May is "New Menu Testing Item Month" at The Cookery. Over the winter months, our family starts talking about potential new items. Our inspiration comes from cooking at home or from places we have traveled over the winter.
After the restaurant opens in late April is when the real menu testing begins at The Cookery. Carol is our resident chef, and many of the new items start with either her or Karin, who is following in her footsteps and taking over responsibility in the kitchen.
When a new menu idea is born, the next step is to research recipes and use them as inspiration for something tasty that will work well on The Cookery's menu. The final (and perhaps most important!) step in the process is to test the recipe in The Cookery's kitchen to see if it can withstand the fast pace that we need to have as a busy seasonal restaurant. If something is too labored or has too many steps, it won't make for a good menu item -- no matter how delicious it is.
This year is no exception to our unofficial menu testing process, and Carol and Karin have been cooking up a few new items that will be on the menu starting Memorial Day weekend:
- For breakfast, a savory pancake is on the list of new additions. Carol created a buttermilk pancake with shredded Wisconsin cheddar, Nueske's ham, and green onion. It pairs perfectly with two over-easy eggs and even a little maple syrup.
- We've also been talking about putting fish tacos on the menu for years. One of our family's favorite vacation spots is Mexico, and when we're there, we love to sample local tacos -- especially fish tacos. Carol decided to add them to our menu this year for both lunch and dinner, with a nod to Midwestern cuisine. The Cookery's new tacos will feature Great Lakes perch, mustard slaw, pickled onions, and jalapeños, topped with Sriracha mayonnaise.
- Carol was also inspired to change the whitefish entree this season. Our locally-caught whitefish is now broiled with a lemon caper butter sauce and garnished with fresh parmesan. The sauce is a riff on a beurre blanc sauce (a French-inspired sauce that literally translates to "white butter"), and goes perfectly with the local fish.
- And sometimes, everything old is new again. This is the case of one of the items that will be available in our bakery case this year, the poppyseed danish. These danishes were popular at The Pantry, the bakery that was next to the restaurant during the 80s and 90s. They're making a comeback this season!
Unfortunately, there is only so much space available on the restaurants's menus. So, when a new menu items is developed, an old menu item might need to be retired. This is always a tough decision, but is usually informed by sales numbers from the previous years.
We hope you enjoy some of the new menu additions this season, and we'd love to hear what you think about the new items if you have the chance to try them over the summer and fall! Click here to take a look at our full menu on our website.