My Search For The Perfect Omelet Came Up Short At The Mansion

Categories: Complaint Desk

Mansion Omelete.jpg
"I'll have the omelet please, and black coffee," I told my waiter. I was researching Dallas' best breakfasts and hoped a luxury hotel version from the Mansion on Turtle Creek would make the cut. My waiter asked what kind of filling I wanted with my eggs, and I responded that the omelet would be fine on its own.

He raised an eyebrow, as if to question why I'd want an omelet stuffed with nothing. "I want a simple, perfect omelet that tastes of butter, with moist, weeping curds," I told him. I'm convinced he thought I was a nut.

A short while later my plate arrived, looking quite dashing -- a fluffy fold of eggs encased in a perfect canary hue. But looks aren't everything, and after cutting the omelet open with my fork I found a dry, overcooked dish that tasted of nothing more than set, scrambled eggs. When the bill arrived my distaste with the Mansion's breakfast was compounded: the omelet cost $20.

At first I didn't want to knock the restaurant, because I think perception in Dallas works against its omelet. Dallas is a town that predominantly leans towards well-done cookery. People here seem to more often prefer their burgers cooked through and their steaks medium, and I'm sure a runny omelet is sent back to the kitchen as underdone more often than not. But then I looked at my bill and remembered requesting the omelet be prepared with a light hand. My request was ignored. My omelet made me sad.

The perfect omelet is a true thing of beauty. You'll often hear food writers wax on and on about simplicity in cuisine, so much that it sounds cliche, but in an omelet those words really resonate. When farm fresh eggs are cooked gently in the presence of copious butter they become something new. A rich custard texture accents a flavor with which cheese would be redundant and any other filling would be a distraction.

Paul Grimes knows how to talk omelet. The food editor for the now defunct Gourmet Magazine put together this video tutorial, which clearly and concisely describes how to make a textbook omelet. Francis Lam wrote this ode to perfect eggs for the same publication. I've only had a handful of omelets cooked with such care in my life. I wish they were more common.

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Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

2821 Turtle Creek Blvd, Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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Mwootto
Mwootto

Scruffy, Kergo, Grumpy Demo, primi-timpano, whitney filloon, TOm, Nic R., Scotts Merkin and Reitz, omelet party/discussion at Garden Cafe? I'll pay. I think it would be interesting.

Guest
Guest

You can keep the eggs and potatoes. Just let me at the bacon!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

son of bitch that bacon looks good.  the egg looks like crap and that video on how to make an omlette is a joke.  clarified butter, isnt that just melted butter, and then you put cold butter too which just melts into warm "clarified" butter.  What a joke.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Clarified butter has all the water removed as well as the milk solids, making it pure fat with a much higher smoke point. Which shouldn't make a big deal to a French omelet cooked under relatively low heat, so it may be a flavor thing. Cold butter in with the eggs has something to do with denaturing proteins or some other science thing and ends up making the eggs more tender.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

Lots of talk about low heat. Grimes' omelet was cooked at a high temperature. The clarified butter had gotten to the smoke point before he added the eggs. The omelet had no color because he worked quickly the pan was over the burner for only 30 seconds after the eggs were added The omelet was out of the pan in 45 seconds. 

Julia's omelet was not browned either. I prefer mine without color as well.

Mwootto
Mwootto

Also, order your omelet cooked light.

Mark Wootton
Mark Wootton

I don't remember McGee's omelet technique, but I do remember him writing that scrambled eggs ought to be cooked at a low heat. I do not understand that. I also don't understand the conventional, classic omelet technique. I thought Julia's looked terrible. If I'm making a plain omelet I'll:cook the water out of whole butteradd 3 beaten eggs before the butter brownswait until there is a cooked layer on the bottom and happily watch my eggs expand and growpick up the edges with a plastic high-heat scraperlet the egg on top run underneath and form a new layerflip and let set off the heatfold onto plateif it's ideal there will be no color (in my opinion eggs should never have color, even fried OH) and a slight run.If I'm adding ingredients I saute them in the egg pan before adding beaten eggs.While it's setting I add cheese that will be in the fold as plated.Unfortunately, customers often send back omelettes with even the slightest bit of run to them. Then, you risk a negative Yelp review for "runny eggs!,., whta is this internationale house of salmoneela!?!?!?!?!"I think our omelettes are perfect the majority of the time. Most definitely not 100% though. If it was not last time you were here, before you decided never to come back because it took too long, then don't say I lied.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

I didn't actually watch the video, thanks for the clarification. My point of reference is America's Test Kitchen, which, if I remember right, uses a rather low heat for traditional French omelets.

Clarified butter makes sense if the pan is ripping hot.

