Best Beef Wellington
I'll be surprised whether you find BW anywhere, let alone a great one. It's not on the menu at old school places like Barberian's or Carman's. You might end up of finding it Chez Poorboy, i.e., making it yourself, although, it's not really summer cuisine. One sees it rarely anymore, and too bad, because it really is a grand dish. Let us know whether you find it, and I'll be hot on your trail. Good luck.
Yes, this appears to be something that only a good Chef will prepare, and prepare well.
A HK fan? Yes.
But moreso a Nightmare fan to be honest.
So... always wanting to try something different, this has caught my fancy.
I therefore challenge any chef in Toronto to have a BW night and post it here.
The Toronto Foodies I am sure will be out in force.
And oh, I am contacting a couple of Executive Chefs in the area to see if they are up to a "BW Night".
Barberian's or Carman's should be able to do a BW night given enough notice and advance reservations to be fair. Let's see if their staff are up to it .
This "thread" remains open.
I've been watching this thread with some interest. Beef Wellington was the "in" special occasion dish when I began going to good restaurants many decades ago. If I was trying to impress a new girlfriend, Beef Wellington was usually on the menu. Yes, it can be a delicious dish and, no, it is not summer food.
But difficult? Beyond most chefs? Please... It is really a simple dish - just a variant on steak - and making a steak into beef Wellington tends to diminish the inherent qualities of a really good steak. It was, in its day, a clever way to turn a mediocre tenderloin steak, canned pate, and frozen puff pastry into an expensive "gourmet" dish. Some (very few) restaurants might use high end ingredients made from scratch. Most didn't.
I used to like it and, when I'm feeling suitably nostalgic, I'll whip one up. There is only one cooking issue: it can be tricky to bake a rare steak into a crispy, cooked through pastry shell. Tricky, but not difficult. A thick steak at fridge temperature, a hot oven, et voila. Get some PC puff pastry (contains butter) or, even better, Rahier. Get some Antoine's pate. Get some cremini and shitake mushrooms and some shallots. If you can cook, you can do it. Easily.
I suspect that one reason we don't see it around very much is that we have many more dishes - much more interesting dishes - to choose from at even mainstream mid-range restaurants. It disappeared from menus because people didn't order it anymore. So be sure that the chef who takes on this challenge gives you something worthwhile.
Will the meat be top quality, aged, marbled beef? Will it be a whole tenderloin that is sliced to serve or individual portions (which must be thick)? Will there be an all-butter pastry or one made with margarine/palm oil (which looks great but isn't the same)? Will there be real foie gras pate? Fresh mushrooms and shallots? How will it be sauced? (Truffles are appropriate, but not in season.)
There's nothing difficult about this dish. "Hot Dog Wellington" was once the signature dish at Izzie Shopsowitz's deli on Bay St. A Chicago 58 dog topped with chopped liver and baked in a knish pastry shell.
I was at the Pilot in Yorkville at lunch and they had Beef Wellington as a special so for the purpose of being a good hounder I ordered it.. It was $14 came with baked potato and green asparagus. I ordered it medium rare... chef ramsey would have thrown it at the chef :-)... it was cooked all the way through and the pastry had completely fallen of the beef when it was served. Now this is the Pilot and under $15 so I am not complaining... The meat was tender and tastey and the crust crispy. All in all A good pub meal but would rather have had it rarer..
I had this dish at Grace. I don't know if it's still on their menu. It was my first time having it. The portion was big and it was good, but I can't say it was my favourite dish at Grace.
On a different note, I heard that cooking meat en croute was like sous vide cooking. I definitely feel unconfortable with eating anything vacuum packed in plastic and cooked for a prolonged period of time. In pastry seems like a better way of achieving a similar effect, assuming the effect is similar.
I too have had a great version of Beef Wellington at Grace. They use chicken livers with the duxelles instead of just mushrooms, rich and delicious.
I wholeheartedly agree with embee, make it yourself, it's really easy. I nailed it first try, and I'm not a gifted chef. So have my friends.
Follow Ramsay's recipe for it, you can't go wrong.