Steam kettle cooking becoming quite a thing, but not in San Diego

There are about five steam kettle cooking restaurants in Orange County. They tend to cook Cajun/creole seafood dishes like gumbo. Apparently the whole trend started at the Oyster Bar in Las Vegas. I’m not aware of this type of cooking available at any restaurant in San Diego much to my disappointment.

Well, there’s this place coming up.

I wonder if Cane Patch does any steam kettle cooking?

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Wow, that is cool. The Oyster Bar will soon open in downtown San Diego. I look forward to it. I just wish they opened one closer to me like in University City or Carmel Valley.

I am pretty certain the Cane Patch doesn’t utilize steam kettle cooking.

Seems like a gimmick.

There’s nothing wrong with a little gimmickry as long as the execution behind the scenes is good. I don’t think the use of the steam kettle Is all gimmickry. Here is an article about one of the steam kettle restaurants in the OC:

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I ate at the Oyster Bar at Palace Station last year and had the steamed kettle Pan Roasted shrimp and lobster…it was frigging out of this world good…

Love this place with the counter only, 24/7…go on off times…chowder is fab and when they have kumamotos, get a dozen…

Can’t wait for it get here in SD…
I think the owner has restos in the OC…

I can see how it could allow consistent high volume at relatively low cost, but a pot that’s set at a single constant temperature is quite limiting.

Are these Oyster Bars associated with the Oyster Bar in NYC at the Grand Central Terminal? IIRC they had oyster stews cooked in steam kettles as well. Don’t remember any cajun dishes but then I just had the fresh shucked oysters when I was there.

I don’t know that it is low cost if they use premium constituents, which apparently they do.

I suspect that if you are cooking seafood in a broth, that one uniform temperature works fine. If you disagree, you can tell us otherwise, but please provide examples.

Also, many of the items on the menus of these restaurants are cooked without using the steam kettles.

I took a look at photos displayed on Yelp from the Oyster Bar in NYC. I didn’t see any steam kettles.

The system should have valves controlling the volume of steam applied, and thus are able to regulate the cooking temperature.

You mean like a pressure cooker? A contraption people swoon over?

Perhaps. In any case, thanks for posting this interesting video.

In the videos I don’t see them touch the valves.

I think the labor cost could be lower compared with a saute station.

They have them but the steam kettles really were not their primary thing. It seemed that the raw stuff was what people were getting, but then I was there in the late spring and it was already pretty warm out.

Okay…so let me ask a question…

How does this fancy new steam kettle cooking differ from the steam kettle cooking that the non-commercial sector of the business has been doing for well over 50 years.

Sure the recipes are going to be more sophisticated, but the concept isn’t new or innovative by any stretch of the imagination. Steam jacketed kettles are a great piece of equipment and a workhorse in many kitchens. Why is this now a “thing”? Color me confused?

If you are sitting at the counter, the food is cooked in front of you. There is a lever associated with each steam kettle unit, which allows for the contents to be immediately dispensed into a bowl. There is no lag time between the the food preparation and having it on your plate.

TIL that steam kettles are the workhorses of non-commercial kitchens.

Steam-jacketed kettles have been used for over a century in large restaurants, institutional kitchens, and food factories. Typically they’re 20 to 150 gallons.

The gimmick is making them single-portion-size and putting them at a bar in the dining room so people can see them.

One issue that I suspect must come up in these type of restaurants, is that more guests want to sit at the counter than can be accommodated.