I just returned from a business dinner at Brasserie, a resto I have been going to regularly since it re-opened in 2000. They do great basic French fare, a nice brunch, they use the really good, high butterfat French butter; it’s a great room and it’s midtown.
But tonight was different. Back in December they hired a new executive chef, Franklin Becker and he is exactly the kind of chef to applaud, loudly.
When I called to make a ressie, I let the hostess know to alert the chef that I have nut allergies. This is SOP for me and I find it helps; if the kitchen can’t accommodate me, better to know over the phone then over my plate.
When we sat at our table, our server Peter greeted us and said, “I was told you have nut allergies.”
That surprised me but pleasantly; I appreciate attentive service. He continued, “We will prepare your food in separate pans as our chef is very aware of allergies and takes special care. His kids have allergies so he knows.”
I was a little floored.
I had the heirloom tomato salad, with olives, roasted red peppers and a lemon juice vinaigrette to start--that was minus the melon and Peter didn’t a blink an eye when I asked for a change, love that! The entrée was 24 ounces of oh-my-god-that’s-good-Rib-Eye which was a complete turn around from the disaster at Craftsteak. And below are the fries, made in veggie oil.
I had berries for dessert, sweet and fresh.
The meal was completely nut-free and delicious. I think extra delicious because I felt confident I could eat without fear. At the end of the meal, Peter returned to the table to check in with us. I asked him to please tell the chef how much I appreciated his nut-free awareness.
About 7 minutes later, a tall man in chef whites walked over to our booth and introduced himself. Or I think before he had a chance to, I may have blurted out, “You’re Franklin?!” like some star-struck groupie.
I introduced myself and thanked him for taking such great care and said I would be back often, as I now know there's a new nut-free chef in town.
He was a man of few words but gracious, with a firm handshake. I liked him instantly.
We need more Chef Franklins! I may have to start a mini-movement. Or write him a fan letter. Or offer to baby-sit his kids.