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How to avoid sous vide?

We had dinner at Blue Hill At Stone Barns the other night. What an amazing place, and yet they keep the dining room so dim that we have to have flashlights to see our food! And the flashlights are so dim they are no help reading the menu. But, then, you have no choices so why do they give you a menu anyway?

We ate there before, just over a year ago, and I liked it - except for the darkness, I wrote the restaurant about that, but received no response - but, I just realized the other night that almost everything is "cooked" sous vide.

I don't like sous vide. Everything feels the same in your mouth. It is too perfect looking and uniform feeling. I am not confident with the health safety issues. I think it is icky. And I strongly believe that if a restaurant is going to serve you sous vide food you should be told (warned) in advance.

The first time that I was aware of having sous vide was at The French Laundry. We were so looking forward to the lamb dish! And it arrived, perfect, uniform, blah. We were shocked. I did not realize that it was sous vide until later. I called the restaurant a few weeks after we dined there and they confirmed it was a sous vide preperation.

When you go to a restaurant they tell you if your meat or seafood is grilled or steamed or baked - sometimes they even give you a choice - but sous vide is kept secret until you ask "how did you cook this?"

Life is messy. So should be food. I don't like sous vide. I don't want to eat it. Is it taking over? Is there anyway - other than letters that will be ignored - of letting the restaurants know that not everyone is taken in by this emperor's new clothes of cooking?

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  1. There's a step missing here:

    1. you don't like sous vide because it tastes blah (among other reasons).
    2. Blue Hill (apparently) cooks most of their dishes sous vide.
    3. you liked the food at Blue Hill.

    Eh?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Amadaun

      I was not clear. I liked the experience. The farm at BH@SB is remarkable, beautiful, inspiring. We spent a long afternoon touring and studying the farm, admiring the gardens, and watching the pigs wallow. I bought some delicious and beautiful produce at the little "farmer's market". The buildings are stunning and the restorations done to them are well-done. Afterward, we had dinner. So, yes, it really is a remarkable experience.

      The sous vide portions of the food are served with sauces and vegetables, so there are good flavours and bites around the unfortunate textures. When I experienced that texture and mouth-feel before I thought it was just my reaction to a certain cut or preparation. And politely removed the meat to my companion's plate. I did not realize that it was the way all the protein was supposed to be like.

      Also, the wine was good and the bread was really good, so my objection is to just the sous vide portion of the meal and experience at BH-etc.

      That, and the dim lighting.

    2. It sounds to me like they didn't reheat long enough. When restaurants don't - and it happens often - that's the sort of feeling you get. Like something cut nicely and prepared as you would like it, and still tender, but not fresh out of the oven. If it was firmly just kinda warm, it's not right.

      They don't inform you because it's really frowned upon by the board of health (and entirely against health code in most municipalities), and rightly so, for the reasons you already know. The issue I have with it (and I do it at home for my friends and family rather than at work for my guests,) is that every dittohead chef in the country now feels the need to cook this way.

      1 Reply
      1. re: almansa

        Interesting, thanks.
        Yes, the sv chicken was served after a sv walleye. It looked the same, like a squared off marshmallow. It needed some crunch, crisp, carmelization, chickenizing! Just not right. Thanks.

      2. Yes, you don't go to restaurants that serve food cooked sous vide.

        5 Replies
        1. re: ccbweb

          Right, how do you do that?
          The restaurants don't tell you in advance. They don't advertise it. It is not on the menu.
          I was surprised to find that a place like BH@SB would use that technique. The farm, the gardens, the natural process of how the food is grown, did not lead me to suspect that they would then process the harvest in plastic bags.
          If restaurants don't tell you, how do you avoid it?

            1. re: paulj

              or almost any kind of 'ethnic' food.

