Combo Wombo

In an effort to be creative some chefs have put combinations together that would better be left on their own. Combos of course in themselves can be phenomenal. There are some combos that work so well together that they become classics- tomatoes & basil, beef & Bearnaise, chocolate & raspberry. As effortless a match these are, like Ozzie & Harriet, there are some combos that push the envelope and some that just don’t work even though on the menu they may sound interesting.

A collegue of mine just got back from Vegas and had a combo that could ‘stay in Vegas’ and never resurface again. He had an American KOBE burger with a crisp fried soft shell crab on top- WOW! That sounds great, like Steve Lawrence  & Edie Gourmet. One bite and it WAS like Steve & Edie- Steve Lawrence & Idi Amin. This was a very bad combo. I asked why and he said all he could taste was the softshell crab and the beef was completely overpowered; “the whole thing tasted like fish”.

Yes, on paper this sounded like a clever take on surf and turf but the ship was grounded on the first bite. Part of the reason is Kobe style beef is very buttery and delicate; to go up against a crisp fried whole soft shell crab which can be quite assertive would be problematic. It must be remembered, for it to work it needs to work on all levels, applied creativity is like flying but you have to be able to land for it to be successful. In this case the combinations of flavor profiles should have been better thought out. (Did anyone in the kitchen try one?) In lieu of this I think I’ll take that American Kobe burger on toasted ciabatta, sliced tomato, a slice of Fontina, and the classic combo of mayo and Dijon; boring I know, I also know I’ll eat the whole thing and be back- that’s what we’re shootin’ for right?

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