Diners are dipping in across all foodservice arenas, adding layers of flavour with an array of saucy accompaniments no longer reserved for French fries and mozzarella sticks.
This article first appeared in the 15 February 2006 issue of Restaurants & Institutions (R&I).
R&I is the USA's leading source of food and business-trend information and exclusive research on operators and restaurant patrons. Editorial coverage spans the entire foodservice industry, including chains, independent restaurants, hotels and institutions. To find out more about R&I, visit its website www.foodservice411.com.
Savory, spicy, tangy or sweet, dipping sauces bring customers the flavour variety and menu control they desire while helping operators deliver added value and a sense of customization.
Entréees and appetizers alike get the dunking treatment at white-tablecloth steakhouse Country Club Grill at Wynn Las Vegas, where every table receives a quartet of house-made sauces to tailor their meals.
Executive Chef David Walzog's personal preference is to let most menu items stand on their own, but "overwhelming requests" from customers made the practice a must, he says. Goosenecks, lined up with serving spoons on long, surfboard-style plates, present the selections with flair.
While Walzog's menu highlights prime cuts such as the 16-ounce New York strip shown here, diners take the plunge with more value-minded meats as well.
Dallas-based TGI Friday's matches flat-iron steak with its signature, whiskey-laced dip (packaged in cardboard containers with plastic lids for carry-out); at Laurent Tourondel's BLT Steak in New York City, hanger steak is among several entrees guests can pair with seven sauces from blue cheese to peppercorn.
1. Creamy smooth
Green peppercorns in brine bring distinctive taste to Executive Chef David Walzog's blend of Dijon mustard and white wine with fresh tarragon, chives and chervil.
2. Tangy sweet
Orange zest and horseradish spark Walzog's house-made steak sauce. To save time, purchased sauce can be personalised with hot sauce, cayenne pepper or a spice blend.
3. Spicy cool
Start this simple sauce, a natural partner for steak, with prepared horseradish and sour cream.Dress it up with lemon zest or juice, mustard, fresh herbs and garlic.