October 6, 2017

Capturing The Zeitgeist

Our new fall menu is coming to town next Thursday, one week from today. As usual it will be a mix of our best efforts from past menus and new items that we are excited about introducing to you.

New menus are always a work in progress for the first few weeks. Some things don’t work out because they are too hard to execute on a daily basis, or too hard to keep fresh, or customers don’t order them often enough.

I am considering a pastrami sausage appetizer plate with a pretzel roll, sauerkraut, 1000 island, possibly potato latkes, possibly chopped liver. We have tried this before — it was painfully unpopular — but hope springs eternal. Sometimes I put things on the menu just because I know they are special and for the people who are willing to try new things, they prove to be worth it.

I am considering a lamb loin chop entree. We have never put lamb chops on the menu before, so that’s reason enough. They are a personal favorite of mine, my mom cooked them many times for my birthday dinner as a kid. My dad loves them and he lives close by now. How many more reasons do I need? They are the entree special this weekend, so we’ll see how that goes.

I get increasingly excited about our vegetarian options as the years go by. The vegan cauliflower entree from our current menu has proved so popular that we are keeping it around for this next turn. Grilled polenta will make a comeback, almost definitely with roasted brussel sprouts. Cauliflower cakes with remoulade and shaved fennel, parsley and radish salad will once again grace our plates.

There’s a new appetizer we’re working on that is also a special this weekend. We make a vegetarian meatloaf that is exceptional both in the sense that it’s delicious and also in the sense that it is almost never selected by customers as an option. We’re pushing forward anyway, smoking the veggie loaf and giving it a slightly more modern treatment.

I enjoy the process of compilation and creation that new menus demand. It is always an effort dedicated to meeting the current moment — the weather, the light, the general mood and spirit of the time, the zeitgeist if you will. It deserves considered attention and dedicated thought. You never know, but always are trying to lay it down just right, to produce a menu of offerings that taken together are more than just the sum of their parts.

Have a great weekend and hope to see you at The Park.

-Chef Josh


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