Combining ""a distaste for fancy cooking combined with a respect for haute cuisine,"" New York restaurant Chanterelle is a study in contrasts. When the restaurant first opened in the late 1970s, chef Waltuck and his wife Karen were pioneers of a new kind of fine dining, from their decision to waive dress codes to the dishes' unique flavor combinations. In this lush, compulsively readable portrait of this premier dining establishment, the Waltucks are warm and welcoming, sharing the chef's earliest cooking experiences and recipe development as well as scenes from their romance. The stars, of course, are the recipes, and they dazzle. Organized by course, Waltuck patiently and expertly guides readers through the creation of appetizers like Crispy Bacon-Wrapped Oysters with Rémoulade and decadent Roulade of Prosciutto, Foie Gras and Figs, before moving on to signature dishes such as Grilled Seafood Sausage with Beurre Blanc Sauce and Lobster with Sauternes and Curry. Carnivores will delight in Waltuck's take on surf and turf-beef filets with sautéed mushrooms and oysters-and a belt-loosening feast of bone-in beef ribs served with a rich sauce of red wine, shallots and marrow. Complementary sides are straightforward and easy to prepare. Desserts, though daunting, reward in spades: Cherry Vanilla Brioche Pudding with Maple-Star Anise Ice Cream, Fig and Goat Cheese Tart with Huckleberry Ice Cream, and the restaurant's signature Petit Fours all make a sweet impression. Liberally peppered with tips and tricks, Waltuck's peculiar style eschews needless formality, admirably deflating hesitation or intimidation in home cooks tackling his one-of-a-kind dishes. 138 color photos.
Reviewed on: 10/13/2008 Release date: 10/01/2008 Genre: Nonfiction