilled onions, which rightfully were not crisp.)

For condiments, there are more than a dozen choices. We asked for the sweet chili sauce, which went along with the Chinese theme, but you can get many other sauces such as chimichurri, pesto, garlic mayo, honey mustard, balsamic vinegar and more.

Lunch from Schnitzi was good, but not perfect. The wait after ordering was more than 10 minutes, which is on the high side. They also gave us a baguette instead of a wrap.

However, the food itself was very enjoyable, especially the thin, crispy fried chicken cutlets, which are the heart of a Schnitzi sandwich.

EDITOR NOTES: Thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet also our newspaper is added with all our posts daily below: Private Messages to https://t.me/acechatnews

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Featured writers posts here:Ace News Room ​Our daily newspaper is here : Ace Worldwide News


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NYC: Street Food Steps Up from the Pavement to the Table as Food Truck Lunch: Shrimp Tempura Rice Bowl From Domo Taco – @AceFoodNews

#AceFoodNews – Feb.26: Perry, the founder of New York Street Food, brings you his latest review on New York City street food.

Domo Taco is one of the more consistent food trucks in NYC, putting their unique stamp on lunch for working folks like us. The menu uses the ubiquitous mix-and-match system found at many food trucks. Pick an entrée, pick a protein and you’re ready to go.

Entrees include tacos, burritos, quesadillas and rice bowls filled with (mostly) Asian and Mexican ingredients. Proteins are where the differences come in, with offerings like teriyaki steak, five-spice pork, lemongrass chicken, tempura shrimp or fish, or kimchi falafel. We chose the shrimp tempura rice bowl for $9.

shrimp tempura NYC Food Truck Lunch: Shrimp Tempura Rice Bowl From Domo Taco

(credit: Perry R.)

Opening the container, there were five long shrimp in tempura batter. That’s a healthy amount of shrimp tempura for $9, plus you get all the side dishes, too.

The worst thing is when the breading on tempura shrimp is soft and soggy. Luckily, that was not the case. The tempura shrimp was still crunchy, even with sauce covering most of the shrimp. The sauce was creamy, slightly sweet and slightly spicy.

Another difference at Domo Taco is the addition of black beans placed on top of the white rice. That gives the rice an added dose of flavor and protein.

On the side were kimchi, pickled carrots and daikon, red cabbage and pico de gallo. These are all fairly standard side dishes at Asian/Mexican fusion food trucks, but they were still enjoyable.

rice bowl fixings e1487790318125 NYC Food Truck Lunch: Shrimp Tempura Rice Bowl From Domo Taco

(credit: Perry R.)

Lastly, there was shredded Monterey jack cheese on top of the sauce, which is rare in Asian cooking. You don’t see much in the way of dairy in most Asian dishes, especially cheese.

The Domo Taco truck makes the rounds of the usual Manhattan and Brooklyn lunch spots. You can find the truck on Twitter here, on Facebook here, and their website is here. They also have a brick-and-mortar location at 733 Franklin Ave in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

It was nice to get shrimp tempura from a street vendor for lunch. That’s something we usually need to get at a Japanese restaurant (and it costs quite a bit more, too.)

EDITOR NOTES: Thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet also our newspaper is added with all our posts daily below: Private Messages to https://t.me/acechatnews

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Featured writers posts here:Ace News Room ​Our daily newspaper is here : Ace Worldwide News


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Chef Bryn Williams explores hidden recipe archives in Wales – @AceFoodNews

#AceFoodNews – Dec.03: Chef Bryn Williams explores recipe archives


Renowned Welsh chef, Bryn Williams, will be helping to kick off the Explore Your Archive campaign in Wales at Denbighshire Archives in Ruthin Gaol on Friday 18 November 2016

Hailing from Denbigh in North Wales, Bryn Williams learnt to appreciate food and its origins from an early age.

He has worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens in London and is now the Chef Patron of Odette’s, taking over the property in October 2008.

He has also recently opened Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias, a beach-front Bistro, Café & Bar on the North Wales Coast.