Ergo Shipspace 1
Ergo Shipspace 1

If your butter is browning, you may as well turn it into ghee or use it for shortbread cookies.  Just make sure you get the delicious brown bits, as those are the key to the flavor. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

thanks scruffdog!  But if all the water is removed why does he say pour the clarified butter in the pan, the sizzle you hear is the water burning off?  Not being mean, seriously curious

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

grazi!  Im learning here too.  I can grill the shit out of some meat, and bake some things too, and I damn sure know about eating food, i just dont know all the intricacies and lingo of all things chef

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

He says remaining water. There should be very little water left in the butter after it is clarified.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

great thought out and deep response, you really contributed there buddy.  Or is that how foodie snob douche brushes reply in food articles?  WTF is "no"

Mon Fre
Mon Fre

i haven't been with anyone my entire time in Dallas who orders their steaks medium or more...or their burgers well-done.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

Grimes is a douche.  Clarified butter?  Incorporating butter into the egg mixture.  Stupid mention about not breaking the yolk when put into the bowl.  Julia Child would have him crying for his Mama in 25 seconds or less.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

Good try.  The Austin Four Seasons took four tries to make two properly cooked soft boiled eggs.

Assuming the photo is of which the Mansion served, it should have been returned and corrected--yes, a practice that often puts health in imminent danger, but one to which you have sworn to follow as a paid critic--the Mansion gets low marks for poor plate presentation and greasy potatoes.  From the two pictures (both Grimes and the Mansion) it appears there was not enough heat impart the light brown crust essential to a properly cooked omelet.

And it takes little care but lots of animation to keep the eggs from sticking, develop a brown exterior, and form soft interior curdles.

I recommend Julia C: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...I personally really liked Madeleine Kamman's technique Martha Stewart, here is the recipe, but alas, no video--she rocked that omelet pan: http://www.marthastewart.com/3...

Tell us when you find one.

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

You know Scott, there was an article about the definition of manly dining a couple days ago.

This article helped me figure it out.

Manly dining is when you ask the waiter for "moist, weeping curds," he punches you in the face.

Buckeye
Buckeye

Real men don't eat quiche.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

They don't?  Why....because some $sshole in 1974 wrote a book about it?  I guess real men don't eat pizza either, or drink beer?  A quiche is just an egg in an oven.  How is that any less manly than eatin' pancakes or punkin' pie dude?

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Awesome, then I'm doing my job, policing and patrolling this blog like a police state in a third world country.  I like the tough guy thing.  Hey man, 6 cups of coffee will make you kinda mean-I apologize.     

Buckeye
Buckeye

I was just making a little joke about that old book.  Lighten up, tough guy.  You're growing tiresome.

TOm
TOm

What idiot goes to the Mansion in the first place spending $20 on an omelet. If you want a fantastic omelet go to a hole in the wall, The Egg and I or Le Peep.

Nic Rodriguez
Nic Rodriguez

Le Peep was disappointing last time I strolled in there. I'll give it another shot, though. I dig a good omelet. 

todd
todd

my fondest omelet memories are from post bar hopping wee wee hour greasy spoons.  one in particular, the chili and cheese omelet at the village inn - cheyenne, wy. 

Mwootto
Mwootto

We have chiliWe have omeletLoveGarden Cafe

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

Any Waffle House serves chili on scrambled eggs 24/7.

Josh
Josh

cliche: nouncliched: adjective

it either sounds cliched or it sounds like a cliche

Whitney Filloon
Whitney Filloon

A perfect plain omelet is almost impossible to find in a restaurant, it seems... they're always filled with 3 kinds of cheese and mushrooms and peppers and onions.  We were forced to make Escoffier-style omelets over and over in culinary school, when made right they're pretty damn delicious.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Very poor plating by Mansion, looks like it was thrown on.

But Gourmet Magazine? Please, this was typical Gourmet Magazine, lots of worthless extraneous and down right wrong instructions. Two forks? Beating cold butter into the eggs? Baloney.

Here the correct way from a far better teacher, with a lot less pretentious BS:

http://youtu.be/LWmvfUKwBrg

Also, here's Jacque Pepin's recipe, note no butter.

http://www.kqed.org/w/jacquesp...

FYI, Gourmet was famous for its untested, pretentious great sounding inedible recipes http://www.slate.com/articles/...

Shall we say whisks at high noon sir?

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated has a recipe for a French omelet that also includes diced cold butter. It's my understanding there is a science to it, and when I tried the recipe it was indeed one of the best omelets I've ever made.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

Harold McGee says nothing about adding cold, iced butter to the egg mixture before placing the mixture in the pan.  He quotes an 1835 recipe that does this, but it does NOT mention placing butter in the pan separately.  It appears to be an affectation.

Bfd
Bfd

looks like a baby diaper

Guest
Guest

Full or empty?

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

When the Mansion turns out a plate that Waffle House wouldn't send out, it needs to do some  serious rethinking.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

That plate looks very plain, and in dire need of some color, and contrast (Note: check out that Lochart's pic from yesterday)......and you don't fold an omelet like that.  I would put the product on a smaller plate w/baby new potatoes and fresh basil, turkey bacon-maybe a fruit skewer w/vanilla drizzle. $20.00!  You can buy dinner for a week with that.  The perfect omelet is made with regular eggs (the whole EGG!) over butane; the butane provides substantial oxygen under said product.

ps-A nice white sauce compliments the omelet, if needed.  A good omelet needs nothing to accompany it-like a great steak.

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