Where to buy fine dining-style plates (large plate with small bowl center)?
I'm trying to find a source for some plates and serving vessels that are in the style of what many fine dining restaurants are currently using. These are mainly for serving smaller courses, and one of the things I'm looking for most is the vessel that is like a large plate that gradually slopes down to a rather small bowl in the center, which is where the actual dish is served.
Does anyone have any leads? Is there a specific name for this? I'm in the middle of nowhere, so it would have to be an online source. Let me know if I was too vague or didn't describe the types of plates I'm talking about.
We had a meal at a restaurant in Montreal some years ago where we were served a dish in this kind of plate/bowl. We were so taken with it, that we went to the restaurant supply store in Montreal where they had come from and shlepped a dozen home. Subsequently, we saw the same thing in a restaurant supply store in Westchester, NY, which has since closed. I think they are out there if you can physically get yourself to a restaurant supply store. They were not very expensive. One thing is that they tend to be fairly unstable -- if someone leans on the rim, they tip over.
A really nice line of restaurant-inspired shapes is Point from Raynaud. Thomas Keller helped develop this range and the pieces make for very dramatic presentations. I'm pretty sure you will be pleased with this stuff.
Raynaud is definitely up there in price, but I've also found some on eBay and also saved at Bloomingdale's by purchasing with coupons.
Wow, you guys are amazing! Thanks to all of you for the suggestions and links--this was all extremely helpful. Thanks again!
So I guess this type of dinnerware doesn't have any kind of common name? Based on your suggestions and links, I've seen it called all kinds of things, but all different!
Hmmm... Nice looking! I will have to go check this out and compare to Bernardaud quality. It's quite a bit less expensive. Had some people over this evening and an appetizer plate was broken. Somewhat painful, but at least I had paid bargain ebay auction prices rather than French retail for that particular plate. And I would rather use them than simply look at them behind glass.
MS's post also reminds me that Crate and Barrel has carried some pieces that are similar to Bernardaud Fusion called "Cuisine Dinnerware"
These plates may be part of the line that SLT has produced for themselves to offer as a less expensive alternative to Revol, one of the venerable old French porcelain companies that, along with Apilco and Pillivuyt, have been around for at least 100 years or more. Bernardaud is as old as they are but known more for its luxury lines.
If you're buying from Bernardaud's Hotel and Restaurant group however, its probably comparable in quality to Revol et al.
Crate and Barrel has their own porcelain too, similar to the SLT house brand, that is less expansive than classics offered by the old-line companies.
This SLT appetizer bowl is a pretty trendy item and may look dated in a few years. It's not something that I'd put out a lot of cash for, but it's fun to have now if you entertain often and serve those types of appetizers.
Classic white porcelain is always a good buy, although trendy shapes and styles are often discontinued, so you may not be able to count on being able to replace them in the future. But you may have moved on by then anyway.
Agreed. Though one person's trendy may be another person's classic.
Before Bernardaud came out with the Naxos and Fusion lines, I had mainly Revol, Apilco, Pillivuyt and other similar knock-off porcelain pieces.
Up to that point, I had never found a "china" pattern that appealed to me. But many of those pieces were thicker and heavier porcelain than I wanted or needed. Naxos and Fusion can go in the dishwasher, just as the Revol, etc. do.
I really like fairly thin clean-style pieces. I never connected with colored patterns, or gold or silver trims on china. For me, white porcelain pieces in different shapes looks far more classic than the more frou-frou designs. I understand that others feel differently.
That said, I also have a flip side and have a smaller amount of country french, italian and portuguese white and off-white pieces from manufacturers like Casafina. Also a bit safer to use with some guests.
I use the white porcelain as a backbone. Indestructable and goes with everything from pizza to fancy dinners.
But I also have Deruta, ornate Limoge, Wedgewood, and other stuff. No reason why everything has to match on the table or from course to course. The porcelain is easier to mix in than bone china which is more durable, but of course, much more expensive, and a little to starkly white for easy blending. At least to my eye.
I've got lots of sets of plates for appetizers and dessert. They match nothing at all and were either inherited or picked up at estate, church rummage, or garage sales over the years. Just 4 or 6 or 8 small plates from the turn of the last century or the 1930s or 50s or something bright that caught my eye.
It's fun to be able to vary table settings.
I can't even imagine having "good china" that you only pull out at Christmas or when the Big Boss comes over for supper. What a waste!
Just use the stuff! If it breaks, so be it! You only live once, so you should live well.
You're right that even the most out-of-date trendy items can be repurposed creatively. They often look so distinctive when used in new ways with flair.
I have Berndaud's Fusion Blanc (some stores call it Fusion White).
I was buying a few pieces a year in France and bringing them back home with me on the plane until the Euro/dollar and airline carry-on rules began to defeat me. Now I buy at a local store during its annual sale, or on ebay when a piece I want pops up.
Also in the line are flat plates with different sized centers called "Shogun". The best way to see these pieces is on Bernardaud's web site. These pieces are sold at retail stores as well as to the hotel and restaurant trades. I am using the hotel and restaurant link because the best visual images are there, along with the dimensions of the pieces:
click on Fusion. A PDF will appear with the various pieces. On the first pages are the types of pieces I think you've described (Shogun and Pacific)
ryan, it sounds to me as though you do not mean ordinary chargers or service plates...so did you do a search of restaurant supply sites?
Also, a long shot, but in order at least to find out the proper term for the item, you might try checking online with some of the higher-end retailers who offer complete dinnerware services. I'm thinking of Tiffany, Cartier, Geary's... Try Lux, Bond & Green, too; its china offerings are quite extensive.
Also, you never know...try several variations of your search on Kovel's or ebay and maybe a photo showing the item's name will come up.
Thanks for the response. I have browsed some restaurant supply sites and some higher end retailers, but keep coming up empty handed.
I've attached a photo of an example what I'm talking about. If this type of dinnerware has a specific name, I'd love to know--that would make my search much easier!