Monday, January 25, 2010

Finding a voice

OK, so believe it or not, I've always considered myself to be a bit shy. Ask my wife, my friends, they will tell you. They have all been pre-approved or suggested by another pre-approved friend. And this started long before the FB days. I don't tend to search out things, people, ideas. I wait for them to come to me. So why blog? Why put myself out there? I have always been a creative soul, more interested in the visual than the verbal. I have also always had a creative outlet. Art and photography in high school, and then, cooking. But, the cooking was always for someone else and the pressure was completly different than running my own restaurant. I could put all of my energy into one dish and let that dish sing. When Tracey and I opened the restaurant the different menus just flowed and evolved.It took me a while to find my voice. Customers would ask for things like foie gras and oysters that I wasn't sure I could offer in our little store front in Newton. By the way, I have always maintained that what is on the menu is less important than the quality of the ingredients, and I guess that is why my voice gets heard. As the restaurant has evolved I find a shift in that creative balance and now I am writing a menu of the people, instead of for the people. Don't get me wrong, I still love what I do but the pure creative outlet is coated in plaque. I know that sounds so negative, but it makes the point.
Which brings us back to why I'm here. Finding my voice. This blogging thing has been pre-approved by a dear friend and a superbly talented photographer.The intention is that he and I have a place to let the juices flow, to let it all hang out.The intent is to provide a regular stream of thoughts and inspirations with an occaisional recipe thrown in to keep your attention. Please remember your comments are appreciated, but this is about us, and finding our voices and letting them sing.


  1. Welcome to the blogosphere Andre and Rob. One quick housekeeping suggestion for you, before I jump into my comment: consider adding the Disqus comment system to your blog. I'd paste in a link to it here, but you've apparently disabled the paste function here. It'll be easy enough to find online though.

    It was interesting to read what you wrote above about your menus being "of the people" and not "for the people" anymore, and how you feel your creative outlet at Andre's has gotten coated in plaque. I've been going to your restaurant occasionally since your first year, and I've noticed a change in the last few years. My girlfriend and I were talking about that as we drove home to Hackensack a couple of weeks ago, after having dinner at Andre's with my mother and my sister. We talked about the Paris regional dinner you made a couple of years ago -- it was one of the best meals I've ever had. Steak frites, salad, and soup, with a big family-style bowl of your excellent chocolate mousse for desert, served with a side of sugar cookies. All flawlessly executed.

    Last year when your Paris dinner rolled around, we invited two other couples who had never been to your restaurant before to join us. It was still a very good dinner, but the steak didn't have the great sauce you made for it the year before, there were no cookies, no family-style bowl of mousse (just the artful dollops), and the service was a little off. Friendly enough, but your waitress could have sold another couple of bottles of wine that night if she were a little more attentive.

    You are still a phenomenal chef, but I can see how you might feel the need to shake things up. Newton has to be a hard place for you to do business though, especially given the way the economy is now. It's a beautiful area, but not really a well-off one. It never seemed to be booming during the boom years, and now it seems as if there are more vacant store fronts than occupied ones.

    Which brings to mind something else we talked about on the ride home. A couple of weeks before, we had gone to Balthazar in SoHo and talked about how a French bistro like that (or like the less-fancy French Roast) would probably do great in Bergen County. We don't have anything like that here, but we have a lot of folks who like to spend money going out to eat. Would you consider opening a bistro here? The commute would be a bear for you, but I think you would do phenomenal business. We'd be there every week.

    Best of luck with the new blog.