Arestaurant’s opening menu is something like the first draft of a book—you can be certain it will undergo several rewrites before it reaches its final form.Most chefs are aware of this, but they still admit to being a little mystified by the somewhat unpredictable process that takes place once a menu is actually in the hands of the guests. “The first menu is basically a crap shoot,” says Carol Wallack, chef and co-owner of the year-old Sola in Chicago. “I’ve heard so many chefs ...

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