As part of this year’s campaign in Wales the focus will be on ‘food’ and a series of short films in English and Welsh have been created featuring historians and archivists looking at nutrition in prisons and workhouses, jam-making and bygone remedies using some weird and wonderful ingredients!

A variety of free events at archives across Wales will be on offer from talks, film-showings, tours and trails to children’s craft activities, story boxes and creative workshops.

Exhibitions on a range of themes will also be on display ranging from textiles, travel and holidays to rugby, railways and tithe maps.

Find Archives Wales on social media – @archiveswales / archifaucymru or visit the website

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#Christmas Dinner for six has increased 14% on last year with the cost of many items from non-discount supermarkets rising above inflation after prices dropped in 2012 that are starting to rise again – @AceFoodNews

#AceFoodNews – Dec.03: Christmas dinner costs ‘rise 14%’

Analysis shows a typical list of 12 items would come to £64.25 to cater for six people.

That works out at a cost of £10.71 per person compared with £9.41 in 2015.

Separate research by Good Housekeeping found shoppers could get a bargain on Christmas food if they were prepared to shop around.

Prices were affected by uncertainty caused by the UK’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union, as well as normal economic forces as markets readjust following several years of deflation, analysts said.

Analysis by the BBC’s England data unit, using figures provided by mySupermarket, found average prices for turkeys, red wine, potatoes and sprouts have all risen above inflation.

And figures show the cost of a box of crackers has gone up 41% since 2015 with an average box costing about £10.90, compared with £7.73 a year earlier.

Thumbs Up For Croatia’s Secret Truffle Harvest – @AceFoodNews

Thumbs Up For Croatia’s Secret Truffle Harvest
// Croatia, the War, and the Future
Motovun, Croatia

Motovun, Croatia

Joji Sakurai The New York Times/ Australian Financial Review

“Go Nero!”

Truffle hunter Nikola Tarandek urges on his black Labrador, who scratches furiously at the moist soil of Motovun Forest in Croatia.

We are in the hinterlands of Istria, a diamond-shaped peninsula that juts into the Adriatic Sea, exploring one of the richest grounds for premium white truffles – long overshadowed in fame but not quality by the truffle mecca of Alba in the Piedmont region of Italy. Nero has caught the scent at the roots of an oak, sending up clumps of dirt as Tarandek twists a spade into the black earth.

The commotion yields only a tiny tuber not even worth taking back to town. Other truffles that Nero sniffs out turns up spoiled. But it is just the beginning of the season, and within weeks Tarandek, who runs a side-business taking visitors on truffle-hunting tours, will be bringing fist-sized truffles home to market.

Truffles are considered an expensive delicacy in some places, but that is not the case here. And while the Istrian truffle is premium grade, its culture is free of the snobbery, intrigue and astronomical prices found in Piedmont or in the Perigord region of France.

Nikola Tarandek & Nero Photo: NYT

Nikola Tarandek & Nero
Photo: NYT

It’s as if Istrian truffles have been a well-kept secret, ripe for discovery. And that’s beginning to happen with stronger efforts to promote them. The international food world is starting to take notice and visits to Istrian truffle country are increasing every year.

It may seem surprising that a delicacy associated with Italy and France is found in Croatia’s dense oak forests, but truffles have been sought here for centuries. Istrian truffles have maintained a low profile largely because those from Alba enjoy such cachet.

Notovun Truffles Photo: uniline.hr

Motovun Truffles
Photo: uniline.hr

And there’s another reason: Croatian truffles have for decades made their way to the Italian market and been sold as Alba truffles. Locals say that has translated into little incentive to make their product famous, since hunters earn so much supplying Italy in a shady trade made possible by Istria’s proximity to Piedmont.

That’s been changing in the last decade. The night before my truffle hunt I dined at Mondo Tavern in the village of Motovun, which commands spectacular views on a hilltop overlooking the truffle forest.