            2. re: cayuga

              Call and ask. Or don't go to restaurants. I mean, the way you've set this one up is impossible, literally. If you can't know in advance and/or you believe they won't tell you that they use the technique then there's no way you could possibly choose a restaurant that meets your preferences. Thus, don't go. Or, call and ask and if you believe them or believe that you will have sufficient choices of food prepared the way you'd prefer, then go as usual.

          1. Yes, sous vide is a desperate alternative for mediocre chefs looking to hawk a gimmick, rather than good food. But if you call a restaurant they're rather obligated to give you a straight answer. And if I don't like a restaurant I just kiss it off.

            5 Replies
            1. re: mpalmer6c

              Thanks.
              I think I will kiss off the restaurant BH@SB. But not their farm and gardens!

              The servers acted so uncomfortable and suspicious when I asked how the food was prepared. I got the impression that they thought I was out to get them - but I just wanted to know how a piece of chicken could look and taste the way they served it.

              Yes, in the future I will ask when I make reservations.

              My fear now is that the sloppy, messy, not so precise, chefs in the rural-ish area I live in will take up the technique and there will be deadly and icky consequences.

              1. re: mpalmer6c

                Except, of course, if the restaurant isn't advertising that they use it, then they're not possibly hawking a gimmick.

                1. re: mpalmer6c

                  Are you mad 'mediocre chefs' ? lets be honest here low temp cookery has been around for years and has been done by the best restaurants and chefs globally for decades. The term sous vide is incorrect as sous vide means under pressure and to cook at low temp or in a bag you do not need to cook sous vide.

                  I do agree that many mediocre chefs use sous vide as a new toy, something they have read about in books, seen of TV and do not have a real understanding of the ingredient and the ideal core temp required.

                  There's nothing wrong with sous-vide, low temp cooking or any sort of cooking if done right

                  1. re: chefhart

                    You're resurrecting an old thread, but I have to point out that your french translation is incorrect. Sous vide does not mean under pressure. In fact, its the opposite. Under vacuum - no pressure. Pressure is pression.

                    1. re: Bkeats

                      So technically the name refers to the use of the vacuum sealer, not the cooking method itself. The vacuum ensures a good thermal contact between the hot water and the food. It may also help infuse the meat with the flavorings.

                2. Sous vide is a method. It can be done poorly or well. But saying that you don't like sous vide is like saying that you don't like braising. It's a silly statement.

                  If you're concerned about food safety, educate yourself. Not on the local health department's regulations, but on microbiology. The information is readily available. FWIW, you probably don't want to eat a rare burger that's been cooked sous vide. A rack of lamb, on the other hand, is a whole 'nother matter.

                  It's true that lots of bad food has been prepared sous vide. In fact, its primary application is still institutional. Most stuff you got served on airplanes (when airlines still served food) was prepared sous vide.

                  There's nothing "emperor's new clothes" about it. It's a well-established cooking method. Avoid places that do it poorly, just as you'd avoid places that can't pan-roast or bake things properly. But don't avoid the method. Done well, it's part of a good chef's repertoire.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    "saying that you don't like sous vide is like saying that you don't like braising. It's a silly statement."

                    I agree completely AB. As usual your post was spot on

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      At least when you have a braised dish they tell you that it is so.

                      Sous vide is kind of a secret. They tell you if you ask.

                      I don't like food preparation to be a secret.

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        some people don't like boiled meat. that's not silly, just a preference. sous vide is the same. it shouldn't be hard for most people to understand this.

                        of course you can combine sous vide with other techniques, but i don't think that was the point of the original post.

                        you can always ask how something is prepared. that's a typical question. at a good restaurant the wait staff should be able to answer the question.

                      2. re: alanbarnes

                        I understand that it is a method. I am very well-educated, in general and in regards to sous vide.

                        Sous vide and braising cannot be compared - and I would not make snide remarks towards someone who didn't like braising, we are all entitled to our own tastes and preferences, and if someone said that they do not like braising it is not silly it is a personal expression.

                        I explained some of my objections to sous vide. And my reasons are not silly. They are personal.

