Your Experience and Opinoin of Deconstructed Food/Dish

I have been having a few deconstructed dishes lately. For those not familiar with deconstructed food,

A regular key lime pie looks like this:

A deconstructed pie would look like this, present each key component as separate item:

Mine experience has always been dessert. I didn’t know I was going to get deconstructed desserts until upon arrival. Not that I really mind (I am pretty easy going). They taste good. However, while I really enjoy the novelty, I cannot but think that I won’t want this happens too often.

What is your experience with deconstructed dishes? Love them? Hate them? Something in between? Thanks for sharing.

I think they are chaffy nonsense that never add anything to the “constructed” version apart from mate a more artful presentation (and as the saying goes we do was with our eyes).

I have generally had deconstructed desserts but also deconstructed steak tartare: "so you can mix each forkful differently ad a few other savoury dishes.

Most constructed dishes work because its the combination and ratio of ingredients that makes them work. The skill in the dish is getting these things right - by deconstructing it the chef abdicates responsibility for getting the balance right.

2 Likes

I’ll add that to me a deconstructed dish is not the dish at all, but just a plateful of ingredients that might be combined to become the dish in question.

I think they’re pretentious and just a step less obnoxious than constructing a Jenga- type tower of detrtritus on top of my dinner with goofy garnishes and a pair of tweezers.

1 Like

My favorite deconstructed dish of the past few years is served at Michel Richard’s Central in D.C. Their deconstructed Banana Split is a kick…
Sometimes the ‘deconstructed’ dish is easier to eat than the original…

the only thing I like about deconstructed dishes (sometimes) is that the plating can be beautiful - but if you’re really good I’d rather just have you construct it and make it taste great.

1 Like

I vote to deconstruct some of the deconstructors. See if it improves them any.

1 Like

I disagree. The chef can/should still put the right balance of ingredients on the plate. Those pics look like pretty similar filling:crust:topping ratios.

I appreciate creative presentation. At least the kitchen is trying to keep it interesting.

But of course, anything can be done badly, and not everyone is looking for interesting.

1 Like

What I am thinking about the biggest advantage of deconstructed dishes is that you can decide what to eat. You can take a bit of the graham cracker first and then the lime zest and then the lime filling. So it gives you, the patron, the full control how to experience the dish.

1 Like

I don’t see the point when it’s going to taste the same . Might as well take your fist and smash it . :upside_down:

1 Like

In theory it should be, but all to often the art gets in the way of that i.e. it looks better to have equal amounts of each ingredient despite the ideal mix being a ratio of 1:2:3. Or a particular ingredient just looks odd in the volume that makes the dish and so is artfully reduced.

I have had a few dishes where the deconstruction was explained as a way for the diner to control the taste of the dish and vary it with each mouthful.

I hear both of these as well - and I reject them on principle. If I wanted to decide what to eat and how to very each mouthful then I’ll just stay home and cook for myself. I go to nice restaurants with creative chefs (where I typically see deconstruction) to experience their vision for a dish. I find these reasons for deconstructions to be cop outs. Do they want me to come in the kitchen to give my 2 cents on salt, butter, etc too?

1 Like

I don’t do a lot of fine dining, so my experience with this sort of stuff is limited, but… Most deconstructed dishes i’ve had seemed to only be about presentation. I’ve never had any deconstructed version of a dish that was better or more interesting than a traditional “assembled” version. To me, it’s just a presentation thing that brings nothing to the eating experience except forcing me to reassemble the dish every time I take a bite. It’s a waste of my bloody time.

Was trying to post Valrhona’s video of deconstructed carrot cake but linking to Facebook isn’t working … it’s just chefs being chefs.

oh here we go

With the exception of a few stellar restaurants, WD-50 and Eleven Madison Park come to mind, none of the deconstructed dishes I’ve had tasted as good as the better examples of the original. I’m all for creativity and beautiful plating but it still should taste as good (even if different) as the original.

1 Like

I am not the biggest fan of deconstructed dishes. While I enjoy them once awhile, I don’t think I would want a lot of them. That being said, I don’t think it is a matter of cop outs. I think it takes as much work if not more to do the deconstructed dishes.

At first, I also thought deconstructed dishes must be easier, but the more I think, the more I changed my view Presentation alone is not easy. Making 10 pies got to be easier than making 50 deconstructed pies. When you make 10 pie, it becomes an assembly. Think of the last time you bake two sheets of cookies. It is not much tougher to make 10 pie vs 1 pie.

1 Like

I don’t disagree with the work effort part. I meant the 2 specific reasons (let the diner control how they want to combine things/eat what they want) are cop outs for “why” to do deconstruction.

I tend not to eat in trendy-type places where these things are likely to appear. That said, I ordered corned beef hash at my one visit to Hash House a Go Go. You’d think that they’d get a namesake dish right, but it was a deconstructed mess: One pile of corned beef, another of fried potatoes, and a smaller one of peppers and onions, IIRC, plus eggs. Didn’t work for me one bit. The giant rosemary sprig balanced on top didn’t help.

It can be very irritating to order something, then get a “chef’s vision” version of the food. Especially at breakfast. No one wants to think, analyze, or gaze admiringly at their plate first thing in the morning.

I ordered a crab cake eggs Benedict the other day. I got a cabcake with a fried egg and an artful drizzle of hollandaise. I was not happy.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold