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The Balthazar Cookbook Hardcover – October 28, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Whether or not readers are familiar with Balthazar, Manhattan's booming, six-year-old brasserie, they're in for a delight. The restaurant's cookbook lifts the lid on the essence of French brasserie cooking, unearthing the secrets to making a deliciously sharp, perfectly melted gratin (use Swiss Gruyre, Emmentaler or Comt); frying french fries (fry them once to cook them thoroughly, then again to crisp the exterior); burnishing sugar atop a creme brlee (it should "crack like thin ice"); and more. Art critic Hughes paints a brilliant portrait of Balthazar in his foreword, marveling at the unbelievable quantity of ingredients Balthazar tears through (40 pounds of mushrooms a day; 30 pounds of garlic a week) and the staff's ability to hide the kitchen's pressure cooker-like atmosphere from diners: "out on the floor it's all politeness, smiles, and yes-sir-no-sir, while backstage it's Jesus, where is it, get that fucking stuff over here, and where's the goddamn morels?" Home chefs need not be so stressed, as the authors (McNally owns the place; Nasr and Hanson are chefs) present clear and simple recipes for such classics as Salade Nicoise, Steak Tartare, Bouillabaisse, Coq au Vin, Duck Confit, Cassoulet and Steak Frites. Injecting a touch of humor (Frisee aux Lardons, normally a meal unto itself, could make a first course "for those who believe strongly in bacon fat"), the authors explain techniques, such as shucking oysters and cleaning leeks, and more obscure ingredients, such as Japanese bread crumbs and fines herbes. Like its food, Balthazar's cookbook is uncomplicated, elegant and timeless. 100 color, 40 b&w photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"The first thing I do whenever I plan a visit to New York is make a reservation at Balthazar; this is quite the best room in Manhattan."
"I went for breakfast; I stayed till supper."
"The brandade. The bouillabaisse. The frites. These are a few of the things I would want to cook every week from Balthazar, were it not infinitely more cheerful to eat them on site."
"Keith McNally and his exceptional team have managed to consistently satisfy every American's dream of spending an evening or lunch or even breakfast somewhere in Paris without ever leaving the U.S.A."
"From the first moment, Balthazar felt like a place that had been part of the New York landscape for a hundred years."
"The talent and spirit of chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr are at the heart of this wonderful transported brasserie, which happens to be my favorite downtown restaurant."
"The enchanting atmosphere of Balthazar combined with the rightness of the food and service together create an extraordinary restaurant."
"If Balthazar did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it."
"Keith McNally is an old friend of mine and even I'm not treated that well."
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