My adventures recreating Next Restaurant’s food at home

Menu 6: Kyoto

Next Restaurant’s Sixth Menu: Kyoto

Served September 15 – December 31, 2012

Next Restaurant’s Japanese kaiseki (“chef’s choice”) tasting menu.

corn husk

chestnut, apple, white miso, hay aroma
Gewurztraminer juice, lemon verbena, green tea

Japanese maple forest
yuzu pear, dulse seaweed, bibb lettuce

sashimi, shiso, tamari
ginger, white soy, cucumber, ??ne

abalone, cucumber, red sea grapes

anago, maple dashi, shimeji mushroom

matsutake chawanmushi, pine
sweet potato, hojicha, buckwheat honey

ayu, wasabi leaf, cured yolk
Hitachino Nest classic ale

chrysanthemum, oyster leaf, eggplant, shiso leaf

soup, rice, pickles
apple, barley, red date

roasted fig, yuba, emperor II
wasabi, honeydew

toasted soy

Updated 24 Sep 2012

Posted in Dave Beran, Grant Achatz, Index, Kyoto, Menus, Next Restaurant, Recipes | Leave a comment

Menu 5: Sicily

Next Restaurant’s Fifth Menu: Sicily

Served June 2 – September 9, 2012

Next restaurant’s traditional Sicilian menu. The Next Sicily menu was served family-style, in large portions at the table.


Zardetto Prosecco Apertivo with Averna Amaro and chamomile
NA: Honey, Chamomile, Saffron


Chickpea frigitterie fritters topped with grated cheese.

Eggplant, vegetable and tomato sauce salad.

Carciofi Alle Brace
Artichokes grilled over coals.

Breaded, fried riceballs with braised lamb tongue ragu, served with caper-tomato sauce.

Antipasti di Pesci (kitchen table)

KT: 2011 Bisson ü Pastine, Golfo del Tigullio, Italy

Cozze con Peperone Rosso
Mussels with red peppers and onions.

Mosciame di Tonno
Salt-cured tuna, shaved thin like prosciutto.

Polpo in Agrodolce
Sweet and sour octopus in spicy sauce.

Gamberi con Anguria
Shrimp with watermelon.

Vongole con Arance e Finocchi
Clams with orange and fennel.


2010 Tasca d’Almerita ‘Regaleali’ Bianco, Sicily
NA: Zucchini and Mount Olympus Flower

Bucatini con Bottarga
Home-made pasta in a sauce of cured fish roe (bottarga) and cheese.

Gemelli con le Sarde
Twisted gemelli pasta with black currants, pine nuts and fried sardine.

Primi (kitchen table)

KT: 2010 Tasca d’Almerita ‘Regaleali’ Bianco, Sicily
NA: Zucchini and Mount Olympus Flower

Bucatini con Riccio di Mare
Home-made pasta, with sea urchin and chili flakes.

Gemelli con le Sarde
Twisted gemelli pasta with black currants, pine nuts and fried sardine.

Gnocchi con Bottarga
Cheese gnocchi in a cream sauce, with cured fish roe (bottarga).


2010 Tenuta Rapitala ‘Piano Maltese’
KT: 2011 Petrucco Friulano, Colli Orientali del Friuli, Italy
NA: Green tomato, garlic, white pepper

Pesce Spada con di Ceci
Swordfish poached en sous vide in olive oil, then seared a cast iron skillet, with roasted garlic and mint pesto.

Served with the swordfish – sides of chickpeas and romanesco, and extra mint pesto.

2010 Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria
KT: 2007 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
NA: Fennel verjus rouge, orange

Spalla di Maiale Brasato
6-hour braised pork shoulder, served with roasted lemon and spicy tomato sauce.

Served with the pork shoulder – sidedish of fried zucchini, shaved asparagus, grilled tomatoes and a stuffed, fried squash blossom.

KT: 2007 Gulfi, ‘Nerojbleo’ Nero d’Avola, Sicily

Formaggio (Kitchen Table)
Selection of cheeses.

Granita di Arance Rosse
Palate-cleanser of blood orange granita ice.


2010 Planeta Passitodi Noto
KT: 2009 Donnafugata ‘Ben Nye’, Passito di Pantelleria, Pantelleria, Sicily
NA: Watermelon, white balsamic, pinot noir juice


Palermo spongecake, ricotta filling, marzipan, whipped cream, candied walnut, pistachio, strawberry, cherry and kumquat.

A very light pastry shell stuffed with whipped ricotta and cherries.

Ravioli Fritti
Fried ravioli, stuffed with local strawberry jam.

Cubbaita di Giugiulena
Sesame seed pastry.

Revised 27 Sep 2012. Menu, as reported by Eater Chicago and Grub Street. KT = Kitchen table. NA = Non-alcoholic pairing, reviewed in full at Eating the World.

