Even for those of us who don't live in New York, it's hard to ignore the accolades of Balthazar, Keith McNally's world-famous SoHo brasserie that's been perennially packed since it opened over a decade ago.
New Yorkers may think it's still hard to book a rez, but those of us on the West Coast really can't snag a seat for brunch. That's why I was psyched to get my hands on a copy of The Balthazar Cookbook ($24.75). Find out if the book deserves the same reputation as its namesake restaurant when you
- A comprehensive anthology of France's seminal dishes, from bouillabaisse to cassoulet.
- Elegant layout and stunning action shots make this a gorgeous coffee table tome.
- Sidebar notes include techniques and suggestions for locating obscure products.
- With its beautiful red binding, elegant typography, and stylish photos, this compilation of recipes is almost too attractive to use.
- Many recipes, such as potato gnocchi or cod with lobster, are not for the beginner cook.
- Labor-intensive dishes (like Koulibiac — seared salmon with spinach, lettuce, rice, and mushrooms, all wrapped in puff pastry) seem better off ordered at a restaurant.
Recipes: The book includes all of the classic, national dishes of France. These dishes caught my eye:
- Balthazar salad
- Salt Cod Brandade
- Onion Soup Gratinée
- Duck Confit
- Côte de Boeuf
- Banana Tarte Tatin
Imagery: More often than not, the recipes include vivid and luscious corresponding photos.
Overall Rating: While not the most practical of cookbooks, this book would be a great purchase for die-hard Balthazar fans, or experienced home cooks looking for a go-to for classic French favorites.