You know the old saying, “I’ll work for food!” Well that is the essence of a restaurant tradition called “family dinner.” Each restaurant has their own traditions where the staff takes time before or after the shift to enjoy a “family” meal together. It gives the front and back of the house a chance to interact in an informal setting, go over the day’s menu or sample a new menu offering.
Our tradition at Coho is a bit different than larger restaurants and has morphed over the years. Most recently due to our team’s family commitments and other work obligations, we stretch the definition of family dinner. We often share a glass of wine or cocktail as we are cleaning up and we each take home a dish prepared by Chef Bill to enjoy with our biological families.
Many of our guests lament on how difficult it is to choose what they are going to eat for dinner. We tell them we appreciate their dilemma and are fortunate that we do not have that problem. We get to enjoy whatever is left or whatever Chef Bill feels like cooking. Often it is a dish from our current menu, sometimes he puts together pieces and parts that are left from a busy night or other times he creates something using ingredients that need to be eaten. In larger kitchens, family dinner is prepared by one of the line or prep cooks. It gives them a chance to strut their stuff and show off their technique to the other chefs. Often family meal consists of comfort food from their ethnic background using ingredients at hand.
This week has been comfort food week at Coho. Mac ‘n cheese is always a Coho family dinner favorite, but this week Chef Bill was inspired and pulled out all the stops. He prepared Philly Cheesesteak Subs, Bangers and Mash, Shepard’s Pie and rumor has it pizza might be in store for tonight. We appreciate the planning that went into each of these dishes since they are so different than anything offered on our current menu. The cheese steaks were authentic down to the hoagie buns and packaged sliced cheese. He opted for the sliced cheese rather than that the canned version. We apologize in advance to our partners at San Juan Cheese. Bill was going for the authentic Philly experience. Bill used the chains left over from the butchered tenderloins and whipped up these hoagies with caramelized onions and presented them wrapped in aluminum foil. It was the talk of the team the next night at service. Dave went to school in downtown Philly. He was the most discerning of the group and knew first hand how an authenic cheesesteak tastes. He grinned from ear to ear while enjoying his sandwich as it brought back fond memories of his college days.
The Bangers and Mash were an excuse to sample some delicious Italian Sausage we brought in from Jones Family Farms on Lopez Island for a special catering. Bill saw them in the freezer and was inspired. I am sure they will make an appearance on Coho’s menu soon.
Shepard’s Pie provided another opportunity to use the butchered tenderloin chains and left over mashed potatoes and polenta from service. So we are all wondering what is going to be on tonight’s pizza….Ahh…we can never stop thinking about food!