Come up with a great question and ask it of a bunch of chefs, and you’re bound to get a great piece. That’s one of the first things they taught us at Real Good Food Writer School, and Sarah Freeman demonstrates it at the Zagat blog when she asks ten top local chefs how they screwed up. Weird offal meats seem to be the biggest offender, like beef spleen for Chris Pandel of The Bristol or beaver leg for Brian Jupiter of Frontier (“after braising them and adding a little bourbon, his sous chef uncovered the pan to reveal something that smelled like skunk and tasted like fur”). But there are also dishes that taste great but have other issues, like the squid ink risotto that sent Chris Macchia’s customers out the door of Coco Pazzo Cafe with black teeth. And then sometimes the lesson is just one of marketing— Dirk Flanigan learned the hard way that “boudin” sells a lot better at The Gage than “blood sausage.” Read them all. [Zagat]
No beef spleen, he promises.