Best New Restaurant Trends of 2011

Some we love, and some we don’t

Trends We Love

theessentials_masa_tEveryday Gourmet
You know something exciting is going on when Michael Voltaggio opens a sandwich shop before his flagship restaurant Ink. At ink.sack the Top Chef winner packs his talent between two slices of bread for about $5. Josef Centeno of the Lazy Ox is doing high-falutin’ flatbread on the cheap at Bäco Mercat. Let’s hear it for fine dining to go.

theessentials_masa_tFar Flung Flavors 
This year gourmet chefs delved into their spice cabinets to bring us the tastes of Singapore (the Spice Table) Vietnam (Red Medicine), Peru (Picca, Osaka), China (Lukshon), the Caribbean (Sunny Spot), and the Middle East (Mezze). Nothing against the West, but our palates are digging the diversity. 


Trends We Hate

theessentials_masa_tLazy Desserts
Who fired the pastry chef? The economic downturn has forced more chefs to dust off their pastry skills from culinary school. The result is a spate of ho-hum, half-assed desserts. If we see one more brownie sundae, bread pudding, or mediocre soufflé, we’re going to stop saving room. 

theessentials_masa_tDishrag Napkin
We appreciated the down-home wink the first time. Now we’d just like a soft napkin, please. Sure, restaurants are saving money on linens, but that scratchy, low-quality striped cloth is for wiping up countertop schmutz, not for brushing off pricey crumbs from our delicate faces.

Illustrations by Peter Hoey 

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