Behind the Swinging Doors: A Look Inside the Kitchen at New York's Porter House
When you’re out to dinner and the plate shows up in front of you, do you ever wonder how it got there? Are you ever curious about the hands that were mixing that sauce, or the eyes that designed the dish, or even what everyone on the restaurant staff does when the tables are empty? Well, we are. So The Daily Meal is going behind the scenes of your favorite restaurants, to see just what goes on in there during all hours of the day.
We stopped by New York City's Porter House New York at 1:59 p.m. on a Thursday. The lunch service was slowing down, but they were still quite busy. On one side of the kitchen was the grill, getting plenty of action at the steakhouse. Being plated were piles of bright green salads, as well as some seafood dishes. In the back, along a long window, black and white cookies were being prepared adjacent to radishes being sliced on a mandoline. Behind the cook dipping cookies in chocolate, a pastry chef delicately pressed pie crust.
Separate from where final dishes are plated and desserts are designed is a whole other area dedicated to stirring and perfecting sauces. From there, a door leads into a refrigerated room used for cutting steaks. Chef Michael Lomonaco runs a tight ship. A photographer himself, he was able to show us the kitchen through the eye of a chef as well as a photographer.
In the Porter House kitchen, there’s action in every corner. The only time a bustling restaurant kitchen comes to a screeching halt? When a hood goes out. Then the only sound in the kitchen was someone saying, "Turn everything off." An eerie silence crept in as cooks fumbled around to switch off burners. They moved as fast as they could to get everything off the stove, fix the hood, get everything back on, and keep service moving.
Porter House is located in New York City's Columbus Circle on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It resides in the same building as other presitigious restaurants such as Per Se, Masa, and A Voce. Executive chef Michael Lomonaco opened Porter House in 2006 after previously running the kitchen at Windows on the World, located on the 107th of the World Trade Center. He also spent some time in television, hosting the Travel Channel's Epicurious and Michael's Place on Food Network.