Mondo Tavern, Motovun, Croatia serves pasta with truffles Photo: NYT

Mondo Tavern, Motovun, Croatia
serves pasta with truffles
Photo: NYT

The owner, Klaudio Ivasic, said locals are awakening to the benefits of keeping truffles at home. Until recent years, Motovun’s tourist season ended in August. As truffle fame has grown, the season is extending through November. “People are coming for the truffles,” Ivasic said proudly.

For travellers, the attractions of an Istrian truffle tour are plentiful. Istria’s rolling landscapes evoke Tuscany; its beaches are among the Mediterranean’s most beautiful; cliffs are dotted with fairytale villages – and a truffle meal won’t burn a hole through your wallet.

At Mondo, a man starts shaving a white truffle over my plate of Istrian “fuzi,” short pasta. I expect him to stop after a couple of seconds, but he keeps going. A heavenly aroma fills the room. The flakes drift down until my pasta is buried in a white truffle mantle. This dish, which in Milan would easily cost €40 ($60) (and in New York or London don’t even think about it), is priced here at a reasonable 155 Croatian kuna ($30).

Croatian/Istrian Pasta with Truffles

Pasta with Truffles

Ivasic, himself a truffle hunter, says the dry summer and rainy September have been ideal for white truffles, and that this season could be the best in a decade, although “truffles are a mystery”. In the morning, Tarandek is less optimistic, and it’s understandable. He’s been seeking truffles for two hours, to no avail. “Too early in the season,” he mumbles.

Suddenly Nero starts barking frantically by the roots of a poplar. His owner drops to his knees, cutting at roots so his dog can dig deeper. “Come down close to the hole,” Tarandek beckons, “and smell!”

I get down on hands and knees, sinking my face into a muddy crater – just like a truffle-hunting dog – and a blast hit my nose. Is this the jackpot? Tarandek shakes his head. “Oh no, it’s a small truffle,” he says, “but a good one.”

He cuts at roots to extract the puny but precious truffle – and stops. A stream of invective pours from his lips. The yellowish fleck poking from the dirt was only the tip of a much larger prize.

“I have destroyed the truffle,” he groans, displaying the chunk he has broken off. “Ohhhhhh my God. That was sooooo big a truffle!”

Motovun Truffle Photo: NYT

Motovun Truffle
Photo: NYT

Hunters command top dollar only for intact truffles. With one careless flick Tarandek has lost up to €300. But soon he’d seen the brighter side of things, for this meant truffle season was starting in earnest.

“Lucky day,” he says. “Now I have motivation.”


Bon appétit or as Croats say: “Dobar Tek”, everyone!


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Salmonella warning over bagged salad leaves – @AceFoodNews

#AceFoodNews – Nov.18: Salmonella warning over bagged salad leaves
// The Telegraph

Lead scientist Dr Primrose Freestone, from the University of Leicester’s Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, said: “Salad leaves are cut during harvesting and we found that even microlitres of the juices (less than 1/200th of a teaspoon) which leach from the cut ends of the leaves enabled salmonella to grow in water, even when it was refrigerated.

“These juices also helped the salmonella to attach itself to the salad leaves so strongly that vigorous washing could not remove the bacteria, and even enabled the pathogen to attach to the salad bag container.

“This strongly emphasises the need for salad leaf growers to maintain high food safety standards as even a few salmonella cells in a salad bag at the time of purchase could become many thousands by the time a bag of salad leaves reaches its use by date, even if kept refrigerated.

“Even small traces of juices released from damaged leaves can make the pathogen grow better and become more able to cause disease.”

She said the research, published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, also served as a reminder to consume bagged salad as soon as possible after opening.

“We found that once opened, the bacteria naturally present on the leaves also grew much faster even when kept cold in the fridge,” Dr Freestone added.

As part of the study, plastic bags were cut into 2cm long sections and tested to see how well salmonella formed clinging “biofilms” on their surfaces. The presence of juice enhanced the bug’s ability to attach to the plastic, researchers said.

