A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 16, 2009
Delmonico Potatoes

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Delmonico’s Restaurant
Delmonico’s Restaurant was one of the first continuously run restaurants in the United States and is considered to be one of the first American fine dining establishments It opened in New York City in 1827, originally in a rented pastry shop at 23 William Street. It was first listed as a restaurant in 1830. Unlike the inns that existed at the time, a restaurant like Delmonico’s would permit patrons to order from a menu (à la carte, as opposed to table d’hôte), rather than requiring its patrons to eat fixed meals. Later, Delmonico’s was also the first in the United States to use a separate wine list.

The restaurant was opened by the brothers John and Peter Delmonico from Ticino, Switzerland. In 1831, they were joined by their nephew, Lorenzo Delmonico, who eventually became responsible for the restaurant’s wine list and menu. In 1862, the restaurant hired Charles Ranhofer, considered one of the greatest chefs of his day. Beginning in the 1850s, the restaurant hosted the annual gathering of the New England Society of New York which featured many important speakers of the day. In 1860, Delmonico’s provided the supper at the “Grand Ball” welcoming the Prince of Wales at the Academy of Music on 14th Street; supper was set out in a specially constructed room: the menu was French, and the pièces montées represented Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the Great Eastern and Flora’s Vase. The New York Times reported, “We may frankly say that we have never seen a public supper served in a more inapproachable fashion, with greater discretion, or upon a more luxurious scale.”

The business was so successful that from 1865 to 1888 it expanded to four restaurants of the same name. At various times, there were nine different locations. When the William Street building was opened on a grand scale in August 1837, after the Great Fire of New York, New Yorkers were told that the columns by the entrance had been imported from the ruins of Pompeii.

Delmonico’s vacated the six-storey Delmonico Building at Fifth Avenue and Twenty-Sixth Street in 1895. The edifice was sold to John B. Martin, owner of the Martin Hotel, in May 1901.

In 1919, Delmonico’s was sold away from the family to Edward L.C. Robins. Its grand location, “The Citadel,” at Fifth Avenue and 44th Street ultimately closed in 1923 as a result of changing dining habits due to Prohibition.

Chicken à la King, Lobster Newberg, and Delmonico Potatoes were invented at Delmonico’s restaurant, but it was most famous for Delmonico steak. Eggs Benedict were also said to have originated at Delmonico’s; although, others claim that dish as well.

Epicurious.com - Food Dictionary
Delmonico potatoes
[dehl-MAHN-ih-koh]
Named after the 19th-century New York restaurant of the same name whose owner-chef created this dish. It consists of cooked and creamed diced (or mashed) potatoes topped with grated cheese and buttered bread crumbs, then baked until golden brown.

Google Books
Jennie June’s American Cookery Book
By Mrs. J. C. Croly (Jennie June)
New York, NY: Excelsior Publishing House
1878
Pg. 339:
POTATO BOULETTES—A LA DELMONICO.
Boil a dozen dry, mealy potatoes, mash them smoothly, and mix, while still warm, two ounces of fresh butter, a small tea-spoonful of salt, half a nutmeg, and four eggs, the yolks and whites beaten separately. Mould the mixture into small oval forms, and drop them into clear boiling butter. Cook them until they are a pale brown, take them up quickly with a skimmer, and dish them on a hot napkin.

Google Books
White House Cook Book
By Mrs. F. L. Gillette (Fanny Lemira Gillette—ed.)
Chicago, IL: L. P. Miller & Co.
Copyrighted 1887, 1889
Pg. 174:
POTATOES A LA DELMONICO
Cut the potatoes with a vegetable cutter into small balls about the size of a marble; put them into a stew-pan with plenty of butter, and a good sprinkling of salt; keep the sauce-pan covered, and shake occasionally until they are quite done,which will be in about an hour.

Google Books
Riverside Recipe Book
(By C. M. Lathrop—ed.)
New York, NY
1890
Pg. 20:
Delmonico Potatoes.
Fill a pudding dish with stewed potatoes, grate some cheese over the top, and set it in the oven to brown over.

Google Books
How to Cook Vegetables
By Mrs. S. T. Rorer (Sarah Tyson Heston Rorer—ed.)
Philaelphia, PA; W. Atlee Burpee & Co.
1891 (Copyright 1890)
Pg. 82:
HASHED POTATOES WITH CREAM.
Chop fine four cold boiled potatoes, put them in a saucepan with a half pint of cream, half a teaspoonful of salt, dash of pepper, grating of nutmeg and two ounces of butter. SHake over a fire until very hot and serve at once.

After these are very hot they may be turned into a bking-dish, dusted with bread crumbs and baked in a quick oven until golden brown, and are then called Delmonico potatoes.

20 November 1895, Oakland (CA) ribune, pg. 4, col. 3:
POTATOES A LA DELMONICO.
Hash four medium sized cold boiled potatoes, put them in a saucepan; add half a teablespoonful of butter and half a cup of cream, a teaspoonful of salt and a dash of pepper. Stir with a wooden spoon carefully for five minutes, then turn into a baking dish; sprinkle over two tablespoonfuls of grated Parmesan, same of fresh bread crumbs. Put here and there a bit of butter, in all two tablespoonfuls, and brown ten minutes in a quick oven.

Google Books
The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book
By Fannie Merritt Farmer
Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company
1896
Pg. 285:
Potatoes au Gratin.
Put Creamed Potatoes in buttered baking-dish, cover with buttered crumbs, and bake on centre grate until crumbs are brown.

Delmonico Potatoes.
To Potatoes au Gratin add one-third cup grated mild cheese, arranging potatoes and cheese in alternate layers before covering with crumbs.

