I remember watching, mesmerized, as Jacques Torres poured chocolate onto a slab and narrated every movement with that decadent French accent of his.
Recently I found myself at the counter of his newly reopened outpost in New York City’s Grand Central Station Concourse — a location I will endure on only the rarest of occasions — and was served new menu items like Croque Monsieur with ham, Gruyere, and Béchamel sauce; a Scandinavian Tartine made with house-cured Gravlox with spinach, cream cheese, dill, capers, shaved fennel, and pickled red onions; and a roasted vegetable Tachina with roasted cauliflower, tomato, red bell peppers, and parsley hummus.
I also got to try iced tea flavored ice cream, a creation he made for his wife, who, like me, will drink the beverage with most meals.
“I love to do all different things, including cooking, so I figured, 'why not?'” he explained to The Daily Meal why he decided to add savory food items to a menu of cookies
, crepes, and ice cream. “All of my life I’ve worked in different restaurants, which has given me the ability to diversify.”
Torres also noted that offering “more” is never a bad idea in NYC, where it’s becoming harder and harder to compete with skyrocketing rents.
“Even if you’re known for chocolate, people will notice, ‘Oh, here’s something else,’ when they get there, which is a good way to bring in business,” he said.
Interestingly enough, the legendary “Mr. Chocolate”
actually started out as a pastry chef, and just embraced the nickname he was given. It’s no surprise that he uses croissant dough in his turnovers and bakes his own “thinner version” of focaccia bread for the open-faced sandwiches.
So, what’s his idea of the perfect sandwich?
“It really depends on how hungry I am, but I don’t like to feel heavy when I finish my lunch. I need to keep moving,” he said.
Of course, you also have to leave room for dessert.
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