Friday, June 20, 2008

A roulade is not a tart

A roulade is not a tart. Roulade means to roll, in creating a roulade you must produce something that is rolled around something else, a bouche noel (pictured at left) is a roulade. A tart is a pastry shell that contains a filling. In no way should the average person mistake a roulade for a tart. But that’s exactly what happened at dinner last night.

Have you noticed that dessert menus often lie? I’m not sure why this is, but it seems to be a normal occurrence in my dining experiences. Perhaps I’ve just come across a slew of pastry chefs that don’t have an understanding of the French language which so often dominates the descriptions of their confections.

Last night at a cute little Italian restaurant in Boston’s South End I ordered a Lemon Roulade, what I received was a Lemon Tart. It was delicious, but why promise a roulade and deliver a tart?

Restaurateurs are craftsmen, marketers and performers all at once. Their food (craft) needs to be outstanding, their menus (marketing) need to describe that food in an enticing and accurate manner and their space and wait staff (performers) must emulate whatever ambiance the restaurateur has set out to fabricate. If one of those facets doesn’t deliver, the restaurant becomes just one in the same with the other restaurants around it, sameness, nothingness, all at once.

Image credit: tsavadogo on flickr

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