It’s Good, But Is It Portable?
today at 5:50 pm
It’s Good, But Is It Portable ?
Sunday is Mother’s Day, and Mother’s Day is typically the busiest day of the year for restaurants. Even now, even with the Coronavirus continuing to take a toll, letting a restaurant do the cooking for Mother’s Day is still a good idea.
For chef/partner David DiGregorio and the staff at Osteria Via Stato, preparing food for carryout is, to some extent, business as usual. Pizzas, pasta and a lot of other Italian dishes are relatively portable, and the restaurant has always offered carry-out as a supplement to its on-site dining. Now, with the shift to “carryout only,” the chef and staff have made some strategic adjustments.
“A restaurant has to stagger reservations,” Di Gregorio says. “You can’t book half your tables for 7 pm. We’re doing the same thing with our pick-up schedule. If a time slot is fully booked, we offer alternates. We all have to be flexible.”
Like a lot of restaurants, Osteria Via Stato is offering set menus in portions adequate for two people and multiples thereof. Creating the menu is an exercise in strategic planning. As Di Gregorio observes, “A frittata travels well, scrambled eggs don’t.”
For chef/owner Martial Noguier (Bistronomic), carryout is an entirely new format. Even so, when restaurants were ordered to close their onsite service, he immediately made the shift to carryout. The inaugural carryout menu debuted on March 18.
He explains, “When people place their orders, they’re asked if they want their food cold or hot. If they prefer cold, we can make their dinner early in the day and keep it chilled.” He adds, “Of course, all of the meals have instructions for reheating. That’s a must.”
What worries Noguier is the time between pick-up and consumption. Once the order leaves the restaurant, he has no way of knowing if it’s been refrigerated and/or reheated properly.
“If a customer wants their order hot and ready to eat, I cook it a few minutes before pick-up,” he continues. “For example, if pick-up is scheduled for 4, I start cooking at 3:45. Everything has already been prepped, so the timing works. ”
Overcooking is another concern. Food that’s going to be reheated at home is undercooked just a bit. When it’s reheated, the food cooks to the proper temperature.
Sauces are especially important, since they keep dishes moist and flavorful, even if they’re reheated. Think beef bourgignon and coq au vin at Bistronomic, and short ribs and chicken parmesan at Osteria Via Stato.
So what’s on tap for Mother’s Day?
Osteria Via Stato: 620 N. State 312.642.845
Two brunch menus, one for pick-up Saturday night and one for pick-up Sunday. Both include smoked salmon, ciabatta French toast, and vegetable frittata.
Two dinner menus, one featuring chicken Parmesan, the other beef tenderloin.
Bistronomic, 26 E. Pearson Street 312.944.8400
Brunch: Croque Monsieur on brioche served with artisanal ham and a mornay sauce. A second option adds chicken and mushroom crepes to the mix.
And FYI- Noguier plans to continue doing carry-out and delivery as a supplement to onsite dining.
In general, Mother’s Day orders should be placed no later than Friday, May 8.