Considering how much we spend at restaurants and bars, there’s no excuse for chefs and bartenders who resort to hackneyed dishes and ingredients. Here are some played out options that should be stricken from menus. Diners and drinkers deserve better. Down in the COMMENTS section, let me know what else you could do without.
BONELESS AND SKINLESS CHICKEN BREAST
It’s no secret that meat is most tender at the bone. The animal that suffers most when de-boned is undoubtedly the chicken, which has a lower fat content than the pig, cow or sheep. The bird’s limited potential is further debased when stripped of its skin, which – when crispy – adds texture and much needed-fat. Is there a more enjoyable dining experience than ripping apart a rotisserie chicken with crisp, caramelized skin and luscious meat? At places like Pollos El Brasero and Sevan Chicken, the answer is undoubtedly no.
WHITE TRUFFLE OIL
This is an often-abused ingredient that overpowers everything it touches and acts as low-road shortcut to flavor. If chefs were confident enough in their ability behind the stoves, they would resort to other methods to generate flavor. Mix in some garlic, butter, cream or salt instead. White truffles are justly revered, but its oily counterpart serves to muddle the proceedings. Better for chefs to keep the cap on the bottle to spare nostrils and taste buds.
Why have people embraced a liquor whose very ideal is odorless, colorless and flavorless? When you eliminate enticing aromas, lush color and complex flavors, what’s left, and what’s the point? Thankfully bartenders and mixologists are turning to more vibrant options like Bourbon, whiskey and rum. On Sunday night at Death & Co., they didn’t even have vodka on the menu, and other top L.A. cocktail emporiums have similarly done away with the neutered distillate. Historically, vodka made sense in desolate places like Siberia where farmers had no choice but to ferment liquor from potatoes. We’re not in Siberia.
BEET AND GOAT CHEESE SALAD
At this stage, roasted beets and creamy goat cheese are a no-brainer. Toss on some crunchy walnuts, even better. Or is it? This tired testament to ’80s California cuisine can still be found on many market-driven menus. Sure the beets may no longer appear in chunks. You might find a variation on the cheese. The walnuts might be candied. Still, there’s no disguising the core of this salad is played out.