Dinner Menu Development
Our menu has evolved in the few weeks we've been opened. Some changes out of necessity (products no longer available), some out of creativity, some out of technology difficulties, and some out of customer feedback.
And we're still considering whether or not it's working. Max's original concept was a share-a la carte tasting menu. Some of that is due to space restrictions (the tiny kitchen only allows for so many plates in the pass at once), but also because he wants people to have the opportunity to try multiple things on the menu. His food is interesting and creative; it doesn't fit into the regular salad/appetizer -> entree and he wants people to push their comfort zone. Along with that, we're trying to keep price points reasonable so someone who's not sure about something can feel good about trying it without regretting the money they've spent. We also want a comfortable atmosphere, where customers can come and order some things, hang out, have really good food and drinks and not have to worry about using the right fork or wearing a jacket.
As every restaurant experiences after a few weeks open, we're evaluating how far we've strayed from the original concept and what, if anything, we need to do to get back to it.
We sell a tremendous amount of sugar pumpkin ricotta gnocchi. It's fluffy, creamy, saucy, and overall yummy. Nearly every table orders it.
Max hates it.
Ok, hate is probably a strong word. He developed and made the dish, so it's not like he isn't happy with it. But he doesn't think it's his strongest dish. It's a crowd-pleaser, but it's not super interesting or creative. Plating is difficult because it's so saucy and gooey. We're trying to figure out how to fit that same need (vegetarian, starch, hot) with something that's more in line with the rest of the menu.
We've had variations of the forty-eight hour wagyu shortrib both on the menu and as a chalkboard special for the last few weeks and just like the gnocchi, nearly every table orders it as their last course before dessert. It's not a huge problem, except when the table orders the seared butterleaf, then the shortrib. You can't get much closer to salad -> entree on our menu than that order.
We wish items like the rare beef or the pig head candybar sold more. But we realize we're asking people to take a chance on a unique cut of meat and/or temperature, and not everyone is comfortable with that.
We're considering offering a Chef's Tasting for the table. We're talking about Prix-Fixe menus with options to choose courses. We're contemplating a-la carte on certain days or seats in the restaurant. We don't want to alienate anyone, but we're in the emerging stages of our restaurant and if we want to make changes, now's the time to do it.
It's a constant work in progress but we're loving the ride. We've had such tremendous feedback from customers, neighbors, family and friends. Thank you for allowing us to pursue this dream.