FEATURED: ‘ The Rise and Fall of French Cuisine ‘ – @AceFoodNews

#AceFoodNews – Oct.22: You may not like to hear that all great dishes originated in France but many classics that came to the UK did In fact start off life in that country

But now we are being told that The Rise and Fall of French cuisine // Salon
So read and inwardly digest .. Excuse the pun and one day when l am not too busy l will explain my art of cooking from Mrs Beeton to Escoffier and my life and experiences of being a chef and not a cook …. One day … #ChefCJ have a nice day …


Woman in Restaurant

(Credit: Getty/knape)

This piece originally appeared on The Conversation.

In the food world, one of the biggest stories of the last 50 years has been the waning of French culinary authority, the end of a 300-year reign.

In the latest annual ranking of “The World’s Fifty Best Restaurants,” only one French restaurant, Mirazur, appears in the top 10. And its menu reflects modernist (“molecular”) gastronomy – a recent trend of using chemistry in the kitchen – rather than anything associated with traditional French cuisine.

Since the 18th century, France had been equated with gastronomic prestige. The focus of its cuisine has been simplicity, developed as a reaction against medieval reliance on spices; instead of possessing a sharp or sugary taste, its dishes contained butter, herbs and sauces based on meat juices to create a rich, smooth flavor.

The first elegant restaurant in America, Delmonico’s, was founded in New York in 1830 with a French chef, Charles Ranhofer, whose food was considered an exemplar of French tastes and standards. Until the end of the 20th century, the most prestigious restaurants around the world were French, from London’s La Mirabelle to San Francisco’s La Bourgogne.

In 1964, the first New York Times “Guide to Dining Out in New York” listed eight restaurants in its top three-star category. Seven were French. Meanwhile, beginning in 1963, Julia Child’s hugely popular television show “The French Chef” taught Americans how to replicate French dishes in their own kitchens.

So what happened?

In my recently published book, “Ten Restaurants that Changed America,” I show how one restaurant, Le Pavillon, came to epitomize the rise and fall of French cuisine.

Food ‘fit for the gods’

Four of the 10 restaurants featured in my book offer some version of French food. Delmonico’s described itself as French, but it also offered American game and seafood, while inventing dishes such as Lobster Newberg and Baked Alaska. Antoine’s, a New Orleans restaurant that opened in 1840, now portrays its cuisine as “haute Creole,” but it, too, presented itself as French for most of its history.

Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California – the original inspiration for the current farm-to-table vogue – initially tried to imitate a rural French inn before becoming one of the first restaurants in America to promote local food with high-quality, basic ingredients.

But while these restaurants reflect French influence, only one consistently and deliberately imitated Parisian orthodoxy: New York City’s Le Pavillon.

It began as a pop-up-style eatery called “Le Restaurant Français” at the French Pavilion during the New York World’s Fair of 1939-1940. But the sudden German conquest of France in the late spring of 1940 left the staff with a choice: Return to Nazi-occupied France or stay in the U.S. as refugees.

At the New York World’s Fair, the French pavilion had one of the priciest and most popular restaurants: Le Restaurant Francais.
Digital Commonwealth

Maître d’hôtel Henri Soulé, together with those who stayed, found permanent quarters in midtown Manhattan and rebranded it “Le Pavillon.” With a preexisting reputation for excellence from the fair, the restaurant was an instant success.

Le Pavillon and Soulé soon ruled over the city’s restaurant scene, rising to become the undisputed top-ranked establishment in America, with exacting culinary standards that surpassed its Francophile competition. French writer Ludwig Bemelmans thought that Soulé provided not only the finest meals in Manhattan but also eclipsed those in France. In his memoirs, famous food critic Craig Claiborne recalled the food as “fit for the gods,” and a throng of celebrities passed through, from the duke and duchess of Windsor to the Kennedy clan (well, until they quarreled with the irascible Soulé during John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign).

Alongside excellence, a reputation for snobbery

Most high-end American restaurants at the time were opulent but served either French standards such as duck a l’orange or dishes that weren’t particularly French, such as lamb chops.

Le Pavillon’s cuisine, however, was unabashedly pretentious. The more elaborate presentations sent the food writers into raptures: Mousse de Sole “Tout Paris” (sole stuffed with truffles, served with a Champagne sauce and a lobster sauce) or lobster Pavillon (lobster with a complicated tomato, white wine and Cognac sauce).

