It's hard to write a delicious-sounding menu.

April 26, 2012 | By | Comments (0)

Navigating-menuThe other night, eating at Dan Kluger's fabulous abc kitchen in Manhattan, I noticed that Kluger (or someone in his operation) is a master of perfect-length dish descriptions: Not too long, not too short, just right.

The pretentious habit of running off at the mouth with food descriptors is well known and often ridiculed: "Pickled Bell's Farm Mangalitsa Pig Trotters with Hudson Valley Runoff-Ditch Watercress and a Mousse of Unborn Vegetables" (I made that up, but we've all seen it).

Then there's the rare, but not unknown, practice of writing super-short, opaque descriptions, like the menu at the also fabulous Eleven Madison Park: Each dish is just one word, "hamachi," "veal" or "coconut." This is interesting, but essentially punts to the chef: surprise me. Which 11MP does, so it works.

But Kluger over at abc kitchen: Reading about the dishes immediately makes you want to order them, and when the food arrives the best of it has a simplicity very well matched to the language: "crab toast with lemon aioli;" "roasted cauliflower, onion and walnut crumbs, fried egg; or "potato gnocchi, ruby red shrimp, fennel and chilies."  This is writing I eat up.

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