                        I have had rack of lamb done sous vide at The French Laundry and found it repulsive.

                        If I did not like braised food and I was in a restaurant that offered a braised dish vs. a grilled dish, I could avoid the braised dish. You cannot do that with sous vide. It's hush hush.

                        I'm not telling you or others that they should avoid food prepared that way. But I find it to be a great boon to restaurants and a loss to this particular consumer. I'd prefer to avoid it.

                        1. re: cayuga

                          HELLO, MY NAME IS JFOOD AND I DO NOT LIKE SOUS VIDE. There he feels better as well, so silly him, oy.

                          jfood agrees with you on sous vide and avoids whenever possible. The texture reminds jfood of the liver his mother made growing up, blech.

                          If people like that good for them, jfood will do a snagglepuss as well. Give him a good solid braise anytime, now that's cooking.

                          And again, jfood turned down another invite to BH on Friday night. He knows he will probably not enjoy as much as others and the drive and cost does not make him want to venture that faqr for that much.

                          1. re: cayuga

                            If you're well educated with regard to sous vide, then you probably know that food can be prepared at any temperature short of boiling for any length of time, and other cooking methods (roasting, sauteeing, deep-frying) can be used in conjunction with sous vide. Thus, there is a huge range of flavors and textures that can be produced by sous vide cooking. Because the range is so great, it is improbable that you actually dislike all of those dishes.

                            Based on comments in your follow-up posts, it appears that you dislike the stuff that has been cooked with a long, low-temp bath and nothing else. I'm not a big fan of that application, myself. Done well it tends to be uninspiring; done poorly (as it all too often is), the flavor and texture of the food are dreadful.

                            But that doesn't that sous vide can't produce some delicious results. I'd be willing to bet that you've unknowingly eaten plenty of food in which sous vide cooking has played some role. You may have even enjoyed some of it.

                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              don't hate the technique, hate the hack who prepares it badly. like all techniques good chefs are either masterfull or not. french laundry, blue hill, give it a name. poor execution is just that.

                        2. I think it's perfectly legit to say you don't like sous vide as a cooking preparation, in particular it sounds like the OP is saying he doesn't like meat/protein done that way. Perhaps having veggies or some other foods done that way (assuming they cook other things besides protein sous vide) might be pleasant. I can see what the OP and jfood are saying about the texture being unpleasant with meat, especially if you are looking for the nice mouth-feel of something char-broiled, braised, fried, whatever.

                          For example, I am not a big fish lover, but I love fried fish. I could eat just about any fish breaded and fried, except salmon, which has too strong of a flavor for me to like in any preparation. I *can* eat fish grilled, but I eat about 1/4 the amount. Poached fish, forget about it, can't eat it. Maybe one bite. Sous vide fish I would NOT like, I wouldn't even bother trying it. It's a texture issue.

                          To me, it's "interesting" but if I were brought my protein before dinner and asked a choice of several ways I'd like it to be prepared, sous vide would be last. I don't want meat cooked in a water bath inside a plastic bag, it's just not going to have a pleasant texture to me, the texture I want when I eat meat.

                          And I don't get the point of "starting" it sous vide then finishing another more conventional way. If the finishing method is necessary to make the dish palatable for diners, perhaps the sous vide method of starting it isn't such a good idea after all?

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: rockandroller1

                            "And I don't get the point of "starting" it sous vide then finishing another more conventional way. If the finishing method is necessary to make the dish palatable for diners, perhaps the sous vide method of starting it isn't such a good idea after all?" You have hit the vacuum sealed plastic bag on the head. (Duck!!! What a mess: sorta like Gallagher whacking that watermelon w/ a mallet...) Adam

                            1. re: rockandroller1

                              One thing that a lot of chefs seem to be doing lately is cooking meat at low temperature until it turns to mush. IMHO, that's just bad cooking. But you can ruin a dish on the stovetop or in the oven just as easily (and much more quickly) as in a sous vide bath. Bad cooking has far less to do with the cooking implement than with the cook.

