Eurostoves is the most fun a food geek can have shopping. Imagine Formaggio's with all their cheese samples (or Whole Foods for non-Bostonians). You wonder through the Disney Land of food, taking little bites and nibbles. Now imagine besides all those free samples you are also given thousands of dollars of equipment to play with. The most you can do in other appliance stores is place your pans on the range to see how they fit. The wonderful thing about Eurostoves is that the ranges are hooked up and you are encouraged to bring something to cook. If you don't bring anything, they are happy to give you ingrendients (for free!) since they teach cooking classes and have anything you can imagine on hand. I came here to try the BlueStar, but there were also Dacor, Capital, and Aga ranges ready to be used. What a shame that I forgot my camera. This was one phenomenal kitchen.
I did my usual salmon test under the broiler. I've never tried an infrared broiler and was wondering how it was going to compare to open flame. It worked with the same results as an open flame broiler, maybe slightly faster (browned fish in slightly over 3 minutes instead of 4). The mesh that spreads the flame into an even rectangle is not huge. I didn't measure it, but I am guessing it's 8x11 (the size of a page). So you probably won't be able to broil a huge pan of stuff all at once. I don't think it's a big issue, since I rarely broil more than 4 servings. I was almost relieved that it didn't do anything "super natural." It makes recipe testing a lot easier if my equipment behaves roughly the same way as most cooks' (at least those with a gas range).
The oven is indeed huge, which I could use. The burners are just fine. Yes, they are powerful, which is nice. But, I still don't believe this power is necessary (though I can't speak for stir-fries). My favorite thing about the burners on pro-style ranges is that a 12 inch and a 10 inch skillets fit front to back.
Not only did I get to cook on a BlueStar, I got to clean it. No, Eurostoves didn't make me clean up, they were happy to do it. But I wanted to see what the cleaning experience would be like and they were happy to give me a sponge and let me try it. Comparing cleaning a BlueStar to a Kenmore Elite, GE Profile, or Wolf is like comparing apples to oranges. BlueStar does not have that shiny spotless look. The burner bowls (what's underneath the grates) are cast iron and they are not meant to look smooth and shiny. The more you use them (and the more grease splatters on them), the more patina they develop, just like a cast iron skillet. You don't need to scrub them or try to restore their brand new appearance. You just wipe them and sweep any crumbs off them (I found it easiest to push the little crumbs through the burner onto a drip tray underneath). The most important thing is to keep them dry so that they don't rust. It's a whole new concept that grease splatters can blend right in and potentially enhance my stovetop's appearance. I think I can get used to that :)
Thank you Eurostoves (particularly Trevor and Karen) for your hospitality, extensive knowledge, and such a fun afternoon!
Finally, I know what range I am buying. It was especially reassuring when one of my students told me this weekend that she got a BlueStar from Eurostoves to work on propane and it works great. She even mentioned tearing up when she saw how evenly her first egg got cooked.
Phew! I can finally sleep at night.
If you are not in the market for a gas range, I am sure you'll be happy to know that the range saga is over and I will stop boring you with it. If you are shopping for a range, you might find the previous posts on this topic interesting.
Range Saga, Part 1 -- what to do if your house has no gas line
Range Saga, Part 2 -- pro-style ranges (Wolf, BlueStar, DCS, etc.)
Range Saga, Part 2.5 -- a closer look at induction
Range Saga, Part 3 -- truth and fiction about propane and btu
Range Saga, Part 4 -- trying out Kenmore Elite
Ranges Saga, Part 5 -- keeping parts on hand for faster service