Best Days/Worst Days to Chow
- Peter Pancetta Jan 30, 2002 06:15 AM
If you ever worked in a commercial restaruant kitchen, you might say that the oft heralded 'Sunday Brunch' is the time to empty out the weeks leftovers from the dark corners of the walk-in and mark it up 6x and call it brunch. Real Chefs hate brunch & actually are home sleeping it off while the college kids and dishwashers run it. Why do you think evertying is baked and heavily sauced? If you do brunch, always go for the baked goodies, the pancakes, french toast (stale bread but its still good) and fresh fruit. THe high volume hotels are likely to have the freshest shrimp and seafood; the smaller local places not. DO serious chowhounds eat out on the weekend?
Having worked in the hotel biz for many years I can say without fear of contradiction that brunch is the lowest form of dining, generally dominated by patrons who are more intent on "getting their moneys worth" than anything. This is not an indictment of the establishments who, in many cases, are putting out good product but rather of the diners who are willing to heap shrimp on their plates as if it were the last supper. Gorge eating is unattractive.
There are of course exceptions to every rule. But in the hundreds of brunches I have witnessed I found my last posting to be true. I think the fact that brunch is generally expensive leads to the gorge eating (particularly of Shrimp, the middle class aphrodisiac). At the hotels I worked in our Sunday brunches were about $43.00 which is expensive but they got a huge array of beautiful food. I think that "all you can eat buffets" at a Chinese resto, or the like, for $8.50 are a different thing. People aren't quite as concerned about the financial outlay.
My mother, a waitress at nice middle-range restaurants and clubs for many years, always warns us to stay away from restaurants on Mother's Day.
She says that the restaurants were filled that day with people who never went out to dinner any other time and had no notion of how to order, or what to expect in the way of service, or how to control their kids, or how to tip. As a result, the kitchens are harried, there is a temptation on the part of some owners/managers to pass off less than good food because the patrons wouldn't know any better, and for all the reasons above the waitstaff is overworked and cranky.
I've noticed a distinct drop in quality at restaurants that are superbusy on weekends--Dali and Redbones, in particular (not that Redbones is a favorite anyway). It seems that half of dining is the experience of slowly savoring a meal with friends. You can pretty much forget about that on busy nights at nearly all restaurants when the staff are eager to turn over your table. Soooo, I rarely dine out on weekend nights.
Anybody have any tips on restaurants that let you sit European style as long as you please?
I love eating breakfast out, and so I will go to brunch under certain circumstances. I try to stick to small local restaurants that I trust to have fresh food. Eggs benedict is one of my favorite dishes, but it is hard to find anyplace that makes it *except* for brunch.
I too have worked as a waitress in both hotels and dives. The smaller restaurants do use quite a few leftovers in bruches. That is why lobster newberg has such rich thick sauce...
The brunches that do not use leftovers are the more expensive ones like at Long Wharf Marriot and Andover Inn at Phillips Academy in Andover. Those prepare wonderful FRESH foods and do not cater to those who enjoy gorging for $5.00 per person. These brunches can run from $45.00 per person on up. Beware! Where you go for your brunches. When in doubt I stick to the prepare while you wait stations, carving stations, french toast, or eggs benedict.