Just because you can make a dish in your home kitchen doesn’t mean that you necessarily want to.
It might be because of the mess (deep frying) or the lengthy ingredient list (mole) or the whole production of it all.
Or, maybe you lack certain professional equipment (a grill that burns at 1,700 degrees, for instance).
And frankly, certain foods just taste better when made by a talented chef and his or her crew.
Bonus? No dishes to clean up.
Here’s our list of the top 10 dishes best left in the hands of a capable restaurant — and why:
1. French fries
Let us count the ways way. First, there’s the mess. And then hassle of double frying to produce crisp spuds. We even know a chef who thrice cooks his fries. What to do with all the left over oil?
2. Egg rolls
Or any Chinese food, for that matter. Too many ingredients, too much assembly required and too much deep frying.
Sushi chefs know how to get fresh fish, know how to cut it and nobody gets hurt. Unless it’s blowfish.
When a souffle falls at home before it reaches the table, that’s not the only thing that deflates.
It takes a village to make a tamale. That’s why Mexicans make tamales at home only on special occasions, like Christmas and the birth of a child.
6. Soft shell crabs
First there’s the matter of cleaning them (removing their guts if we’re gonna get graphic). And then that frying thing.
7. Foie gras
Not only is there the beige matter that’s high on the ick factor (removing the membrane), most home cooks don’t know what to do with a lobe of foie gras — and it’s rather expensive for experimentation.
One could argue that grilling a steak at home is one of life’s simple pleasures. But isn’t cutting into a juicy steak that’s just come off a 1,700 degree grill is much more pleasurable? Oh yeah, especially if butter poaching prior to grilling is involved.
Unless you have installed a umpteen-thousand dollar pizza oven in your back yard (and you know who you are, MG), re-creating wood-oven, artisan pizza is best left to the experts; like the one in Phoenix, the only pizza maker who’s won a James Beard Award for it.
10. Any dish from The French Laundry
Even if you wanted to, you probably couldn’t. That is not a slam about your cooking skills. It is a testament to the general mystique of dining under Thomas Keller’s roof. You’ve at least seen the cookbook, yes?
So, what’s on your list of dishes best left to restaurants? Indian curries or tandoori? Turtle soup or gumbo? How about goat?