David Thompson
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January 06, 2018

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Specifically, a 30cm wide ‘plate’ that was about 70% rim, with a deep indentation in the centre, roughly the size of a coffee mug, into which the entire meal had been stacked, vertically.

I hate those things. You can only add salt to whatever's on the top and if you want gravy it just drowns whatever's on the bottom.

David

I hate those things.

It didn’t seem an entirely practical arrangement. Maybe the idea was to keep the food warm, or just to seem stylish, but whatever the intention, it turned lunch into a kind of food archaeology. On the upside, the ‘plate’ – or difficult-to-categorise-food-supporting-object - was ceramic.

R. Sherman

Live by the adage, "The frillier the presentation, the shittier the food." Those mini Ferris wheel baskets of things merely serve to distract from the taste and high price.

David

Live by the adage, “The frillier the presentation, the shittier the food.”

In the case above, at least, the food was excellent and I’d happily eat there again. To be clear, the presentation wasn’t quite meat on a shovel territory, but it did seem a little impractical and contrived. Though an incidental benefit of the layer-cake presentation was that it took time to excavate, which in turn justified an extra bottle of wine.

Joan

"Related"...

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/former-eastenders-actress-tracyann-oberman-slams-pretentious-restaurant-after-husband-accidentally-a3732841.html

David

“Related”...

Happily, I’ve yet to mistake a napkin for food, even one that was water-engorged and perched on what appears to be a large stone.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Whereas I fundamentally agree that a wooden plate for the sake of presentation is silly, this:

In addition, wooden plates which were incapable of being cleaned were being used to serve the food, the city’s magistrates’ court heard.

is just utter nonsense.

There is no such thing as a wooden plate "incapable of being cleaned", just people either too lazy, ill informed, or both, to do it properly. Wooden salad mixing and serving bowls are a staple, as are chopping blocks and cutting boards, all of which are cleaned regularly and frequently. One advantage for a restaurant, however, is that wooden plates generally don't break when you drop them; whether that would offset initial cost or time/PITA to clean them properly is a problem left to the student.

...the presentation wasn’t quite meat on a shovel territory...

The first mistake is thinking you can actually get real BBQ in New Hampshire, so the shovel is not that surprising...

Kevin B

When I worked in Stockholm many moons ago I regularly ate Planksteak in a restaurant. This consisted of a large piece of sirloin grilled on a wooden plank and served with some mashed potato piped along one edge, half a grilled tomato and a limp lettuce leaf. The plank had built in gutters to drain the juices and the tomato had its own special indentation but the lettuce leaf looked as if it had been used as decoration several times since no-one ate it anyway.

The swedes were very into green veggies at the time.

David

a large piece of sirloin grilled on a wooden plank

I do hope it was a sea-weathered plank. For flavour, obviously.

Clam

Just spent an hour down the rabbit hole of the WEWantPlates hashtag.

David

Just spent an hour down the rabbit hole of the WEWantPlates hashtag.

When you get to the stage of beans in a mug, cheese and crackers on a skateboard, and communal seasoning served on a brick, there’s a distinct possibility that customers are being trolled. Though I did like the idea, suggested in jest, of individual peas served on the rocking spheres of a Newton’s Cradle.

Darleen

The only time I want to see a wooden plank on my dining table is when it is used to hold the sizzling hot cast iron skillet straight from the kitchen.

Darleen

Nom nom nom.

R. Sherman

Grilling or cooking on wood is certainly OK, inasmuch as the heat kills any bad things which might be in residence. Plank grilled salmon is quite good in the Pacific Northwest, for example.

Fruitbat44

The triumph of style over substance is annoying; the triumph of style over common sense is worrying.

WTP

Plank grilled salmon is quite good in the Pacific Northwest

It's been a while since that was popular here back east. As I recall it was always served on a cedar plank, specifically. Trying to recall if such planks were to be reused...Not that it matters much from a personal/hygiene standpoint since it's put in the oven with the fish, as you say. Though restaurant customers can be put off by such. I know the home-edition ones were reused.

But similarly, I needed a new cutting board a while back and was torn between wood and plastic. I had assumed plastic was more hygienic until I read that actually wood is since once the wood dries out, the bacteria will all die, however the plastic was...I dunno, some story. Now I'm not sure if I was getting the straight scoop on that or if it was some sort of Greenie propaganda. I know it didn't read that way to me at the time and I generally check several sources. Also, as noted earlier, I have a pretty good radar detector when it comes to the PC stuff.

Darleen

I had assumed plastic was more hygienic

Nope. Once you've cut the surface you leave little hiding places for bacteria. What surprised researchers is that wood cells themselves release small amounts of toxins that inhibit reproduction.

I have a few cutting boards that are designated to particular food stuff (wood & glass boards). So far, so good.

tolkein

Wood is actually pretty hygienic. I remember reading an article commenting on the hygiene of, respectively, stainless steel, plastic and wood for chopping boards. They left a small dollop of bacteria on each overnight and inspected them in the morning. Steel - pretty much no change - plastic, the bacteria had settled in, built housing estate, supermarkets, schools, etc, whereas with wood, the bacteria had completely disappeared. The explanation was that trees (wood) in absence of ability to flee, had developed mechanisms to deal with bacteria, and that properly cared for, wooden chopping boards and, I expect, wooden plates were perfectly hygienic.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Wood is actually pretty hygienic.

Wood has intrinsic antimicrobial effects.

Within limits; if it is subjected to third world hygienic practices, as it appears is the case of Chez Ibrahim which reportedly blew off the recommendations of health inspectors, all bets are off.

Anon

I won't book places that don't have plates. If I go somewhere by accident or with someone else, I demand plates, and still won't go back.

Rough rule of thumb, I agree with other commentators. You don't get food served in a watering can or a slipper at El Bulli or Paul Bocuse. If they're using plates, so can you.

Fay

I demand plates

Me too.

Southpaw

What you described sounds like a hubcap from a 1976 Oldsmobile.

WTP

These damn things?

My dishwasher has a hell of a time getting the mashed potatoes out of the rim area.

David

What you described sounds like a hubcap from a 1976 Oldsmobile.
These damn things?

Not quite. The hubcap has more usable surface area.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

An inverted 1966 Plymouth Fury hubcap ?

David

An inverted 1966 Plymouth Fury hubcap ?

Close enough.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Close enough.

Allrighty then. I propose a business proposition - "Dave's Dishes".

We over here in the US&A will scour the junkyards for old hubcaps, we'll media blast off the logos and clean them up, ship them over to you, each with a pair of artisinal chopsticks (which will really be bits of old radio antennae) which, for presentation purposes, artistically go through the old valve stem holes.

You shop them to trendy eateries over on your side of the pond as locally sourced, sustainable, cruelty free, free range, handcrafted artisinal rural Americana dinnerware.

To be sold individually, or as random sets of 4 or 8, or, for a premium price (and if we can find them) matched sets of 4 or 8.

David

artisanal rural Americana dinnerware.

I’d better write this down.

Sporkatus

I can attest that early Ford Falcon caps would present a flan or small tart rather well. Mercury Comet "turbine"-styled variant of same for a hummus and crackers ensemble.

TimT

Maybe food should only be served up on or in geometrical or mathematical paradoxes. Soup in Klein bottles. Tasting trays on Mobius strips. And DEFINITELY booze from Escherian bottles that paradoxically never run out.

Hal

And DEFINITELY booze from Escherian bottles that paradoxically never run out.

With the correct training, there are ways to do that.

TimT

With the correct training, there are ways to do that.

Ha! I was actually thinking of the original joke about Thor drinking the ocean in the Norse myth.

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