Google Books
The Daily News Cook Book
Being a reprint from The Chicago Record Cook Book
Chicago, IL: The Chicago Daily News Co.
1896
Pg. 389:
Delmonico Potatoes—Pare and cut into very small dice enough potatoes to fill a quart measure. Butter a grantie dish (one two inches deep), and put a layer of potatoes and a sprinkle each of salt, pepper, chopped onion and parsley; dot bits of butter about two inches apart all over. Then another layer of potatoes, with the seasoning and butter, until all the potatoes are used. Fill up with milk enough to let the potatoes show through, and bake in a moderate oven three-quarters of an hour. It will take two tablespoonfuls of butter, one teaspoonful of salt, half a teaspoonful of pepper and one tablespoonful of chopped onion and parsley together. These potatoes are especially good with meats that are served without gravy. They should be rich and creamy. Should they get too dry in baking, add more milk.

14 September 1896, Oakland (CA) Tribune, “Menu for Tomorrow,” pg. 4, col. 3:
Delmonico Potatoes.

Google Books
Good Cooking
By Mrs. S. T. Rorer (Sarah Tyson Heston Rorer—ed.)
Philadelphia, PA; Curtis Publishing Company
Copyright 1896, 1897, 1898
Pg. 64:
Delmonico and Browned Hashed Potatoes
CHOP fine sufficient cold boiled potatoes to make one pint. Put one tablespoonful of butter and one of flour into a pan, mix; add a half pint of milk, a half teaspoonful of salt, a dash of pepper; when boiling add the potatoes. Turn into a small baking-dish; sprinkle over the top two tablespoonfuls of Parmesan cheese, and bake in a quick oven until a light brown. You will find Delmonico potatoes a pleasant change from the ordinary cooked-over ones.

12 November 1898. Fitchburg (MA) Daily Sentinel, pg. 7, col. 2:
DELMONICO POTATOES.
To each pint of cold boiled potatoes cut fine allow one cupful of cream, two tablespoons butter, one teaspoon of salt and one-quarter of a teaspoon of pepper, season the potatoes with the salt and pepper, put them in a shallow baking dish which has been greased, pour over them the cream, then the melted butter, and brown in a quick oven.

14 January 1900, New York (NY) Times, pg. 17:
By adding a little grated cheese stirred into the potatoes with a little more on top, and putting in a hot oven to brown they become Delmonico potatoes, with a distinct flavor of their own, not noticeably of the cheese, and there is nothing better in the way of potatoes.

Google Books
Left-Overs Made Palatable
By Isabel Gordon Curtis
New York, NY: Orange Judd Company
1902 (Copyright 1901)
Pg. 63:
DELMONICO POTATOES
5 cold potatoes
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dust pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese
Cut the potatoes into fine dice, make a white sauce from the butter, flour, milk an seasonings, and toss the potatoes lightly into the sauce. TUrn into a baking dish, sprinkle the top thickly with grated cheese and bake till it is light brown.

Google Books
Practical Cooking and Serving
By Janet McKenzie Hill
New York, NY: Doubleday, Page & Company
1902
Pg. 295:
DELMONICO POTATOES
Chop cold, boiled potatoes into bits the size of peas; make a white sauce and stir the chopped potato into it, using a generous cupful of potato to each cup of sauce. Pour into a buttered pudding-dish, cover the top with buttered cracker-crumbs and bake about fifteen minutes in a hot oven.

9 October 1962, New York (NY) Times, “Flavor Variations for Potatoes” by June Owen, pg. 36:
Delmonico potatoes are baked in a cream sauce with a grated cheese and bread crumb topping.
(...)
DELMONICO POTATOES
1 1/2 cups cubed, raw or cooked potatoes
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper
1/2 cup grated sharp cheese
3/4 cup buttered bread crumbs.

1. If potatoes are raw, boil them in salted water to cover for 10 minutes. Drain.
2. Melt butter or margarine in saucepan. Stir in flour. Remove from direct heat and pour in the milk. Return to heat and stir slowly until the sauce comes to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat and add the potoates.
3. Turn creamed potatoes into a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese, then with buttered bread crumbs. Bake in a hot oven (400 degrees) until the crumbs are brown, about 10 minutes.
Yield: Four servings.

Google Groups: mod.recipes
Newsgroups: mod.recipes
From: reid@decwrl (Brian Reid)
Date: Fri, 14-Mar-86 00:13:50 EST
Local: Thurs, Mar 13 1986 11:13 pm
Subject: RECIPE: Delmonico potatoes

MOD.RECIPES-SOURCE DELMONICOS V “2 Jan 86” 1986
“DELMONICO POTATOES” “A casserole of potatoes, rice, and cheese”
This recipe has been in my family for 100 years. The family legend was that it came from the Delmonico Hotel in New York, whose chef, Charles Ranhofer, had given it to my great-great grandfather under some circumstance in the 1880’s.  I recently managed to track down a cookbook by Ranhofer, published in 1893, and alas, it contains no recipe that even remotely resembles this
one.

Who knows? Maybe my great-grandmother got it from a newspaper.  I guess it doesn’t matter much. I’ve watched 4 generations in my family grow fatter and happier eating these potatoes, so who cares where it came from `way back then.
“Serves 6”
“14” “medium potatoes”
“1/3 cup” “white rice”
“6 Tbsp” “butter”
“6 Tbsp” “flour”
“3 cups” “milk”
“1 tsp” “salt”
“\(12 tsp” “pepper”
“2 lb” “sharp cheddar cheese” (...)

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Monday, February 16, 2009 • Permalink