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Thread: a sous-vide too far

  1. #1
    Senior Member EdipisReks's Avatar
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    a sous-vide too far

    my fiancÚ and i went to one of the highest rated restaurants in Cincinnati, last night. the bread, first courses, cocktails and desserts were all great, but the main courses (sea bass for me, a rack of pork for her) had been turned too absolute mush in the pursuit of "tenderness." both were proudly crowed as sous-vide dishes, of course. we didn't pay for the entrees (i hate complaining at restaurants, even when i'm very unsatisfied, but when the dishes were taken we were asked if we weren't satisfied and i told the truth), and the general manager, who is a really fun guy, turned what otherwise would have been a disappointing evening into a success (we tried an experimental dessert, and he proudly brought out one of the cook's Hattoris and talked about a trip he made with some of the kitchen staff to Korin earlier in the year, when he found out i was a knife guy, after a bit of conversation), but it still left a bad taste in my mouth (pun intended).

    this isn't the first time i've had mush at an otherwise fine restaurant. now don't get me wrong, i like sous-vide; you can do neat things with it, and i've had some really tasty meals with it used (and i use it at home, though i use the old "pot of water, thermometer, bucket of ice cubes, and a lot of time on my hands" method), but i don't understand why so many restaurants have adopted the mentality of "if a few hours are great, a whole bunch of hours must be even greaterer, no matter what food it is!" it almost makes me try to avoid it all together when i go out to eat, but i'm not sure i could even go out and get a steak that feels like a steak, anymore.

  2. #2

    ecchef's Avatar
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    Should be part of the Chef's Creed:
    "A little learning is a dangerous thing." Alexander Pope
    Though I could not caution all I still might warn a few; Don't raise your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools. - Robert Hunter

  3. #3
    Senior Member Salty dog's Avatar
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    I have to wonder how long they cooked that pork?

  4. #4
    Senior Member EdipisReks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salty dog View Post
    I have to wonder how long they cooked that pork?
    i didn't find out. it had to have been a long time. it had a nice tasty crust on the outside, and a slimy pork flavored sponge cake on the inside. wasn't even really like meat, anymore. i've seen similar results from leaving a good beef filet in the water bath for 12+ hours, and this was a pretty big piece of pork...

  5. #5
    Senior Member goodchef1's Avatar
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    it's unfortunate that you got a bad experience at a fine dining restaurant. My opinion is that your mush was more attributed to the brine or marinade that was used rather then the sous-vide process itself. Enzymes used to soften connective tissue in brine and marinades when soaked for too long will turn protiens into mush. Overcooked proteins will toughen up.

    ingredients with these enzymes should marinade no longer then a few hours. Unfortunately, some do not know most of them and tend to try an impart the maximum flavor not knowing that their muscle tissue is dissolving right before their eyes

  6. #6
    Senior Member EdipisReks's Avatar
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    well, the texture is exactly what i have experienced with way overcooked sous-vide in my own kitchen, so i'm fairly sure about what the problem was.

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