                              And I can't agree with you that using two cooking methods in preparing a single dish means that one of them was a bad idea in the first place. A braise is by definition a combination of high dry heat (the browning phase) and low wet heat (the stewing phase). The classic way to pan-roast a steak is to start it in a hot skillet on the stove and finish it in the oven. Many people roast beef or poultry starting at high temperatures and finishing at low temperatures (or vice versa). And let's don't even get started with Chinese cookery, where vegetables routinely get a quick dip in boiling water before being stir-fried.

                              The point of starting food sous vide and finishing it with high heat is simple. Sous vide results in very even cooking with minimal loss of fat and moisture. High heat results in caramelization. Sometimes you want both of those things in the same dish.

                              A classic application is foie gras - if you cook it over medium-high heat until it's done, you'll see shrinkage of up to 50% or more. George Pralus discovered 30+ years ago that If you cook it sous vide, there's almost no loss. You can then sear it with very high heat for a very short period of time to obtain a nice golden crust, and voila - delicious foie gras, and a lot more of it.

                              Similarly, a rack of lamb can be put in a marinade and cooked sous vide to your desired degree of doneness (mid-rare for me, please). A quick finish on a grill or under a broiler, and you have perfect rosy meat that comes all the way out to the perfect brown exterior crust. What could be better?

                              Starting a dish sous vide is especially useful in commercial kitchens, since you can use the method to cook food almost to completion and hold it there without overcooking. That rack of lamb is going to take half an hour if you roast it conventionally, more if you slow-roast it. But if it's sitting in a 125F bath, all it takes is a couple of minutes under the salamander and it's ready to go out the kitchen door.

                              In short, sous vide is just one more tool in a chef's toolbox. There's nothing wonderful or terrible about it, any more than there's anything wonderful or terrible about a saute pan. What matters isn't the tool the chef chooses, but how s/he puts it to use.

                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                Thanks, you offer lots to consider.

                                And, I agree, it's another "tool" and does not deserve to be exhaulted or snorted at. But, if a chef or restaurant is hiding the use of sous vide, it makes me uncomfortable and suspicious.

                                I don't want to have to ask how a meat or fish was prepared. I don't want the waiter to look at me with suspicion and concern. I would like the information on the menu - or told to me when presented with the dish.

                                I realize now that I have had sous vide fois gras - and enjoyed it. But, as someone who loves food and food preparation, it annoys me that I was not let in on the secret so that I could fully understand what I was eating - and that understanding is part of the enjoyment to me.

                                1. re: cayuga

                                  It's also not the cooking method's fault that restaurants and waitstaff are -- at least in your experience -- being secretive about it. That's just bad service!

                                  1. re: cayuga

                                    Cayuga, the problem here is that you want everything.

                                    You don't want your food prepared in a particular manner AND you want to know in advance how a restaurant prepares it food. You even went so far as to say you didn't have to want to call to find out.

                                    I don't like barbecue that's not made using a smoker and wood. To me, it's not barbecue. Because of this, when I'm not in Texas or Oklahoma I don't order barbecue. I don't complain that the barbecue ribs at Chili's haven't been smoked and are still called "barbecue ribs". I don't refuse to call places in advance if I'm unsure.

                                    If you feel that strongly about it, you should care enough to do the legwork necessary to avoid it.

                                    1. re: mahalan

                                      So, you wouldn't like sous vide barbeque, would you?

                                      I am trying to figure out how to "do the legwork" on something that is being sneaked in on unknowing diners.

                                      I don't want "everything", what ever that means, I simply want to know how food is processed before I eat it. And, Blue Hill at Stone Barns is coy and cagey about it and it puts me off.

                                    2. re: cayuga

                                      You're holding sous vide up to a different standard because you have something against it.

