So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet

Tag Archives: bar

Steakhouses work the bar angle to attract guests

Premium steakhouses are using expanded bar offerings, in both the food and drink realm, to bring guests back to their dining rooms and bars. They are offering smaller and less expensive variations on their normal fare, almost in a tapas style. They are also rolling out signature drinks in order to capture a younger demographic.

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Morton’s has their “Power Hour” in selected locations. They have some value-priced $5 glasses of wine, $7 “Mortini’s” (selected Martinis, Cosmopolitans and Mojitos) and they are offering $6 “bar bites”, including miniature crab cakes, trios of little burgers, four tiny filet mignon “sandwiches” and “iceberg wedge bites”.

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The Palm Steakhouse has upped the ante with their “Prime Times Bites” bar menu. They also have trios of “sliders”, theirs being Kobe beef. They have a smaller version of their massive fried calamari bowl, plus they have mini crab cakes, a trio of steak “capri” sliders (steak, basil and mozzarella) and little Philly steak bites. Prices range from $7 to $12  but from 5-7pm and after 9pm, they sell for the unheard of price of $3.50 (three Kobe beef sliders for only about 50 cents more than Krystal or White Castle burgers?!!??) They have also done an upscale makeover of the look of their bar tables . This is rolling out nationwide as I write this, having been tested in certain locations.

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Fleming’s Steakhouse has their “5 for $6 ’til 7” promotion in their bar. For $6, they have 5 premium cocktails, 5 value priced wines and 5 appetizers such as “tenderloin carpaccio”, seared ahi tuna and “wicked cajun barbecue shrimp”. This is served from 5pm to 7pm.

These are examples of fresh thinking in the steakhouse sector. They augment the usual summer special dinner deals that chains have been offering during their slower months and are intended to expand their demographic.

How things have changed since 2005 when Nation’s Restaurant News ran an article entitled “Big high-end steakhouse chains are primed for 10% growth”. Here’s a snippet of that optimistic report:

“Demand for high-end steakhouses seems to have continued to rise in many markets across the country. ‘I’ve never seen anything like this in 25 years,’ said Dave Cattell, chief development officer for Ruth’s Chris, the 86-unit chain based in Metairie, La. ‘There are lots of opportunities, and I don’t see any end in sight.’ “.

You can access the rest of the article here:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3190/is_9_39/ai_n13251038/?tag=content;col1

Cookbook of the day – The Harry’s Bar Cookbook

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Harry’s Bar Cookbook

by Arrigo Cipriani

  • Publisher: Bantam (October 1, 1991)
  • ISBN-10: 0553070304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553070309
  • There aren’t many dishes where you can point to an inventor. Most dishes are either old classics with creators long-forgotten or they just have sprung up without attribution. Probably the most famous dish attributed to a single person is the Caesar salad, a salad invented by Caesar Cardini in Tijuana Mexico in the 20s and there’s even a little dispute about that. 

     What’s beyond dispute is the fact that carpaccio, the famous thinly sliced beef (or other meats for that matter), was invented in 1950 by the owner of Harry’s Bar in Venice, Giuseppe Cipriani. The Contessa Amalia Nani Mocenigo had been forbidden to eat cooked meat by her doctor and, voila! the carpaccio was born. Cipriani named it after one of his favorite painters, Vittore Carpaccio, the Venetian Renaissance painter who used bright reds and whites in his paintings.

    This is the actual Harry’s Bar carpaccio, courtesy of famed food writer John Mariano at www.johnmariano.com :

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    Notice that it’s not all gussied up with superfluous greens, scattered with capers or any such excess. That’s the original.

    And you can read all about it in this wonderful cookbook,  The Harry’s Bar Cookbook, written by the son of Giuseppe, Arrigo Cipriani (Arrigo is Italian for Harry).  The history of the restaurant is lovingly told by Arrigo, who relates the story of how Harry’s Bar came to be. It was named for an American, Harry Pickering, who was the beneficiary of kindness from Giuseppe, who at the time was a barman at the Hotel Europa in Venice. I won’t spoil the story, except to say that it’s a tale worthy of F. Scott Fitzgerald. You’ll have to pick up the book to read about it.

