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Billy Lyons 2019年11月14日


在Majorelle,服务员在桌边现场烹制裹着大蒜和黄油的鸭腿。图片来源:Courtesy of Majorelle

餐厅的戏剧化表演形式多种多样,但作为一种令人难忘的体验,原创的桌边烹制展示却是日久弥新。我指的并不是那些在“生日聚会”上被迫即兴发挥的服务人员,与此同时,一只蜡烛则从纸托蛋糕中悲惨地冒了出来。我所说的也不是那些盛大的表演,例如Swift and Sons的餐厅魔法师或迪士尼乐园50’s Prime Time Café的工作人员。我指的是人们在餐厅用餐的初衷:餐食。

尽管一些不怎么出名的桌边烹制展示,例如Brennan’s 的Bananas Foster,已经红遍全美,但人们对夜晚外出就餐的大部分回忆取决于某一项服务是否能够取得成功。




The theatrics of the dining room come in many forms, but one timeless feature of a memorable experience is an original tableside presentation. I’m not talking about servers being forced to freestyle “Happy Birthday” while a sad candle sticks out from a cupcake. I’m also not referring to extravagant disruptions, like Swift and Sons’ in-house magician or everybody at Disney World’s 50’s Prime Time Café. I mean why we dine at a restaurant in the first place: the food.

Though some obscure tableside performances like the Bananas Foster at Brennan’s catch on across the country, a large majority of what we remember from our night out lives and dies with the success of one establishment.

But what makes a memorable tableside presentation stand out from the average point-and-pick dessert cart or an over-the-top gimmick that screams, “We’re distracting you because the food is not that good here”? Despite so many dishes being put in the spotlight these days, what unites the meals that are most memorable are a connection to simplicity, a tasty backstory, and the oddly delightful, enthusiastic speech from your server about why it is you’re never going to forget eating this.

Fresh pepper (but not from a grinder)

The sight of an adult reaching over a table and aggressively sprinkling black pepper from a comically sized grinder until you shout STOP is something that’s become synonymous with Italian-style fine dining.

桌边的新鲜辣椒,搭配Antica Pesa的西红柿腌肉意面。图片来源:Courtesy of Antica Pesa

然而,位于布鲁克林的Antica Pesa的展示方式略有不同。该餐厅的联合所有者洛伦佐·帕内拉解释说:“餐厅会在桌边摆放新鲜的辣椒,以定制意面的口味,而且我们的罗马店面一直在提供这一服务。”所谓的新鲜辣椒,帕内拉指的是一碟摆在桌边的Devil Finger辣椒、墨西哥辣椒和哈瓦那辣椒,随后会被磨碎,洒在意面上,通常是黑胡椒起司意面或意大利粗管通心粉配番茄培根酱。简单明了的展示,结合意面上辣椒的辛辣味,会让人们想起自古以来人类发现的众多美味传统。



However, Brooklyn’s Antica Pesa is doing things a bit differently. “The fresh pepper tableside experience is provided to customize the flavors of the pasta, and it’s something we have always done at our location in Rome,” explains Lorenzo Panella, a co-owner of Antica Pesa. By fresh pepper, Panella is referring to a tray of Devil Finger, jalapeño, and habanero peppers presented tableside before being grated over a plate of pasta, usually a cacio e pepe or a rigatoni all’amatriciana. The simplicity of this presentation combined with the actual heat of the peppers on the pasta is a reminder that many tasty traditions are always being discovered.


Many times, a memorable tableside presentation is needed to ensure the best possible guest experience. At Majorelle in Manhattan, a restaurant rooted in French culinary tradition, frog legs sauteed in garlic and butter are presented to the guests on a sizzle platter deglazed in lemon for a very specific reason. “The minute the frog legs stop cooking, they start to lose flavor. Serving them tableside allows the frog legs to cook right up until they are served,” explains Wade Pirie, the director of operations at Majorelle.

在桌边烹饪鸭腿能够让鸭腿做好之后立即上桌。图片来源:Courtesy of Majorelle

在滋滋作响的铁板烧已经风靡全美的同时,裹着大蒜和黄油的热蛙腿或Au Za’atar餐厅的旋转的沙瓦玛塔(能够让宾客直接从放在桌上的一个迷你烤肉扦子上自切想要的肉品和蔬菜),则有望走出自己的那片狭小空间。


令整个美国动容的是,为了让宾客关注服务员,美国的Lawry’s The Prime Rib大力推广上等肋条推车和旋转大碗沙拉。如今的美食爱好者们则更容易被不经意间的倒水服务和吸引人的幕后故事所打动。

While sizzling fajitas have already swept the nation, perhaps hot garlic and butter drenched frog legs or Au Za’atar’s spinning shawarma tower, which allows guests to slice their own meat and vegetables straight off a mini spit that’s placed on the table, can catch on beyond just their addresses.

You don’t always need a carving cart

While America is indebted to Lawry’s The Prime Rib for making guests pay attention to their server by popularizing the prime rib cart and spinning bowl salad, today’s food-obsessed crowd is more easily moved by subtle pours and an enchanting backstory.

Auburn餐厅的菜品。图片来源:Courtesy of Elodie Bost



如果我们让大厨执导《不眠之夜》(Sleep No More),那么洛杉矶的Vespertine便是其现实版的再现,而且是采用非传统讲故事手法的餐厅之一。与所有戏剧作品相同的是,其中的一位演职人员——乳鸽,会分两个场景出现。在开场阶段,乳鸽以整体形象出现,外层以烟熏杜松包裹。在切开之后,乳鸽便与以黑加仑子和乳鸽原汤小火慢炖的莴苣放在一起。




At Auburn in Los Angeles, chef Eric Bost has found a way to make sunchokes a must-have menu item in what could be considered a riff on fondue, though you probably shouldn’t ask for skewers here. The sunchokes are roasted on a hearth and served with seeds and flowers, and Bost adds a bowl of melted Epoisses, a potent and creamy cheese, that your server scoops on top. The presentation is a reminder that vegetables are just as equally sharing the spotlight as seafood and beef when it comes to mesmerizing guests, and that anything with melted cheese poured on top is bound to build a fan base.

Turning your dish into a two-part play

Vespertine, a Los Angeles restaurant that represents what would happen if a chef directed Sleep No More, is one location that’s embraced nontraditional storytelling during the meal. And like any theatrical production, one of its cast members, the squab, appears in two acts. In the opening scene, squab is presented whole, wrapped in an aromatic cage of smoked juniper. Once cut open, the pigeon is plated alongside endives braised in black currant and the juices of the bird.

Then there’s a brief intermission. The bird is taken back to the kitchen in order to have its legs removed, grilled, and dipped in dried crushed rose petals. The squab legs are then returned to guests for the final tragic act of saying goodbye to a meal most memorable. “It’s a beautiful and almost shocking presentation,” says Vespertine’s chef Jordan Kahn. “But it all creates a very special and lingering moment as you near the close of your meal.”