Here’s another mental exercise instigated by a fellow Sparker’s blog on what she, and we, would do with a big lottery win. My original post on this topic was removed by mistake… so I’m reposting, because I really want to know!
If you happened into unlimited resources, what kind of “fantasy restaurant” would you create? Would it be fast food? Classic? Family dining? Something else? Maybe a combination, or more than one of these? What kind of ambiance would it have? service? What kinds of foods?
I don’t want to influence or “lead” your responses, but I would like a *discussion*, not just a one-liner (as has been mentioned recently as not in line with the intent of the Café).
SO, with that in mind, my ideas about restaurants… (you can skip this if you’re already simmering with ideas)
I do think a healthy fast-food/drive-thru would be a great thing. I see people here bemoaning the fact all the time that they simply don’t have the time or inclination for home cooking; maybe they’re on the road a lot, maybe it’s just a time issue going to or coming from work; they have “a habit” that’s a challenge to break themselves of as they’re trying to get on board with their new nutritional plan! But the options are limited. It’s burgers or fried foods, or what *looks* like “healthy food” from the menu descriptions… but they rarely are. It should be possible to create decent food for people who care about their nutritional health in a fast-food environment. Not rocket science, I wouldn’t think
OTOH, I was raised in pretty much a “classic” environment, and I really miss those restaurants! They fall a bit afar from “diet food,” I know. Most chain restaurants seem to think they have to create “signature” dishes. That’s all fine and well, and I appreciate those, so long as that’s not ALL they serve. A “good” restaurant should be able to create the classics, and well. There should be a REAL chef in the house (yes, I know they’re something of a nuisance to deal with at times!). I don’t mind paying an appropriate price for classic dishes. Whatever happened to nice steaks (and especially prime rib) without all the embellishments? I want to taste the meat! Sauces, side items, fine. But don’t fiddle with the meat – if you do, I think you don’t know how to cook it, or it was past its prime to begin with and needs “camouflage.” You can barely find chateaubriand anymore. Coquille St. Jacques. Tender seafood. Roulades. I do love specialty sauces – but I want to taste the base protein FIRST, and the sauce should accompany and enhance those flavors. Sauces made in-house, I should specify. They aren’t that difficult with the proper equipment and sous chefs (not just line cooks). How about some homemade soups? I long for a good French onion that doesn’t have its origins in a can or bottle. You’re making rib roasts. What’s happening to those delectable bones and drippings? Salads tossed tableside. Breads made in-house. Desserts, ditto. In small bites! so we can just have a taste. And service. Oh my. What has happened to service? Yes, I encounter it… rarely. You used to be able to focus on your table partner(s) and the service was discreet. You knew when the waiter/ress approached, your plate would be taken up from one side only…finished plates would be removed, from one side only (the *opposite* one!). These days, you’re lucky if your food isn’t served across the table, where you have to move to accommodate the server. Service utensils were where you expected them to be: no guessing about it or just pouring them out of rolled-up (paper) napkins. You could get specially-prepared meals or substitutions based upon anything available on the menu, because the meals weren’t already plated up and waiting to be run through a microwave or under the broiler. Another thing I liked, which is now passé (probably due to health regulations), is that your server used to bring the side items in serving dishes to the table, to be served to your plate individually. All these things add immensely to the operating costs of a restaurant. But, I, at least, expect to pay for those services. It’s not a place I’d go to weekly. But it would certainly be a welcome diversion from buffets or even more “typical” family restaurants (which also have a worthy place in our choice of “outings” spots). I’m sure such places still exist in very large cities – New York comes to mind. But any city of reasonable size should be able to support at least *one* of these? I would think/hope?
On the other end of the scale, I love buffets, too! Nothing “upscale” about that. Just good home-cooked food. I love some of the chain buffets. I wish they’d post their nutrition info right on the line, though. Or else have a cheap flyer in the checkout/in line that customers could check. I’d be far more likely to frequent those places more often if I could depend on being able to make choices appropriate to my dietary plan. It would be great to have some sections or trays labeled for special diets like that: low-cal, low-fat, low-carb, etc.
I’m interested to know what sorts of places would attract your business, as a customer or if you were inclined to create your own. What do you think?
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