                                      You wouldn't expect a restaurant to describe the cooking methods used on every element on the plate! Otherwise instead of "Rack of Lamb with Glazed Peas and Carrots and Lamb Sauce," the menu would say this:

                                      New Zealand Rack of Lamb, aged for two weeks, then brined in a 10% salt solution for one hour, then dried and refrigerated until service, then sauteed in canola oil to brown, then basted in butter, then transferred to a low oven to finish cooking, then rested on c-fold towels, then sliced and served; with carrots, peeled, blanched in boiling water until crisp-tender, then shocked in ice water, then refrigerated until service, then warmed in butter with a bit of chicken stock added to glaze; with fresh English peas which have been shucked, then blanched in boiling water, then shocked in ice water, then warmed in a pan; with a sauce made by roasting lamb bones, then simmering them in veal stock for many hours, then reducing this liquid down and refrigerating it, then warming it in a sauce pan on the stove and mounting it with lots of butter.

                                      And that's an extremely simple example compared to the complex food being done at most fine dining restaurants these days. You would never expect a restaurant to disclose whether a braise was done on the stove versus in the oven. Why should they specify if the braise was done in a temperature-controlled liquid instead? You don't expect restaurants to "disclose" whether vegetables were blanched before being warmed for service. You don't expect them to disclose whether your piece of "sauteed filet mignon" was finished by baking to cook it through. You're holding sous vide to a higher standard.

                                      Furthermore, you claim to be educated about sous vide. But at best, you're only talking about a very small subset of sous vide food: proteins, cooked in vacuum bags, at low temperatures. What about pork belly cooked sous vide at 185F then crisped up in a hot cast iron skillet? What about asparagus vacuum-sealed and then blanched and shocked to retain more flavor than blanching directly in water? What about if the lamb got a hard sear after the dip in the water bath? What about slow-cooked eggs at exactly 63.5C? What about short ribs cooked sous vide for 48 hours until medium rare but fork tender, then seared and glazed with reduced veal stock?

                                      You're addressing such a small sliver of the sous vide possibilities that even if a restaurant told you something was cooked sous vide, you wouldn't know without further questioning whether you in fact wouldn't enjoy it.

                                      In fact, most likely, many of the vegetables that you enjoyed at BH@SB were also cooked sous vide. And the vast majority of proteins that are cooked sous vide in fine dining restaurants are finished using a high-heat cooking method, and they turn out just like traditional cooking methods except more consistent.

                                      So I guess we're all just trying to figure out whether you don't like sous vide, or just don't like poached food that hasn't been seared after poaching. And we're trying to figure out why you think sous vide is special in that restaurants should have to disclose their use of the technique even though they don't disclose the technique of almost anything else.

                                      It's as if you usually only dine at Red Lobster, where you can have the catch of the day your choice of grilled, steamed, or fried.

                                      1. re: barzelay

                                        Great write up (other than the last sentence which was IMO not necessary). I totally agree, sous vide is a cooking method - after I bought the Thomas Keller book I did a little experimenting (some more successful than others). I think it has its place, but I have no biases against any cooking method (even *gasp* microwave).

                                        Ultimately, it's how it looks and tastes that determines whether the preparation was successful.

                                2. Thomas Keller has a whole book out on sous vide. I'm not surprised The French Laundry would prepare food in this method.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: MrsT

                                    I hear the book is a best seller. ;)

                                    1. re: DallasDude

                                      DallasDude:
                                      Wow, sous vide lives on yet another thread!
                                      "It needed some crunch, crisp, carmelization, chickenizing!"(OP quote) to which I add "some heft, some chew, some beefiness."
                                      It's the current hot trend and chefs always want a reason to be hip and play. Wait a few years.

                                      Oh, I forgot-I caught Dinner Impossible last night on FN when I was trying to fall sleep and Robert Irvine butter-poached brisket. That's right.

