About: Signature Dishes
Delmonico's Steak, Baked Alaska, Eggs Benedict, Lobster Newberg, Chicken A la Keene
The "Delmonico Steak" (boneless ribeye) is perhaps the best, rarest and most desirable steak on the market. It originated around 1830 as the house cut at Delmonico's Restaurant in New York City, and is now seen on menus in restaurants and supermarkets across the nation.
"Baked Alaska" – was created by Charles Ranhofer (1836-1899), the French chef at the famous Delmonico's restaurant in New York, to celebrate the United States purchase of Alaska from the Russians. William H. Seward (1801-1872), a Senator from New York, negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia, and the bill was signed on October 18, 1867. This purchase was known as “Seward’s Folly,” named after William Seward, the deal’s main advocate. In Charles Ranhofer's 1893 cookbook, The Epicurean, he called it an Alaska, Florida and makes it in individual portions.
"Eggs Benedict" – 1860's – Credit is given to Delmonico's Restaurant, the first fine dining restaurant or public dining room ever opened in the United States. In the 1860's, a regular patron of the restaurant, Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, finding nothing to her liking and wanting something new to eat for lunch, discussed this with Delmonico's Chef Charles Ranhofer (1836-1899), Ranhofer came up with Eggs Benedict. A recipe for Eggs a'la Benedict was published in Chef Ranhofer's cookbook, The Epicurean, in 1894.
"Lobster Newberg" – was originally named after Ben Wenberg, a wealthy sea captain engaged in the fruit trade between Cuba and New York. When on shore, he customarily ate at Delmonico's Restaurant. One day in 1876, home from a cruise, he entered the café and announced that he had brought back a new way to cook lobster (Where he originally got the idea for this new dish has never been discovered). Calling for a chafing dish, he demonstrated his discovery by cooking the dish at the table and invited Charles Delmonico to taste it. Delmonico said, "Delicious" and forthwith entered the dish in the restaurant menu, naming it in honor of its creator Lobster a la Wenberg. The dish quickly became popular and much in demand, especially by the after-theater clientele.
Many months after Lobster a la Wenberg was created, Ben Wenberg and Charles Delmonico fought or argued over an as-yet-undiscovered and probably trivial matter. The upshot was that Charles banished Wenberg from Delmonico's and ordered lobster a la Wenberg struck from the menu. That did not stop patrons from asking for the dish. By a typographical slight-of-hand, Delmonico changed the spelling from "Wenberg" to "Newberg" and Lobster Newberg was born. This dish has also been called Lobster Delmonico. Delmonico's famous chef, Chef Charles Ranhofer (1836-1899), altered the original recipe to add his own touch.
Chicken a la Keene
Chicken A La Keene was created by the Chef Charles Ranhofer at Delmonico's restaurant in the 1880's after Foxhall P. Keene, horse breeder and well-heeled son of Wall Street broker and horse breeder, James R. Keene, known as "Silver Fox of Wall Street". It is reported that Foxhall dreamed aloud to him about a pimento-studded cream sauce. The chef made the dish and called it Chicken a'la Keene. This later evolved into the more regal-sounding Chicken a'la King.