I have recently been asked to develop the menu for an upscale gentlemen's club. I have developed menu items for other bar concepts but wonder if this setting requires a different approach?
– Jerry Desir, Chef, Show Palace, Long Island City, NY
I have to admit that just when I thought there could not be too many more unanswered Advice Guy questions, we have a winner! For the sake of my marriage, I will avoid doing a lot of first-hand research to answer your question but will provide some general guidelines.
First, keep in mind that many guests see adult entertainment venues as seedy or suspect. Given that image, try to respond, especially for an upscale market, by making flavors clean and crisp and the handling of food as simple and transparent as possible. For example, shrimp cocktail rather than shrimp dumplings; seared ribeye rather than steak burritos.
Along those lines, some chefs have a hard time working in venues where their cooking is not the main attraction. In this case, your guests will likely be shifting their attention between your food and the entertainment. Develop items that don’t result in greasy fingers or require a clean up in between eating and handling money or greeting a dancer. That means avoid typical bar food like messy wings or nachos.
Next, keep in mind that an important revenue opportunity may be meals that guests buy for the entertainers. To that end, include some fun premium light items such as lobster or crab claws, chocolate-dipped strawberries and miniature pastries.
Other guests may splurge to mark an important milestone like a bachelor party, a break up or a promotion.
Finally, don’t get too “punny.” “Strip” steaks or twin breasts of chicken may seem cute when you write your menu, but you and your guests will eventually be annoyed.