The Great Hall
Steak frites The Great Hall: Steak frites
By Point83702 (Point83702) on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - 01:01 pm: Edit

I was wondering if you all could share with me how you define "traditional steak frites". My chef serves a pan roasted striploin, fanned, with a roast shallot demi, steak fries and watercress garnish. The G.M. says if the steak isn't presented whole and the fries are not shoestring we need to change the name. He's the boss, so I really don't care, but I wondered how rigidly casual cuisine is defined. Is it a sloppy chef or nitpicking G.M?

By Steve9389 (Steve9389) on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - 01:37 pm: Edit

Wow. If you're going at this as a strict traditionalist, your GM is correct that at most braseries in France, that's how it would come. That said, he needs to undergo a surgical procedure to remove that stick from his a**. If he asked me, I'd tell him to lighten up.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - 03:43 pm: Edit

Nitpicker!!!! You go to a restaurant to eat the Chef's interpretation of the dish!!!!!!!!!!
Now, if he was serving top butt steak and calling it filet, then he would have to change the menu name! Not, that anyone here has done that before!!!!

By Ironhead (Ironhead) on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - 04:58 pm: Edit

Tell your Chef to ask the GM two things: 1. Is there a steak on the plate? and 2. Are there fries (or frites)?

Sounds to me as though the GM has a bad case of "I've been to France." I'd bet my toque that not ALL the brasseries in France adhere to your GM's exacting standards.....

By Doucefrance (Doucefrance) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 01:05 am: Edit

Sorry to disapoint you, but here in France a steak frites is the classical described by Steve9389, anything else served in a brasserie or other restaurant will not be called steak frites.
Guess I'm a purist...

By Ironhead (Ironhead) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 07:21 am: Edit

No dissapointment at all. I believe in "cook's liberty" (to an extent) So as far as I'm concerned if you serve me a steak, be it strip, ribeye, sirloin, whole or fanned and what the hell, let's add flank or skirt to the list to REALLY drive the purists nuts and something resembling a pomme frite (all shoestrings are fried potatoes, but not all fried potatoes are shoestrings.....)I am not going to be offended if it reads as a Steak Frite on a menu.....I am the ugly American I guess. Not that slicing and fanning a steak on a "Steak Frite" plate is going to spark any culinary revolutions, but I feel in this business you have to be open to interpretation, not necessarily in your own practices if that is what you choose......It just kinda chaps my ass when people are so quick to poopoo something that is just a little different from the "tradition".

By Doucefrance (Doucefrance) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 07:34 am: Edit

If you ask for a hamburger or a donut what do you expect to get?
If I see steak frites on a menu I know what I'll get, nothing to do with tradition...

By Dinerdogg (Dinerdogg) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 07:53 am: Edit

I have to agree with doucefrance. I have and am both (chef & GM)and have a firm belief that a classic should be served as what made it classic. Nothing is worse than a customers unmet expectations. Our job(s) is to meet or exceed them. By screwing with classics is not the way. The gm might be better served explaining to the chef that we can keep this item and call it X but lets also do a classic interpretation. And let me guess, the chef does all his complaining on the line in front of cooks and servers (a favorite audience). Could this be why the gm is a tightass? Oh yeah, being the owner too, i have little patience with this egoistic foolishness still going on in this business. Its food silly!

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 08:20 am: Edit

Well if you ask for a hamburger at White Castle, Wendy's, McDonald's, BK, Tavern on the Green, The French Laundry you will certainly get a different version at each establishment!
If you ask for a donut at Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Publix, Chez Maurice you will also get different versions!
If ALL RESTAURANTS presented the "same" food, why go eat at different restaurants?, it would all be the same! Imagine if Wolfgang Puck had served pizza only as "traditionally" or "classically" served, he'd be unknown today.
Imagine Alice Water serving a classic vegetable platter everyday at her restaurant!
Once again after mentioning this in multi posts, when you go to a restaurant, you go to eat the Chef's interpretation of that dish!
Imagine if Creme Brulee, Tiramisu, Cheesecake would have only been made and served as a classic!
If a customer leaves any eating establishment with expectations unmet it's because the service, food, or ambiance sucked!
I have been to places where I have not liked the Chef's interpretation of a certain dish, that doesn't mean it was bad or that someone else did not enjoy it, it just means I did not like it!
Many of us go to certain restaurants because they have a certain menu item that we love to eat, one day you may go to that restaurant and the dish is not quite what you know it should be; a different cook maybe?......a different version!

By Doucefrance (Doucefrance) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 09:37 am: Edit

No problem with chef's creativity, but then again, under steak frites you'll have to give the description of the chef's version...don't worry about any french complaining, in the US they'll eat anything that comes close enough to what they get at home!(as long as it doesn't have any sugar in it).

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 09:46 am: Edit

"frites" basically means fried, correct?
If the item is steak frites, literally (steak fries) or steak and frites, (steak and fries), maybe that's the confusion fries and steak fries are two different animals in the USA.
Why would anybody serve a steak sliced in todays day and age anyway???? It would bleed out big time waiting for a server!!!

