Friday, June 5, 2009

Range Saga, part 6 -- BlueStar at Eurostoves

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


jo said...

I hope you kissed the big red Aga for me. Whenever I taught a class up there I would make bread dough, proof it on the floor of my truck driving up (Newton to Beverly on a Friday leaves you PLENTY of proofing time) then I would bake it off in the Aga and feed it to my students.
And Trevor is a great dry witted Yorkshire hoot! I miss it up there.
I'm glad you picked the Blue Star, I would have bought one if hadn't already had my stove.

Helen said...

Hi Jo,

Yes, as far the personality goes, I don't know if any range beats Aga :)


Chris Shenton said...

I got a 6-burner BlueStar cook when they became available about 6 years back and have really enjoyed it. Understated and powerful, not fussy, and as you point out, easy to clean. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Sounds like their range would be great for folks that can't do a separate cooktop and oven, thanks for the report!

Unknown said...

Congratulations on making a decision!

Meanwhile, our fridge saga continues (can you believe it?).

stilettochicken said...

I live 15 mins from Beverly... how is it that I don't know about this place??????

sudu said...

Whew! that was a long long post...that I enjoyed reading every bit. I actually got to appreciate my shabby boston-appartment-gas-stove!

Anonymous said...

Great posts, Helen. Always an interesting read. Overall, probably overdoing it. Just go to local appliance store, get prices in writing, then wait 4-6 weeks Sears always have 20% off, come in with the quotes, they will match + 20% off. It's so affordable - no need to check repair history. Purchased Electrolux Icon 5 burner cook top and Bosch oven last Aug. and like it very much. Cooking every day. + Visa card will always give you an extra year of 1 year warranty.



Anonymous said...

When do we get to see pictures of this well researched new addition?

Helen said...

I'll post some pictures around the end of August after we move and get everything installed.

Barbara said...

I have to thank you for this series. I will be remodeling my kitchen later this year, and I was dreading the search for the right stove (hate the past 3 I have had: Dacor, Viking and JennAir - all expensive - all repair nightmares). I had just started my research and was giving the BlueStar serious consideration. Your visit to Eurostove and the description of actually using the stove sold me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me solve one piece of the equipment puzzle!

Helen said...

Hi Barbara,

I sure hope BlueStar works out for you. Keep in mind that I am just reporting the research I've done and not speaking from personal experience of owning a BlueStar. I won't get mine till August. I sure hope it works out for you. I am not expecting it to be repair free. It seems like all pro-style ranges are not exactly Toyota quality (oh, how I wish Toyota or Honda would get into cooking equipment business ;) But it looks like the parts for BlueStar are not that expensive, the design is fairly simple and the price is slightly lower than other pro-style ranges.

Let me know how it works out.


Richard Li said...

I'm looking forward to seeing how the Blue Star works out. I'm in the exact situation you were a few weeks ago, need a 30" range in August, and this was helpful. Planning on heading to Eurostoves today if I get a chance!

cjkh said...

Blue Star has the WORST service. They do not respond to emails or calls and most dealers do not want to service them for just that reason. I do not recommend them. A shame, really. Thought I would love the range until I have been unable to get a thermostat replaced for 6 months.