Posted in Christian Seel, Dave Beran, Grant Achatz, Index, Joe Catterson, Menus, Next Restaurant, Nick Kokonas, Recipes, Sicilian Food, Sicilian Recipes, Sicily | Leave a comment

Cooking Sous vide

sous-vide cooking

What is sous vide anyway?

Sous vide (SOO veed) is French for “under vacuum”, or the simple technique of cooking food sealed in a bag in a hot water bath. And recently, it’s being used more and more. You can control how your food comes out much more accurately with sous vide. Steak cooked to a certain temp in a waterbath will not overcook, and will be consistently the same color, texture and temperature throughout (as compared with grilled meats dry on the outside and juicy on the inside).

When you roast/grill beef the traditional way and take it off the heat, the meat still cooks. You let it “rest” for a while before carving or serving. But I remember many a time on the line, plating a top sirloin, only to have it sit and bleed out while we waited for servers to actually serve their food. Then have it come back as being too well done! Damn, I hated that…

With sous vide, once meat reaches the temp of its waterbath, it’s not going to keep cooking beyond what you want.

American Chefs Thomas Keller and Grant Achatz are strong proponents of the technique, Keller so much so, that he came out with Under Pressure, a seminal book on the subject. I highly recommend this book, as it goes into every detail of the sous vide cooking method, including history, safety tips, best practices, methods and recipes.

There are many ways to cook sous vide. And people have been cooking en sous vide for hundreds of years. Heck, I’m sure your Mom even boiled some rice in a bag when you were a kid! I’ve been using a pot of water and a digital thermometer for years, with passable results. The trick with that old-fashioned way is to try and keep the temperature constant — nearly impossible. Other, more accurate methods involve water and electricity — a time-honored favorite of many cooks, chefs and serial killers…

Many of the recipes I’m cooking from Next Restaurant’s cookbooks include sous vide cooking, so I recently broke down and got the SousVide Supreme water oven and vacuum sealer package, and am loving it. Sure beats that pot o’ water!


Here are some commercial sous vide cooking solutions out there now. I have not listed the DIY rigs you can make with a rice cooker, but those are still viable options if you just don’t want to spend the money on any of these.

SousVide Supreme water ovenSousVide Supreme™ water oven from Eades Appliance Technology
Turn-key sous vide solution. The SousVide Supreme “water oven” easily fits on a countertop, comes in two sizes: the SousVide Supreme, the SousVide Supreme Demi, and is available in several colors/finishes. Prices range from US$299.00 to $459.00.

More info…

Most affordable option.
All-in-one design.
Easy-to-use electronic panel.
Stainless interior components are easy to remove and clean.
Available in 8.7-liter and 10-liter capacities.

You’re limited to its fixed size (But I fit a whole duck it it the Sous Vide Supreme)
Temperatures only programmable to within 0.5°C (for example, you can only come close to 80.7°C, but really…)

Sous Vide Professional thermal immersion circulatorSous Vide Professional™ Chef Series immersion circulator from PolyScience
Compact and attractively designed, this thermal immersion circulator from sells for US$799.95. Second generation product is prettier than the original Sous Vide Thermal Circulator.

Download a Sous Vide Temperature Reference Guide.

More Info…

Clean design.
Easy-to-use electronic panel.
Heats and circulates up to 8 gallons of water.
Temperatures accurate to within 0.09°F (0.05°C).
Comes with a carrying case.

Not self-contained — you need a vessel (and lid) for your water bath.
More expensive.

Sous Vide Thermal Immersion Circulator, by PolyScience.Sous Vide Thermal Circulator™ from PolyScience
The original, laboratory-equipment design by PolyScience was adopted by chefs for sous vide cooking. An immersion circulator circulates the water. A thermal immersion circulator circulates and heats the liquid. Still selling strong, this thermal immersion circulator from sells for US$1,022.00.

More info…

Easy-to-use electronic panel.
Heats and circulates water in a bath.
Temperatures accurate to within 0.09°F (0.05°C).
Available with a protective metal shield for circulator coils, and an optional hard carrying case.

Not self-contained — you need a vessel (and lid) for your water bath.
Circulator coils are exposed and may get dinged.
Much more expensive.

Posted in Equipment | 1 Comment

Next elBulli Tickets Wanted

Next elBulli Tickets Wanted It’s a phrase that’s popping up all over the place.

Yes, it’s the hottest ticket in town. Yes, it’s one of the most difficult to obtain. And no, you can’t get in. Probably.

Season tickets sold out in less than a day, and there are scarcely a few same-night availabilities. I couldn’t even get tickets. Not for lack of trying, though.

Next el Bulli
Five minutes after sales started, I was in — and number 2819 in line.

So if anybody has any old Next el Bulli tickets they’re not using, lemme know!

For all those that did get tix, congrats! I think I’ll just cook my own elBulli dinner here in San DIego with some chefriends…

Posted in News, Next elBulli, Next Restaurant, Next Restaurant Tickets, Next Tickets, Next vs elBulli | Leave a comment