More than innovation in recipes, preparation techniques and ingredients, chefs also puzzle over the plating and salon service offered in restaurants.
These elements are part of the process of creating a new menu at the houses that chef Flávio Miyamura leads, such as Baleia Rooftop, Dasian and Miya Wine Bar, all in São Paulo. “The vast majority of people are looking for an experience when they go out to dinner,” he explains.
Finalizing the preparation or assembly of dishes in front of customers is nothing new — it’s been a practice in Parisian bistros since the 19th century. It’s just not as common around here, either because of the costly training of the staff, or the time spent on the service.
“We feel that there is curiosity to see what is happening and it is even a way to sell these dishes more. Not to mention that it values the waiter”, says French chef Alain Poletto, from Bistrot de Paris.
In addition to bringing the kitchen into the dining room, which for the restaurateur Marie-France Henry, from La Casserole, has a very distant relationship, finishing the dish at the table breaks the barrier between customers and waiters. This, in her opinion, makes room for an experience that is not just about serving and eating.
Discover restaurants in São Paulo to watch the service of cabin dishes.
The French bistro has an icon prepared in front of diners: the steak tartare. The waiter arrives with all the ingredients on a cart and asks for seasoning preferences. On the plate, first the salt, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, olive oil, parsley, capers, onion, Dijon mustard and ketchup are placed. An emulsion is made based on these items and only then is the filet mignon chopped at the tip of the knife added. The waiter mixes everything and shapes the steak tartare. For R$78, it is served with toast and fries.
Largo do Arouche, 346, República, central region, @lacasserole1954
Whale roof top
The red snapper has a special service at the table. Weighing 1.5 kg, the fish is seasoned with olive oil with herbs and lemon, covered with a layer of coarse salt and baked for 25 minutes. It arrives whole and covered with the crust. “The waiters carry out the process of opening and serving. Most customers comment on the aroma of the fish and the amount of salt. The cool thing is that almost all of them film the process”, says chef Flávio Miyamura. It costs R$ 160 (per kilo) and comes with sautéed potatoes.
R. Lício Nogueira, 92, Itaim Bibi, west region, @baleiarooftop
One of the pioneers in using the guéridon —the service cart—, the restaurant invests in training maîtres and waiters. So much so, that it is one of the houses that has the most options of dishes with finishing in front of the customers. For two people, the grilled wagyu rib, for R$499, is glazed in oregano and accompanied by mashed potatoes and Minas cheese. “It arrives at the table whole, with 650 g of meat, and our team always explains the process”, says chef Luca Gozzani. In the salon, the protein is sliced and plated with the puree before being served.
R. Vitório Fasano, 88, Cerqueira César, west region, @fasano
One of the attractions is spaghetti cacio e pepe (R$86). Traditionally, the preparation is a mixture of grated cheese, freshly ground black pepper, a little pasta cooking water and olive oil or butter to emulsify. However, in this restaurant, the waiters take a 16 kg piece of grana padano open to the customer. After removing the cheese, they mix the other ingredients, finish the dish and deliver it to the table.
Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 166, Pinheiros, west region, @maremonti
bistrot de paris
From the menu written on the blackboard nailed to the wall, attention is drawn to the pururuca piglet with apple compote and sweet potato chips, for R$ 220. Weighing around 1.3 kg, the piece is vacuum-cooked at low temperature for up to 14 hours and finished in the oven. Taken whole to the table by chef Alain Poletto, the meat is boned and broken up with a spoon, it is so tender. Only then are the portions plated with the accompaniments and served. “The maître d’ and the waiters are trained to perform this service when I’m not in the salon. The customer is flattered to have this special service. Some even make videos and post them on their social networks”, narrates Poletto.
R. Augusta, 2.542, store 12, Jardins, west region, @bistrot_de_paris
Brace Bar & Griglia
The restaurant is located on the top floor of Eataly. The protagonist is the ember, who roasts and smokes meat, greens and vegetables. To sweeten the end of the meal, tiramisu (R$ 33), a classic Italian dessert based on mascarpone cream, biscuits, coffee and cocoa, is a blockbuster. The ingredients are taken separately on a trolley and the dish is assembled at the table: first a generous layer of mascarpone cream covers the dishes, which are covered with two champagne biscuits and washed down with coffee. Then comes another layer of cream and sprinkled cocoa.
Av. Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek, 1489, Vila Nova Conceição, west region, @eatalybr
I have worked as a journalist for over 10 years, and my work has been featured on many different news websites. I am also an author, and my work has been published in several books. I specialize in opinion writing, and I often write about current events and controversial topics. I am a very well-rounded writer, and I have a lot of experience in different areas of journalism. I am a very hard worker, and I am always willing to put in the extra effort to get the job done.