Friday, October 17, 2003


Specials serve very different purposes for chefs and restaurant owners. For some, it's an opportunity to charge a lot of money for a dish that is often more rarefied than that on the regular menu. Other establishments use it to get rid of ingredients that are approaching the end of their shelf life. However, when I was growing up the special was something entirely different. It was something not normally available on the regular menu and was offered at a good value, sometimes cheaper than regular menu items. In the NY dining scene, specials are also a way of catering to regular clients who might be bored with the regular menu, and of course foodies who are always craving something different.

At Schnack we run specials for many different reasons. When we get in fresh ingredients as mundane as lettuce or as nice as turkey breast we often like to reduce the price a bit and sell as much as possible knowing we have enough in-house and will not run out of it. We also like to be creative within the context of our "palate" of flavors; this has led to dishes like Knockwurst in Japanese curry with veggies over Japanese rice.

This leads to a question we get often, which is, "what type of food do you sell?" The answer we most often give is simply American or even Brooklyn, but in truth we throw in a bit of Eastern European, like Polish, and some German, and even a bit of NYC Jewish.

For the last few weeks we have been running bigos, which is a very traditional Polish dish (Hunter Stew). We intend to be running German, Polish, and various other Eastern European dishes all throughout the fall and winter. When we get into the New Year, and Alan's TV show, "Cooking in Brooklyn" starts to air we expect to run most if not all the items from the TV show as specials.