Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Hidden Gem Best of Flavor 2017

Filet Special - Center-cut filet, blue cheese-white wine-shallot cream sauce, mushrooms, tomatoes, bacon
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The Filet Special at Richlandtown Inn is hugely popular—even though it has never officially been on the menu. “For the 17 years we’ve owned the restaurant, it has always been a menu addition,” says Venanzio Poccia, Chef/Owner of this historic restaurant serving inspired American classics. “Although we have an extensive menu, many of our customers have never had anything else—they only come in for the Filet Special.”

Why is it such a draw? Perhaps it’s the way the dish achieves the perfect balance of flavors. An 8-oz. center-cut filet is seared to seal in the juices, then roasted in a 500-degree oven until the desired doneness is reached. It’s served over a blue cheese, white wine and shallot cream sauce, then topped with sautéed mushrooms, diced Roma tomatoes marinated in housemade Italian dressing, crumbled bacon and garnished with fresh chopped parsley.

“The creamy sauce has small chunks of blue cheese that don’t overwhelm but add a slight pungency,” says Poccia. “The unique combination of flavors only really works if all components of the dish are used. Leave out the tomatoes or mushrooms or bacon and it’s out of balance.”

He adds that the restaurant is known for its high-quality meat, cooked properly to please all doneness preferences. “Our restaurant is located in an area that seems to favor well-done steaks,” he notes. “We take the time to cook them to our guests’ preferences without turning them into hockey pucks.”

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