The menu from Le Pavillon.

Some of the restaurant’s famous dishes seem rather ordinary by today’s standards. Beluga caviar was (and remains) an expensive delicacy but takes no talent to prepare. Chateaubriand steaks – a tenderloin filet usually served with a red wine reduction or a Bearnaise sauce – routinely exceeded US$100 in today’s dollars. But it takes more skill to select the cut of meat than to prepare and cook it.

Soulé himself missed the bourgeois fare of his homeland such as blanquette de veau or sausages with lentil and, paradoxically, prepared these ordinary dishes as off-menu items for customers who, he felt, could appreciate the real culinary soul of France.

Those special customers were conspicuously favored, and this is an unattractive aspect of Soulé’s legacy. To the extent that French restaurants in America, to this day, retain a reputation for snobbery and annoying social discrimination, it’s largely traceable to Soulé. He didn’t invent “Siberia,” the part of the restaurant that nobodies are exiled to, where service is slack and borderline contemptuous, but he perfected it. He was an exacting proprietor not just to his harried cooks and waiters but to customers as well, disciplining them with a look or, if necessary, harsh words if they questioned his decisions on where they were seated.

The competition for status was not all Soulé’s fault. Joseph Wechsberg, author of a book on Le Pavillon published in 1962, attributed the jockeying for position not to Soulé but rather to a preexisting “battle for survival in the status jungles of Manhattan around the middle of the 20th century.” Even in the supposedly less formal and certainly un-French restaurant scene of today, there is no evidence that sparsely decorated farm-to-table restaurants treat their customers any better than the dictatorial Soulé. Just try getting a reservation at David Chang’s Momofuku Ko in Manhattan’s East Village.

The difference was that the short, stout, charming but awe-inspiring Soulé, whom restaurant critic Gael Greene described as a “flirtatious, five-foot-five cube of amiability,” never pretended to be anything but confidently elitist in running his operation. He routinely referred to himself in the third person and treated his staff in a dictatorial, patronizing fashion. Soulé even defied his landlord’s demand for a better table. When, in response, the rent was exponentially raised, he preferred to move the restaurant rather than give in.

Soulé’s death from a heart attack at the age of 62 in 1966 was marked by adulatory obituaries. Claiborne memorialized him as “the Michelangelo, the Mozart and the Leonardo of the French restaurant in America.” The restaurant staggered on after Soulé, before shutting its doors in 1971.

Today it’s all about globalization and innovation

Following the sudden closing of Le Pavillon, spin-offs – Le Veau d’Or and La Caravalle – would flourish. But if Le Pavillon is now largely underappreciated or even unknown, it is because of the demise of the French model it established: formality and elegance that veered on intimidation.

Even before Soulé’s death, a hint of the new competition had emerged in New York’s Four Seasons. The restaurant, which recently closed, opened in 1959 as a daring anomaly: an elegant, expensive restaurant that was not French but rather international and eclectic in its menu offerings.

Today, grand French cuisine has yielded to Asian and Latin American influence, the rise of Italian cuisine, the cult of local ingredients and the farm-to-table model.

From the 1970s to the 1990s, we witnessed the growing influence of Asian tastes: both specific cuisine (Thai, high-end Japanese) and Asian-European fusions (promoted by chefs such as Jean-Georges Vongerichten). There was also the Italian challenge to French hegemony. Italian cuisine in its American “Mediterranean” form offered simpler, more lightly treated preparations: grilled meat or salads, rather than elaborate, rich sauces.

Over the past decade, we’ve seen the rise of new centers of culinary innovation, whether it’s Catalonia, Spain (where molecular gastronomy was pioneered in the 1990s), or Denmark, where foraging for food and new Nordic cuisine is in vogue.

These days French cuisine seems traditional – and not in a particularly good way. Unfortunately, its association with snobbery only contributed to its demise – a reputation that Henri Soulé did nothing to discourage.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


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