The Black River Café opened for dinner service tonight promptly at 5:30pm. Our first printed menus arrived promptly at 6:04, and made for an interesting 15 minutes or so that as a few of our early reservations arrived. We started with roughly 40 reso’s and I can’t imagine we did less than 70 covers. The few times I was able to peek out at the dining room, every table was occupied.
The kitchen rocked out for a first night, with new pans on new flames with a new tempatured grill and new surroundings. What’s great is the lunch crew had a rough morning and they walked out laughing that we would be caught off guard and get crushed. Ha ha ha, who is having the last laugh, me, now, because we did a great job. Not a single viable complaint. And prep for tomorrow…we are looking fairly good. We will have to braise something new next week for sure.
So what happened? Well, the rabbit and short ribs where the best sellers, with the mac&cheese a second along with the risotto app. Not many salads ordered at all, yet a lot of people opted for half portions. I was very surprised by how well the rabbit did, maybe that’s because Kari cries everything she sees it on the menu. I ordered them on the phone the other day with her in the car and she was sobbing so hard, I kind of felt bad, but not for the rabbits.
We are baking our own bread. Tonight we featured foccocia, brioche, baguettes, and sesame rolls. It was the best looking bread baskets I’ve ever seen go out at any restaurant in Cleveland. We cut the bread and rest it in an aluminum basket lightly crimped and heat up exactly as much as we need. This is just a great way to do it that I’ve never done before. Why cook whole pieces of 4 different kinds of bread? I’m happy with bread service as long as we can find a way to keep track of who gets what. Not impossible, just have to force it on the FOH.
The BRC still runs with hand written tickets. Not a totally bad things, it’s easy to amend items, or substitutions, or special arrangements. On the other hand, in the kitchen we can’t decipher each different server’s personal language. We decided on a procedure, that some of the FOH adopted, other decided to make it their own. This will change. We decided that every course will be given to us on a different chit. Well, to me that means even if two of the seven top is getting a salad, it get’s its own chit, not circled on the entrée ticket. I’m sure it’s easier for the server, but I’m not here, nor is the BRC here to make their life’s easier. So follow directions!!! Same story, different people.
The 40 minute drive home was very pleasant tonight; a feeling of accomplishment accompanied me on the ride.