When Bruce and Eric Bromberg, both graduates of the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris and veterans of professional kitchens, opened their restaurant Blue Ribbon Brasserie in Manhattan in 1992, the brothers wanted to combine the conviviality of a late-night Paris brasserie with the comforts of American diners. The menu they came up with was both egalitarian and eclectic, featuring everything from paella and pupu platters to matzo ball soup and foie gras. “We were basically serving great versions of our best food memories,” says Bruce. The place was a hit, and the brothers went on to open eight more spots; they’re some of my favorite restaurants in the city. So, I was happy to see that the restaurateurs have just come out with the Bromberg Bros. Blue Ribbon Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, March 2010). I knew the book would be a solid collection of classic dishes—and, with recipes for salt-and-pepper shrimp and hanger steak with caramelized onions, it certainly is—but I also hoped I’d learn the secrets behind my favorite Blue Ribbon dish: their “Northern” fried chicken (see Northern Fried Chicken). That entree, served with mashed potatoes and collard greens (see Brown Buttered Collard Greens), is one of the best versions of the classic meal I’ve tasted: crisp and juicy chicken, bursting with tingly spice and served with honey for dipping; surpassingly silky mashed potatoes; and collard greens that are tangy and crunchy, not soggy. The book did not disappoint; in it, the Brombergs reveal how they devised each component of this delicious dinner.
A new book reveals a restaurant's secrets.