What The Heck- They're Just Banana Pancakes, Right? RIIIIGHT.
- opinionatedchef Feb 2, 2014 06:07 PM
The truth is easy. The truth is that I am a type A diner. It's just not in my nature to put blind faith into a chef. I can be a fan of a chef, but show me the words, the menu description that convinces me to make the leap and order the dish. I know I'm not the only diner in the world like this. IIRC, not long ago, a CH posting on an Asta thread, ventured that she would have a hard time going to an expensive restaurant where the menu consisted of nouns, w/o descriptions, I.e. "Lamb loin, fennel, new potatoes". I know what she means. As stupid as it is, as much as i might have missed, I have not dined at Erbaluce or Craigie because they don't web post their specific daily menu.
I have mentioned before that I have a great appreciation for Chef Tim Maslow's talents, and also that Ribelle (like Strip T's) has menu descriptions that are very minimalistic and give little or no indication of the complex components in any given dish, the wonders that lie within. Well, come to find out, there's a reason for that. The latter, I mean. Tim wants you to trust him. He wants you to take a leap, and enjoy yourself.
Well, darned if that wasn't what we did today. My Love got that craaazy French toast w/ charred eggplant syrup and onion sugar, and scarfed up every bit (except the 2 bites I was lucky to sample.)
And I.... well I ,of course, got the aforementioned Banana Bread Pancakes. But the thing is, I NEVER order pancakes out. Because in my experience, they're never worth ordering (ymmv). But in this instance, I was at Ribelle, and i was putting my faith in Tim Maslow.
And man oh man, THIS was epiphany time. The manager and the waitpeople will all tell you the same thing- these pancakes start with banana bread which is baked and then chopped, toasted and ground up into a 'flour' , which is the base for the pancakes. But what you might not hear is that that process is only the beGINning. To the banana bread 'flour' is added 2 other types of flour, and then, the other clincher. It turns out that the inspiration for this dish was the 'souffle pancakes' that young Tim was made by his father, Paul. When it came time to make his first brunch pancakes for Ribelle, Tim wanted the lightness achieved by beaten egg whites, but he wanted a stable batter that could be used throughout the brunch service as it was (i.e. that did not require beaten egg whites to be folded in for each order. Argggggh!!) So he created an Italian meringue (sugar syrup of a certain temperature drizzled into beaten egg whites to create a stable shiny meringue- that could be folded into the batter and hold its volume, creating a light, airy, major tender pancake. With an intense banana flavor. Now dehydrate an olive oil/maple syrup mixture and grind it into a sweet powder, and create unctuous by slathering on sweet butter mixed w/ the dark flavor of cocoa nibs.
O.K. I'm done. But now you know what the Banana Bread Pancakes really are. And why I completely stopped talking and had such a bewildered grin on my face as I tucked into my plate earlier this afternoon. Like some other epiphanies, those pancakes may never be like this again. But that's o.k. because i had them this once, and I learned our new mantra, "In Tim We Trust."