The Lutece Cookbook

Andre Soltner, Author, Seymour Britchky, With Knopf Publishing Group $37.5 (592p) ISBN 978-0-679-42273-0
Last spring, after 30 odd years, Soltner left his famed New York City restaurant Lutece to teach and, fortunately for us, to work on this book. Britchky (The Restaurants of New York) begins with a dewy-eyed doxology, but the text quickly switches to Soltner's more sanguine voice--complete with French constructions (``In all those years, I was never away from Lutece for sickness''). Soltner's culinary background is rooted deeply in Alsace and his strict traditional French apprenticeship, but he remained open to new influences--within reason. Nouvelle cuisine leaves its mark in the fragrant, savory Duck with Raspberries; American produce is integrated into the rich Cream of Avocado Soup with Chives; the requests of vegetarians result in a Tomato Tart. Of primary importance is always a felicitous blending of flavors, as in Venison Cutlets with Chestnuts, finished off with cognac and mushrooms. Soltner is never sanctimoniously haut: his recipe for the lengthy classic preparation of foie gras is accompanied by a faster modern one he uses more often. He includes a number of recipes like coarsely textured Hard Sausage or Eggs and Tomatoes which, if not suited to Lutece, are good home cooking. One trend Soltner doesn't accommodate is cuisine ``lite,'' but the moderate quantities of butter, cream and the like give, like this collection, immoderate pleasure. HomeStyle book club selection. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1995
Release date: 10/01/1995
Genre: Nonfiction
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