Do you want it to be hot? Do you like it to fall off a hot dog?”
At that point, the waiter stops. “Not all food is the same, and you can’t get the same taste between different people. But for the most part, you can just take a taste, and that will be enough to tell.”
Nap of the day is a relatively new technique. The chef started experimenting with it a few years back, and by the time the restaurant closed up, he had a dozen variations under his belt. He says he was intrigued by how the food felt on the tongue when it was just two bites away, but he was a bit concerned about losing all that deliciousness after a few minutes. “I think everybody who started this is a little bit nervous because the longer it lasts, the more the flavor of what they’re adding to it starts to deteriorate.”
He had several of his cooks use what he calls “the nap-of-the day method.” Once the restaurant is closed and the nap-of-the-day is over, those who brought it in are instructed to bring in their nap for a few minutes. “The chef likes to give it a little kick,” says Dan, the chef and owner. “We’ve done a few versions now and there’s been some variation. If it’s a hot dog, for example, we put an extra chunk of pepperoni, for example: They know you’re gonna eat them anyway.”
He also tells his cooks to have the nap on all day, even late at night, until everyone in the place has had one. It’s an old trick and is usually something they’ve been doing ever since they opened New York City’s first nap table in 2009. The restaurateur is careful to tell those behind the wheel that Nap of the Day is strictly for the benefit of the driver.
“I just like to make sure it’s really nice and fresh by cleaning it immediately after. There are a lot of things that are really great, but if you get it washed off with a dirty nap, it actually becomes a little less enjoyable. You have to have a good nap to eat it right.”
Dan takes great care to ensure that the nap is really good. “One of the things I really care about is the nap, but I know there’s a lot of people who have made it better by letting the waiter do the cleaning for them. And I just say no.”
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