The Upside of Groupthing .
With extravagant entrees designed for sharing, everyone egts the good stuff.
When we entertain at home,we take for granted that we all partake in the same dishes,prepared in porions large enough to share.So isn't it a bit odd, in this age of dining out as entertainment,for friends to gather at a restaurant and each order a different meal?It's a very american way of eating, and it embodies those all-american values of freedom and rugged indiviualism-we each get what we want,without compromise.
But in other culinary cultures around the world,the gastronomical high points are dishes made for sharing:paella from Spain,Peking duck from china,and from vietnam,a whole repertoire of dishes cooked at the table.
Peking duck is a rarity on chinese restaurant munus,probably because it is so much trouble to prepare.One classic method,for example,involves inflating the bird carcass wish a bicycle pump,then air-drying it for a day before roasting.It's no surprise,then,that restaurants usually require customers to order a whole brid-enough to feed four-at least a day in advance.Before serving,the duck is traditionally carved into three courses:the skin,sered with pancakes;the meat,stir-fried with picklev vegetables;and the bones,either made into soup or sent home with the customer to use in homemade soup.I don't know what shortcuts the chefs at Relax restaurant use in their delicious version of this classic dish,but they ofer a half-duck seved as dinner in two courses,which can be ordered without advance reservations .(whole ducks are served in three courses.)The half-duck makes an ample dinner for two,and at$17.95,it's steal.
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