Show me some damn good menus!
March 10, 2010 11:08 AM   Subscribe

What are some of the most interesting and unusual menus/restaurants out there? I'm looking for links to websites that have menus available, and pictures that make me salivate are a bonus.

I'm looking for places like Alinea and wd~50, that are inventing new flavors and presentations, though I realize they can skew a bit on the molecular-gastronomy side. I also am interested in places like Momofuku Ko- pretty much anything that will arouse my senses and give me new and different foods to think about.
posted by rachaelfaith to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Minibar in DC. I've been trying to get in for months. They only seat a few people each night for dinner and you eat something like 30 mini courses. The link is for Cafe Atlantico - click on the logo for Minibar at the bottom of the page and check out the photo album. Yum.
posted by koselig at 11:23 AM on March 10, 2010

hangawi's menu doesn't have much in the way of photos, but the food is killer. (korean vegetarian in nyc)
posted by kimyo at 11:24 AM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A trio of menus from great restaurants here in Atlanta:

Cakes and Ale
Holeman & Finch
Woodfire Grill

All of those skew less molecular gastronomy, more seasonal ingredient-focused, but I find some interesting combinations at times. Have you taken a look at Michael Voltaggio's Volt in MD?
posted by deludingmyself at 11:39 AM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's not online, but sometime when you're in a walk-in bookstore you should find the giant El Bulli tome. The menus and photos and process pics in it make me want to cry, doubly so now that they're closing. There's also The Fat Duck cookbook for similar but not quite as one-of-a-kind craziness.

Actually come to think of it, Mefi's own adrober of Amateur Gourmet fame posted an invaluable document of his once in a lifetime visit. Even more valuable now, sigh...

Not exactly a restaurant or anything, but someone on lj's community food_porn has been making a little bit of a molecular gastronomy stir lately with her desserts--Four Chocolates (including seville orange, carrot, and habanero confit; salted caramel and calvados "caviar" with bacon stock, carbonated champagne pate), Cubes of Cocoa'd Olive Oil, Chocolate Tart, Rose and White Chocolate, Rose and Pistachio Macarons.
posted by ifjuly at 11:47 AM on March 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

A16 is another one--I made their walnut crema over asparagus last week for dinner and it was awesome and (at least to me) pretty novel. I'd never thought to blanch walnuts and then use the residual "nut stock" in anything. Pretty great, and the leftover crema was excellent as a hummus-like spread for apple-celery sandwiches on toasted bread, mmm.
posted by ifjuly at 11:48 AM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

And Simon Rimmer's UK restaurant Greens was pretty unconventional for its time; his first cookbook, The Accidental Vegetarian, is loaded with what are at least to me totally refreshing new ways to look at flavor companions and vegetarian entrees. Some examples: leeks wrapped in phyllo; ojja with sweet potato and okra; peach and tomato salad with fresh fennel oil; sweet potato, bell pepper, red onion, and pineapple sandwiches; spicy beet and coconut soup; lychee and toasted coconut cheesecake; goat cheese and lemon cheesecake (granted, more prevalent these days); chocolate prune tart with Earl Grey tea custard; arugula, fig, pecan, and creamy bleu cheese salad; lemongrass risotto with lime leaf tampanade; watermelon, basil, and feta salad; honeycomb ice cream; Marrakesh-inspired spaghetti; strawberry, vodka, and black pepper granita; peanut butter and jelly cheesecake; sweet potato and arugula; mushroom, garlic, aged cheddar, and mustard-seed "rarebit" on toasted brioche; Asian mushroom pie (like a savory British pie but flavored with star anise and other East Asian seasoning); plantain and mango curry; banana dal.
posted by ifjuly at 12:02 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Mmm, some really delicious things to pore over here, thanks for the great stuff so far.
posted by rachaelfaith at 12:13 PM on March 10, 2010

Oh, and I almost forgot - for all my food porn needs, I rely on Serious Eats' Photograzing. Or rather, I try to avoid it, and then break down and spend four hours in the archives when I'm supposed to be doing work. It's a giant repository of photography from food blogs, with links back to the original sites and recipes.
posted by deludingmyself at 12:19 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sushi Samba, Japanese-Brazilian fusion is pretty unusual (warning: autoplay music and overdesigned website).. not enough pics of the food but some recipes.. the Chicago one used to have these crazy wee deep-fried river crabs served on a piece of slate with artistic drapings of seaweed.

St John's Bread and Wine.
posted by Erasmouse at 12:25 PM on March 10, 2010

Best answer: Not contemporary, but I find browsing the Los Angeles Public Library Menu Collection fascinating.
posted by bendybendy at 12:41 PM on March 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

If you can find the menu to a place called pb loco (my googles is acting funny, shouldn't be hard to find), you'll see a variety of interestingly flavored PBs and some sandwiches using them.
posted by soelo at 1:02 PM on March 10, 2010

Miya's Sushi in New Haven Ct.
posted by mearls at 1:47 PM on March 10, 2010

Response by poster: Wow, that menu collection is a great resource.
posted by rachaelfaith at 1:57 PM on March 10, 2010

The recently-published book Coco is pretty great - ten leading chefs picked 100 emerging chefs. Each is presented with photos, a sample menu & recipes. Lots of inspiration.
posted by judith at 1:02 PM on March 12, 2010

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