    Harry’s Bar has always been a hangout for the wealthy and famous of the world, from Ernest Hemingway to the Onassises, globe trotters and royalty, decadent expatriots and famous movie stars like Richard Burton have found their way to the modest bar for the glories of great Italian ingredients simply and freshly prepared, and they are prepared to pay a premium price for it. The place oozes history, and you’re along for the ride with this cookbook.

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    Winner of the Julia child 1st Cookbook Award and The James Beard Award, you’ll find this book a treasure of family pride and tales of the upper crust. And let’s not forget that it’s Harry’s Bar, not Harry’s Restaurant, a point that Cipriani makes as he tells you how to make the perfect Bellini, the peach cocktail that he claims his father invented in the 30s. So Giuseppe is responsible to not one but two well-known culinary items. Amazing.

    Anyway, you’ll find all of the recipes to make you feel like you’re overlooking the canals of Venice and you’ll get the famous carpaccio sauce recipe as well.

    The Harry’s Bar Cookbook – as classic a cookbook as Harry’s Bar itself is. 

    szent-orsolya

    The Dream of St. Ursula – Vittorio Carpaccio (1495)

    New link added – Restaurant Gal

    Posting from as far south as you can get in the United States (and formerly from the very cool state of Colorado), this Key West bartender has some great stories and trenchant insights on the behavior of Homo Barstoolis, that species of Homo Sapiens known for a dominant lizard brain,over-sized ego and poorly developed and alcohol-impared ability to summon common sense and decency. The part of the brain that controls social functions is also rather fractured in this showy member of the human genus and thus, it’s an infinitely fascinating species to watch in the wild, especially during its mating rituals.

    Let’s all welcome R.G. to the fold with a hardyZum Wohl! Click the link under Waiter Stuff. Now.

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    Cookbook of the day – Malt Whisky

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    Malt Whisky: A Comprehensive Guide for both Novice and Connoisseur

    by Graham Nown

  • Publisher:Salamander Books Ltd (15 Sep 1997)
  • ISBN-10: 0861019628
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861019625
  • While Scotch whisky has a long and rather dramatic history, branding of single malt Scotches is a very 20th century phenomenon. Even the explosion of blended Scotches has happened in the past 100 years.

    This British book clearly outlines the trials and tribulations of Scotch producers from the time that they were bootleggers in far-flung areas of the British Isles.

    The book also has many beautiful photographs of the various well-known and lesser-known (at least here in the States) distilleries and the surrounding areas. It puts the distilleries in a geographical context beyond the simple “appellation” categories. For instance, many don’t realize that The Balvenie is the next door neighbor of Glenfiddich, and, even though they share the same water source and use the same barley, the characteristics of each distillery is quite different due to different production methods.

    Each distillery gets a comprehensive yet concise overview of the distillery itself and the characteristics of the product. Nown doesn’t attempt a numerical grading of the various scotches. For that, you’re better directed to the late Michael Jackson’s fine guides to Scotch whisky. However, you get a clear and unambiguous guide to the flavor of the Scotch.

    At the end of the book, there’s a brief overview of Japanese single malt whiskies and Irish whiskies (the Irish spell whisky with an “e”, i.e whiskey).

    This book isn’t easy to find, despite being a fairly recent book. However, it’s definitely worth seeking out, or buying if you happen to run across it in a used bookstore as I did. Every server who sells alcoholic beverages should have at least a passing familiarity with the various Scotch whisky styles (single malt and blended). People who drink them know about these things, so you can’t bluff them (don’t want to lose your credibility, do you)? and, it’s nice to be able to educated people curious about single malts. You might be able to sell them a $12 single malt rather than a $6 blended. And, if you do so, you’ll enhance their dining experience and perhaps put them on the path of further discovery.

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    Tennessee governor vetos “handguns in bars and restaurants” bill

    Gov. Phil Bredesen has used his 6th veto against HB 962, a bill intended to allow registered right-to-carry gun owners to take their guns into establishments that sell alcohol, a right not currently granted to them.

    My opinion? Guns and alcohol don’t mix. Ask Plaxico Burress if you don’t believe me. I prefer my shooters in a shotglass, not on a barstool. I’m kind of silly that way.

    Will the state legistature overturn the veto? Stay tuned for further updates. Right now, the House needs 50 of the 99 members to vote to override the veto, which would then go to the Senate where 50% plus one vote of the 33 members will sustain the override. Support has been strong for this bill on both sides of the aisle, so the veto has an uphill battle. 

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