                                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                                        I love you, bushwickgirl, but wan't Irvine busted for fudging his resume? Erm, never mind. At least he's not Rachael Ray. Butter paoched brisket sound delicious.

                                        1. re: DallasDude

                                          That does sound good - sort of like confit de boeuf!

                                          1. re: DallasDude

                                            Thanks (blush!)
                                            The brisket looked beautiful, tender slicing but not falling apart. He put dry rub on them, which looked like 90% papricka, and submerged them in melted butter. Unfortuntely, I didn't see if they were oven poached or what (assume so).
                                            "confit de boeuf" as BobB says!

                                            Irvine's back in good graces with FN.

                                      2. re: MrsT

                                        I found the info in the other thread (that got shut down) quite interesting so I ordered the Thomas Keller book. Very good read, beautifuly pictures and totally impractical recipes (i.e. I would have no hope of reproducing them) but it did have a lot of good information.

                                        He writes about "overcooking" meats using sous vide, so that it still looks medium rare, but it will "feel overcooked and taste unpleasant". I wonder if that's what OP was referring to, it seems like some people think meats can be held at 140 degrees for long periods using sous vide because it stays at the constant medium-rare temperature.

                                        He also goes over the food safety procedures as well, and it sound pretty basic (serve immediately or chill using an ice bath for quickest cooling). I think it would be really interesting to experiment. I've had sous vide fish in a restaurant and I found it really good. The books says that fish can be cooked within 10-15 mins so it was likely only put into the water bath when I ordered it.

                                        I think it's a cooking/reheating method that has its place, avoiding sous vide is like avoiding microwaved. No restaurant will say it does it but you know they all do, and as long as it doesn't compromise the final product it really shouldn't matter.

                                        1. re: hsk

                                          I don't want to eat stuff that's been heated in plastic. Maybe that's just me. :-/

                                      3. We had an exquisite meal when we visited Nashville recently, at a newish place called Miel. Mrs. O's roasted chicken and a friend's grilled flatiron steak had both been precooked sous vide, then finished via oven and grill, respectively. There was nothing mushy or blah about either one - they tasted and chewed more or less as one would normally expect them to, but they had a depth of flavor and a kind of succulence that made them supernormal, I suppose you could say. While the menu does not mention the sous vide part of the process, the owners and the waiters will tell you about it readily. Long may they prosper - I want to go back next year!

                                        1. Ugh. I had never heard of this till now....but I can tell you this: on the rare occasions I tried cooking something in MY cryovac'd bags (I have good quality vacuum sealer) I'm positive I could taste the plastic in the food.

                                          Why the HELL pay good money for what is, essentially, a "Boil In Bag" meal? What's next?
                                          Expensive "Shake And Bake" and "Jiffy-Pop"?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Beckyleach

                                            Beckyleach, it's not the same thing as boiling in a bag. Essentially, the concept is that you slowly cook the food in water heated to the proper final temperature you want to achieve in the food. If you want your fish cooked to 140, you cook it in water kept at a tightly-controlled 140.

                                            It's a revelation when done right. I can still taste a piece of black cod I had years ago that had the most amazingly precise texture and seasoning. Will says it well: It's supernormal when done right.

                                            1. re: dmd_kc

                                              I would still wonder about off-gassing and transmission of the various compounds such as PVCs and so forth, that comprise the plastic, though, wouldn't you? I realize 140 degrees isn't *hot* hot, but I've had water from even high quality water bottles, for instance, that have gotten hot from sitting in the sun, and can taste the plastic.

                                              I'll guess I'll have to find a restaurant that does this well and see for myself. ;-)

                                          2. I think a chef's skill comes into play with sous vide just as with any other method of preparation. One fact that has to be dealt with is if the food is cooked to the perfect temperature, then it's going to start cooling between the moment it comes out of the sous vide bag and it's arrival on the diner's table - too cold. So, perhaps a quick saute in a pan will give the outside some character while raising the temperature enough to insure it's palatable to the diner.

