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Apr 12, 2010 12:19 PM

What one order will expose the expertise of the kitchen?

I recently asked the owner of two of manhattan's best Italian restos what one item she would order from an italian restaurant that would immediately let her knowl her how good the kitchen was. Without hesitating, she said the carbonara

Next I asked a chef at Escoffier, the French resto at CIA, what one dish would tell him how good a French restaurant is. Surprisingly he said the omlette.

Your choice? From any cuisine.


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  1. When it comes to quality Mexican, it would have to be the tortillas.

    1. Italian: seafood risotto. This is a real tough dish to make well because getting the rice to be creamy but still have the texture of individual pieces of rice requires precision. Then throw in getting the seafood properly cooked (not overdone or underdone) and you have quite a challenge.

      1. Bobby Flay has potential chefs cook him an omelet.

        2 Replies
        1. re: raleighboy

          so does Gordon Ramsey


          Woops, no, Gordon Ramsey does scrabled eggs. Sorry.

          1. re: Soop

            I studied cooking with Madeline Kammen and on the first day you had to get up before the class and make an omelet.

        2. Albert Roux is supposed to have required anyone applying for a chef's job at La Gavroche to fry him an egg. He wanted to see how care was taken over something so simple.

          1. I believe it is usually the simplest of dishes that can foil the best of restaurant kitchens. Therefore my vote would go to a cheese souffle or a sole meuniere. Each involves classic french teachings of cooking with using minimal ingredients but unforgiving technique.