15 votes

San Francisco restaurant's $72 fried rice was a runaway hit. It was also the chef's nightmare

5 comments

  1. [3]
    an_angry_tiger
    Link
    I guess I uh, don't get it*, they went through the trouble of making this dish with a ton of carefully chosen premium ingredients and then were upset that people enjoyed the dish that had premium...

    To really land a joke, you have to commit to it, so Lam did. He sourced premium red king crab claws from a Japanese supplier; caviar from the California Caviar company and Tsar Nicoulai. His beef was from a high-end ranch that fed its cattle on olives, granting their meat more umami flavor and healthier fatty acids. He studied the art of fried rice with friend and colleague James Yu, who produces ideally fluffy and crisp wok-seared fried rice at his restaurant, Great China, in Berkeley. Lam’s team picked the meat from king crabs, snow crabs and Dungeness crabs and used the shells to make a stock, which they turned into a concentrated, multispecies crab essence that was folded into butter. Taking all of this trouble was one way to keep his cooks interested in the work during a soul-sucking time when all they were doing was takeout. Plus, the bottom line was that Lam didn’t want to put out crappy food, even if it was just for laughs.

    I guess I uh, don't get it*, they went through the trouble of making this dish with a ton of carefully chosen premium ingredients and then were upset that people enjoyed the dish that had premium crab, caviar, beef, and made by expert chefs.

    It's kind of an odd problem to have, up the price by $10 ("It didn’t help that they didn’t make any money on the fried rice with all of its premium, market-rate ingredients") and be glad that people are rushing to get one of your dishes and want to eat at your restaurant? One of the scary (and quite possible) alternatives is that no one wants to eat at your restaurant or care about the dishes that you do like and want to make, and your restaurant fails. Embrace your successes, no matter how unintentional they were ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    * I mean I do get it, but it's not a great joke, and sounds like a nice thing to eat, so who's laughing?

    9 votes
    1. skybrian
      Link Parent
      It does seem like they could charge more and limit availability to when they feel like making it.

      It does seem like they could charge more and limit availability to when they feel like making it.

      1 vote
    2. EgoEimi
      Link Parent
      I’d probably save up to splurge on this for a special occasion. It sounds and looks delicious and isn’t your everyday fried rice.

      I’d probably save up to splurge on this for a special occasion. It sounds and looks delicious and isn’t your everyday fried rice.

  2. [2]
    Bullmaestro
    Link
    No wonder it's $72. There are some gourmet ingredients going into this. I can only hope that the sole reason they dropped this dish from the menu is because it's unprofitable, because otherwise it...

    No wonder it's $72. There are some gourmet ingredients going into this. I can only hope that the sole reason they dropped this dish from the menu is because it's unprofitable, because otherwise it would be a stupid business decision to withdraw your best-selling dish.

    If I learned anything from watching loads of Sous Vide Everything & Guga Foods videos, it's that this restaurant isn't even using the most expensive and highest quality cut of beef they can get. Kobe Wagyu A5 is the most expensive and also highest quality of beef you can have. The marbling is off-the-charts and the fat can basically melt in your fingers like butter.

    1 vote
    1. MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      You can drop a service offering because it's taking your business in a direction you don't want, even if it makes money.

      You can drop a service offering because it's taking your business in a direction you don't want, even if it makes money.

      4 votes