I realize this entry may bring me under a good amount of heat. I expect to hear dissenters. So before I begin the blog, let me say upfront: I enjoy most, if not all these dishes. I just don’t really understand all the hype and why they are so profilic in the restaurant world.
I eat out a lot. And when you eat out as much as I do, you start to see a lot of the same dishes pop up restaurant to restaurant, menu to menu. It’s almost like the chef’s creativity chip took a vacation that day and he decided, “Eh, people like this. It’s an easy win. A low-hanging fruit in the restaurant business.” Call me a food snob, but I expect more from you chefs. If we were talking about the music industry, I might even call you a sell out! So which are the Top 5 Most Overrated or Overdone Dishes? Here’s my best take. Feel free to agree, disagree, suggest your own, or tell me where I “have to go” to try a rendition that will change my mind:
1) Ahi Tuna Tartare – coming in with the blue ribbon, this dish is probably on 7 out of 10 restaurant menus in some form or fashion in SF. Don’t get me wrong. I actually love tuna. I love tuna tacos, tuna sashimi, heck, I even enjoy ahi tuna tartare. But that does not mean I want to see it on every single restaurant menu. With so many other fish in the sea, why not branch out a bit? Test your customers? Intrigue them. Or at least intrigue me. This is San Francisco after all. Food mecca. Your customers can take it.
2) Flourless Chocolate Cake – I can already hear a number of girls groaning as they read this. Yes, girls, we have a passion for chocolate. I ate chocolate at 10AM today following my coffee! But whenever I go out to eat and I see flourless chocolate cake on the menu (most likely with a raspberry coulis and vanilla bean creme sauce) I think to myself, “Really?! Are we customers that predicatable?” Chocolate can be served in so many other ways. Let’s take it up a notch!
3) Butternut Squash ravioli – Okay, I may be a bit biased here. I prefer savory to sweet, I don’t like mixing the two when I eat for the most part. I have to ask, what ever happened to good old-fashioned sausage stuffed ravioli? Or if you don’t eat red meat, lobster/shrimp stuffed ravioli? For you vegetarians? I have seen much more creative options – nettle ravioli for instance. I think most ingredients, when pureed and placed inside a pocket of dough, will taste pretty darn good. I understand that maybe the chef was trying to be “different” with butternut squash. Heads up though – I think the novelty period has ended. Next ingredient please!
4) Iceberg Wedge – What is a typical iceberge wedge? Usually a quarter section of iceberg lettuce, bacon bits, tomatoes and some sort of blue-cheese dressing. I see this dish EVERYWHERE. I think to myself – okay diners, you are ordering a salad. Are you trying to be healthy? Watch your weight? Get your vegetables? It’s ICEBERG LETTUCS! You might as well get a glass of water and call it a meal, because that’s about equivalent to the number of nutrients you’ll be getting. With so many other wonderful greens – arugla, endive, radicchio, red spinach, just to name a few, why settle for something so…every day?
5) Miso-glazed fish – I am a fan of miso. In miso soup, and even yes, to marinate or cook a fish with. But when did miso become to fish what wasabi and soy sauce are to sushi? Like I said, I know it tastes good, but let’s think of a new way to get creative with our Asian fusion.