                                            1. Sous vide is only used in a (vast) minority of cuisines. Besides calling the restaurant ahead and checking if they do or do not use the technique, one can go for other cuisines to avoid it.

                                              1. Can't. I work at a self-proclaimed gastropub: think fries, burgers, truffled mac 'n cheese. We use sous-vide extensively to cut down cooking time.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: jaykayen

                                                  Hey! Could you tell me how this gastro-pub you worked for cooked large amounts of sous vide at a time? Also what was the name of the machine the gastropub used??

                                                  We're opening up a restaurant and want to sous vide all of our meat. Problem is, most of the machines we've found at too small!

                                                  Would help us so much if you could let us know!!! Thank you!! :)

                                                  1. re: skahn24

                                                    You don't need to buy expensive 'SV' equipment. Buy an expensive vacuum sealer and use best quality rolls of the plastic. A couple of large stock pots. Fit each with an emerson water circulator. Experiment with the ingredients visa vi cooking time/temp. Find out where on the back of the stove top the pots can be positioned to maintain the correct continuos temp. I was in a restaurant kitchen that does a lot of 'SV' this way. They had an ingenious way of keeping track of which bags had been in the water long enough and were ready to removed. They snapped on a little color coded stainless clip to each bag. Someone referred to their note pad: "OK Bill. The yellow bags are ready to take out now and I'll tell you when the red bags need to be taken out in about half an hour".

                                                    1. re: Puffin3

                                                      Depends on what your cooking. Not sure how long it would take to find a sweet spot of say 132 to do a bunch of thick medium rare steaks and not have it drift to 140 which would change the end results quite a bit. Somethings are not so critical but somethings are.

                                                      Salmon can be done in the kitchen sink with hot tap water

                                                      Funny this went from how to avoid sous vide to how to do mass quantities. Maybe a new thread would be good.

                                                2. How do you avoid sous-vide?

                                                  Well, the first thing is to stay on top of things..

                                                  1. Sous vide is usually not... blah. The problem is also, that you can achieve big differences, when you are finishing a dish.
                                                    See, a sous vide chicken breast [or thighs] finished in a frying pan with very hot oil is blistering juicy and not overcooked - though supercrispy outside. It will taste intensively like chicken [without being chicken'y - if they use good fresh chicken]. Then you can have a sous vide veal, which is just sous vide and is soft and tender as a poached tenderloin.
                                                    You could have sous vide cooked food, which went very short [45 minutes to 1,5h] in the bath and it will have the original texture - only being properly cooked [for tender meats], or you have a very long cooked piece of meat, in which the tough tendons and other parts became gelatinous and juicy [e.g. shortribs].
                                                    The varieties of textures from SV dish to SV dish can be huge!

                                                    From the health risk, if only normal hygienic standards and common sense was applied, you should be pretty save. Yeah- not the recommended temperatures were used, but these would anyway lead to overly dry meat. And the longer times [compared to traditional cooking] will make sure, that the product is surely pasteurised.

                                                    The only thing, which I came across, which I definitely didn't like is SV fish. I tried different temperatures, different times, and while it is always juicy, it is also very soft - often mushy.
                                                    There are also some other things, I could not get right: e.g. venison [which tasted "oily" and didn't really improved].

                                                    Overall sous vide is the cooking "method" of the future [or better said of the present] - as it controls the cooking variables exactly. There were few things, even a seasoned chef could not 100% pull off and with sous vide even a not so experienced chef can do now.
                                                    On the other hand, some chefs are just overdoing it a bit. And they do everything the same [which make no sense - different cuts and different dishes would need different temperatures and different times].

                                                    I am actually doubt, that you could "taste" a proper cooked SV dish [that it is cooked sous vide]. Meat always supposed to be tender, not overcooked... and if it is mushy, it is clearly overcooked [in SV not temperature but time]. But if it is on the spot, it can be magical.