What does Tony Abou-Ganim always order when he dines out?
If I'm somewhere like Balthazar, I go for something that I can't make as well, or at all, at home. And it's usually going to include French fries. I cook a lot at home, but rarely do I cook fish. My third favorite thing is pickerel, where if you're from Chicago, you've probably heard of pickerel. You come out here and it's a freshwater fish. You don't really see people eat pickerel, but that would probably be my number three. There's a place in Port Huron, Michigan called the Palms Krystal Bar that does fried pickerel with French fries — imagine that! If I ever see pickerel on the menu, that's what I’m ordering. It’s one of those things that’s hard to find and when you find it done well, you order it. First thing I do when I come home is go the Palms Krystal and have a pickerel dinner.
Steak tartare is another thing I love to get when I'm out. I like the showmanship, the romance, especially when they do it tableside. I guess I'm a little old-school that way. I still like Caesar salads done tableside, or bananas foster. Dining out needs to be fun. When it gets stuffy or pretentious in any way, it's probably not the place you're going to find me.
Now, if I'm in Paris I'm probably eating foie gras with every meal and I feel my arteries harden by the time I get back on the plane. When I'm in Paris, I eat a lot of snails; I eat a lot of foie gras; I eat a lot of cheese — things I can't readily get here.