At Chanterelle last night, no less than Martha Stewart stopped by to congratulate chef David Waltuck on his new cookbook, Chanterelle: The Story and Recipes of a Restaurant Classic. We sampled Roederer Champagne, mushroom-tartare rolls, and spoons of rice pudding dusted with crushed pistachio, and checked out the book — Waltuck’s first about the nearly 30-year-old restaurant. It’s as much a history as a cookbook.
Between explanations of traditions (different artists, like Roy Lichtenstein, design a new Chanterelle menu cover twice a year) and inside jokes like why waiters have referred to “amuse-bouches” as “nuts” since the eighties, there are also more than 150 recipes. The lush cover shot is poached halibut with saffron cream, leeks, and basil. There are instructions for signature grilled seafood sausage with beure blanc, truffled grilled Fontina cheese with cream of tomato soup, lamb chops with goat cheese and thyme, and petits fours and pastry recipes from former and current pastry chefs Michael Klug and Kate Zuckerman. (Try her duo of Bartlett pear combining a roasted half, a beignet ring, and ricotta cheese, all drizzled with truffle honey.) If you’re not trying to unlock the key to a successful restaurant, consider the pages a guide to marriage; Waltuck weaves tales of life with his business partner and wife, Karen, throughout the book.