Coast Cooking

What a menu can tell you about a restaurant besides just what’s on the menu

A great combination of gumbo and crab and corn bisque served side by side, from Cora’s.
A great combination of gumbo and crab and corn bisque served side by side, from Cora’s. Special to the Sun Herald

This week I am blogging about all the things to consider when evaluating a restaurant.

Today, we’ll consider the menu.

Besides being attractively printed, does it make sense?

Unless the dishes offered have similar ingredients, such as many Mexican or Asian restaurants do, then it shouldn’t be too big.

When I see a huge menu, I’ve got to question the chef’s ability to prepare them all with the same skill level.

I would much rather see four to six appetizers and perhaps the same number of main courses. It’s nice to throw a few soups and salads into the mix, and although I do not have a sweet tooth, a few good deserts should also be included.

Take a long, slow look at the menu. Is there a theme? I like to see some local influence, as well as some originality.

One of my favorite styles is Southern with Coastal and Creole influences. Throw in a little Thomas Keller and you’ve got a real winner.

Cora’s (Chef David Gooch) at the White House Hotel and Magnolia House (Chef Kelly English) at Harrah’s Gulf Coast) are great examples of restaurants with beautifully themed, and executed, menus.

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