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Ideas Needed for Dinner Party: cooking at the table

piedsdesanges Jan 23, 2008 09:46 AM

I want to throw a dinner party where some of the cooking happens at the table. Yes, I know that's weird, but it's based on an in-joke for a friend.

Anyway, all i can come up with is fondue. Is there any there kind of at-the-table cooking I'm missing?


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  1. j
    jules127 RE: piedsdesanges Jan 23, 2008 09:52 AM

    Quite a few years ago I ate a Japanese restaurant and while I don't remember specifics it was a huge pot of simmering broth to which we added our beef and veggies and maybe noodles (very long time ago).

    3 Replies
    1. re: jules127
      Alan408 RE: jules127 Jan 23, 2008 09:59 AM

      That may have been sukiyaki.

      Another Japanese style dish is yakitori, a small hibachi cooking meat/fish/poultry/veggies on a stick. Be careful with ventilation.

      1. re: Alan408
        Night Owl RE: Alan408 Jan 23, 2008 11:18 AM

        Cooking meats, vegetables, etc. in a pot of simmering broth at the table is shabu shabu (Japanese) or Mongolian hot pot (Chinese). Yum, great for cold winter nights.

      2. re: jules127
        chowser RE: jules127 Jan 23, 2008 10:08 AM

        There are quite a few variations on this:


        It's great in winter.

      3. LindaWhit RE: piedsdesanges Jan 23, 2008 09:59 AM

        My father always used to make sukiyaki at the table in a large electric skillet.

        1. farmersdaughter RE: piedsdesanges Jan 23, 2008 10:05 AM

          Shabu Shabu is cooked at the table - I am not a Japanese food expert but basically it's thinly sliced beef, shrimp, etc. cooked in broth by the diners themselves at the table. My mom also adds udon and tofu and vegetables to the broth, and serves a couple dipping sauces alongside for the cooked protein, plus rice. I have no idea if that is the authentic way to do it.

          Korean BBQ is also cooked at the table (at least at the Korean restaurants I've been to). Again, I am not an expert but perhaps others know.

          1 Reply
          1. re: farmersdaughter
            piedsdesanges RE: farmersdaughter Jan 23, 2008 10:40 AM

            omg you guys are awesome!!! thanks so much for the ideas....

          2. ChefJune RE: piedsdesanges Jan 23, 2008 11:04 AM

            Steak Diane!

            1. n
              Night Owl RE: piedsdesanges Jan 23, 2008 11:20 AM

              not sure if this counts as cooking, but there's also raclette. info and great pic here:

              1 Reply
              1. re: Night Owl
                MMRuth RE: Night Owl Jan 23, 2008 11:21 AM

                That's a nice idea - and one can rent raclette makers, though I usually melt the cheese (Swiss, not the French, which isn't nearly as good) over boiled potatoes under the broiler.

              2. s
                Snowflake RE: piedsdesanges Jan 23, 2008 11:27 AM

                While it isn't cooked, it could be made at the table - How about Sushi? You could have different ingredients (rice, seaweed, wasabi, fish already sliced, veggies) and have people roll their own creations.

                1. stellamystar RE: piedsdesanges Jan 23, 2008 11:39 AM

                  If you own a "hot plate" - you can make crepes at the table. And, your guests can choose the filling - flip the crepes - onto the plates. Fun.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: stellamystar
                    chef chicklet RE: stellamystar Jan 23, 2008 01:03 PM

                    that was going to be my suggestion, could be yummy!

                  2. f
                    fern RE: piedsdesanges Jan 23, 2008 11:41 AM

                    Raclette! If you have access to a raclette grill it is *really* delicious and lots of fun. Easy, too. You will boil & skin potatoes and provide platters of sliced ham, mushrooms, leeks, shallots, onions, and whatever else sounds good to you and then diners melt their own cheese in individual trays that fit under the cooking surface of the grill. While the cheese is melting they can toss some sliced ham, mushrooms, leeks, whatever on the grill top. Pour the melted cheese over a potato on the plate, grind on a bit of black pepper and eat with cornichons, pickled onions, and whatever meat & veggies they've put on the grill. It is amazing and lots of fun. Folks just keep grilling and melting and eating, grilling, melthing and eating. We love it. g

                    Here's a link to grill:


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: fern
                      chef chicklet RE: fern Jan 25, 2008 07:31 AM

                      fern, that is a beautiful piece! Now why did you go and put that link up.....: )

                    2. r
                      Rhee RE: piedsdesanges Jan 23, 2008 11:50 AM

                      Its not cooked with heat, but restaurants used to prepare ceasar salad tableside. You could mix and toss your salad the same way. Also, a few weekends ago I prepared flaming bananas foster at tableside. It was a little theatre at the table. Everyone enjoyed the show.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Rhee
                        breakfastfan RE: Rhee Jan 23, 2008 11:57 AM

                        What about crepe suzettes? I clearly remember an episode of Julia Child's show with her making those for a party.