By Ironhead (Ironhead) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 10:29 am: Edit

I am by no means saying we should shun the classics. I don't think anyone worth their salt would "interpret" a classic dish without first knowing how to make the original. But I think refusing to call something "steak frite" because the steak is sliced and the fries are a half an inch think is just splitting hairs. There are as many ways to make a dish as there are chefs in the world. Does that mean that I will like every version? Absolutely not but I'm not going to call the gendarme de cuisine because someone used shell beans in their cassoulet. Sooner or later I guess there'll be a special order that dons robes, medals and funny little hats to eat steak frite.....

Ferdnand Point questioned tradition and look what happened. In this business you have to keep an open mind because there just isn't that much that hasn't been done before. Anyone who'll tell you different isn't reading enough cookbooks.

By Corey (Corey) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 03:00 pm: Edit

Like a pizza folded in half? a Stromboli or a Calzone? this was prolly started by a pizza cook
messing up a pizza and decided to just flip it over and let the masses think what they wanted.
I burned the heck out of a pizza once, I was making rolls in the back, instead of throwing it out, I made a sign for it reading Cajun Style Pizza, and it sold fast. it's artistic license.

By Doucefrance (Doucefrance) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 03:34 pm: Edit

Well, anyway, in France you don't go to a restaurant to eat a steak frites...that's just part of our "folklore".
Steak frites is the basic equivalent to your hamburger, nothing more.
The way americans represent the french with a beret, a baguette, a bottle of wine...just add a plate with steak frites and you've got the picture.
How about going round the world to sample and make pictures of every different steak frites you can find...and then write a book and make big bucks?
I'm sure it would work too!

By Ironhead (Ironhead) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 04:15 pm: Edit

No offense Padre, but artistic license and serving something that probably should be thrown away are two different animals in my kitchen. If you want to make cajun style pizza get some tasso or andouille and make a creole sauce. Hmmmmmmm, would you then be allowed to call it "pizza"?

By Ironhead (Ironhead) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 04:43 pm: Edit

How can a fun and informative debate the over interpretation of steak frites lead to stereotyping the French? I must have missed that part in all the other posts......I guess I was so blinded by my own preconceptions that I didn't even realize that by discussing culinary differences and foundations in tradition before interpreting a dish we were somehow implying that all French people wear berets, carry baguettes and drink nothing but red wine. Please explain to me how that works.......Because believe me, my responses would have been exactly the same were you from Sancerre or San Francisco.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 06:33 pm: Edit

At least we didn't sell underwear to the Iraqui Red Guard or whatever they called themselves!
Steak frites or not!
I had no clue anyone was from France until they mentioned it!

By Doucefrance (Doucefrance) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 12:51 am: Edit

Anyone ever heard about humor?
This is typically french, making fun of ourselves.
And this interpretation of the french is the way old movies showed them in the US, humor again.
Manny, we talked before, more than a year and a half ago, I had a pastry shop in Tarpon Springs...
By the way, how's your kid?

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 06:10 am: Edit

I remember Helene, how are things going? My son is doing good, busy with school!
How do you like France?, and yes I've heard of humor silly, can't you tell by my posts!
We have not seen you post in a long time, hope to see more of you now..........we'll have someone else to bug.
I knew you said you were going to France, I just didn't know you had gone. Hope everything is well for you, and keep your beret straight!!!!

By Ironhead (Ironhead) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 11:48 am: Edit

Oh, sorry, I never really liked Jerry Lewis....... :p

By Doucefrance (Doucefrance) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 02:23 pm: Edit

Don't start that beret thing, I still can't figure out where the front is!
I was supposed to go to France for one month, once I got there my private life fell to pieces.
So, all that was left was a suitcase and $2000.
I picked up the pieces, the $$$, put them in the suitcase and started my life all over in the south west of France, in Dordogne the french food heaven.
I opened a small bakery and am enjoying my work and the good life you get here.
Simple things you find every day on the market place...foie gras, porcini and chanterelle, ducks and geese...local wines like Monbazillac, Bergerac...just supporting the local economy!
I enjoyed my 2 1/2 years in the US, and don't regret any single moment of it, but it also makes me enjoy my country in a better way.
I stay in touch with my american friends and will surely go back to visit some time.
Now I have settled I'm going to be on the site more often, I enjoyed the sharing, the fun, the ideas and enjoyed every time I could help.
So I'M BACK...

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 04:52 pm: Edit

Glad to have you back, I'm glad to see you are doing well!!!!!!!!!!
If I ever think (can afford) of going to France any time soon I wil make it a point to stop by you! Hope life is great to you there....much easier pace than the USA right????
The front of the beret is the opposite of the tag by the way!!!!!!

By Doucefrance (Doucefrance) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 08:20 am: Edit

A real beret(made in the Pays Basque) has no tag!...god help me please!
I'm taking a class next thursday to learn how to make the famous "Pâté de Perigueux"...foie gras wrapped in thin slices of truffle, then wrapped again in a delicate force meat and then in puff pastry.
Just writing it makes me drool. This is pure heaven.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 09:19 am: Edit

Can you Fed Ex or UPS a slice pleeeeeeease????

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