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Great New Restaurants: What’s That Mean?
Comments () | Published October 26, 2010
Consommé.  An intensely flavorful broth with a see-through effect—you should be able to see the bottom of the bowl—that comes from meticulous straining of the stockpot. Palena chef Frank Ruta is a master, as is CityZen’s Eric Ziebold. But not every chef can pull it off. Our advice: Order only at the highest levels.

Crumbles. A small pile next to the ice cream or tart that looks as if someone forgot to clean the plate before sending it out. Strange as it may seem, crumbles—of streusel, of pie crust—are a sign that your pastry chef wants to be known as cutting edge. Often turns up alongside “deconstructed” pies, in which the fruit filling is rendered into jellied cubes and the crust is presented in cookie-like panes. Two iterations of this pieless pie, at the Oval Room and Vidalia, have left us with this plea for pastry chefs: It’s pie. It’s perfect as is. Leave it alone.

Cupping. The practice of sniffing, tasting, and assessing a cup of coffee. As coffee has become big business and specialty bean shops have sprung up, coffee drinking has become as serious—and sometimes as pretentious—as wine drinking.

Duck eggs. Prized by chefs for their large yolks, which tend to result in richer pastas and cakes. As a stand-alone ingredient, they’re mostly a case of a restaurant charging extra for a bit of exoticism; there’s not much difference in taste. We feel the same about quail eggs. Cute but not worth it.

Enomatic. Taps for wine. This trademarked system—embraced by Sonoma, Evo Bistro, and others—allows restaurants to dispense temperature-controlled wine from as many as three dozen bottles at once, as opposed to offering a few too-cold whites and too-warm reds.

Hanger steak. A favorite of the French, this inexpensive cut of beef is named for meat that hangs off the rib cage of the cow. Long, thin, and virtually fatless, it’s gamier—because of its proximity to the liver—than a New York strip or porterhouse. In the Washington area, where meats lack the savor of the Midwest, we’ll take a hanger any day over its more revered—and costly—counterparts.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 10/26/2010 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Articles