                        1. re: Rhee
                          kmills9408 RE: Rhee Jan 23, 2008 12:10 PM

                          Michael Chiarello has a great recipe for table side caesar salad. I cut up the romaine instead of leaving it whole.


                        2. Non Cognomina RE: piedsdesanges Jan 23, 2008 11:57 AM

                          Some ideas for desserts:

                          Whip cream at the table by hand. This is especially entertaining if alcohol has been involved in the meal.

                          Bananas Foster--a classic "tableside" dessert

                          Crepe Suzette--this might not be as entertaining as the Bananas Foster


                          Creme Brulee

                          And if you are doing Fondue, you can do a Chocolate Fondue for Dessert

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Non Cognomina
                            AnneM RE: Non Cognomina Jan 23, 2008 12:05 PM

                            You could also do paninis if you have a grill.

                            1. re: AnneM
                              chowser RE: AnneM Jan 23, 2008 12:07 PM

                              I was thinking paninis, too.

                              Oh, if you have a waffle maker, from ideas on this board, you could grill eggplant and make pizza waffles (Dorie Greenspan Waffles from Morning to Night). Then use brownie batter in the waffle maker for dessert w/ ice cream. That would be fun--a whole meal based on a waffle maker.

                              1. re: chowser
                                chef chicklet RE: chowser Jan 23, 2008 01:04 PM

                                Paninis would be a fun wonderful idea! Now I want to do this!

                                1. re: chef chicklet
                                  Non Cognomina RE: chef chicklet Jan 24, 2008 04:39 PM

                                  Ooooh, dessert paninis!

                                  Banana and Nutella Panini on Brioche

                                  Or Peanut Butter and Chocolate Panini on Brioche

                                  Or Caramel and Apple Panini or Cinnamon Raisin Bread

                                  Or Lemon Curd and Mango with Mint or Sourdough


                          2. hannaone RE: piedsdesanges Jan 23, 2008 02:38 PM

                            Many Korean meat dishes can be cooked at the table. Just depends on what equipment you have to cook with.
                            Bulgogi - Thin sliced marinated beef
                            GalBi - Cross cut beef short ribs
                            Pork Belly - Basically uncured/unsalted bacon

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: hannaone
                              chef chicklet RE: hannaone Jan 25, 2008 07:34 AM

                              Wow that looks great! Which is it?

                              1. re: chef chicklet
                                hannaone RE: chef chicklet Jan 25, 2008 08:27 AM

                                Bulgogi - Thin beef slices marinated and either grilled or stir fried.
                                This picture is stir fried with onions, carrots, brocoli, mushrooms, and green onions.

                            2. h
                              howchow RE: piedsdesanges Jan 23, 2008 02:46 PM

                              you could caramelize sugar on creme brulee with a mini blowtorch at the table.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: howchow
                                piedsdesanges RE: howchow Jan 23, 2008 08:28 PM

                                holy cow - i go away for a few hours and you all totally bring me amazing ideas! thank you, everyone, so much! this is awesome.

                                1. re: piedsdesanges
                                  kmills9408 RE: piedsdesanges Jan 24, 2008 09:09 AM

                                  Let us know what you choose and how it turns out. Good luck!

                                  1. re: piedsdesanges
                                    DGresh RE: piedsdesanges Jan 24, 2008 09:40 AM

                                    so are you going to let us in on the "inside joke"?

                                    1. re: DGresh
                                      newchow RE: DGresh Jan 24, 2008 02:57 PM

                                      I am also doing a Fondue party (dessert fondue) in a few nights. . .
                                      any suggesstions on what to serve TO DRINK!? All that chocolate and syrup and sweets I want to balance it with a great wine and another non-alcoholic beverage - ideas? THANKS!

                                2. goodhealthgourmet RE: piedsdesanges Jan 24, 2008 03:04 PM

                                  cook fajita fixings [& warm the tortillas] on a countertop grill/griddle & have guests assemble their own. prepare fresh guac at the table to go with them.

                                  1. g
                                    ginnyhw RE: piedsdesanges Jan 25, 2008 07:06 AM

                                    Julia Child did a whole TV show on this- she made steak Diane. I know this episode and recipe is in her Cookbook for that PBS series. I'm sure you could find it at the library.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ginnyhw
                                      ginnyhw RE: ginnyhw Jan 25, 2008 07:56 AM

                                      Here is a recipe


                                      Bananas Foster are cool too.

                                    2. f
                                      food.fiend RE: piedsdesanges Jan 25, 2008 08:25 AM

                                      check out the NYT's acrticle from yesterday on fondue!
                                      Everything looks delicious....

                                      1. Sam Fujisaka RE: piedsdesanges Jan 25, 2008 08:39 AM

                                        As mentioned above, shabu shabu or sukiyaki: requires making a cooking broth and cutting up a lot of ingredients beforehand--but is really fun for all.

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