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Trending Tables

National Tables: Something for everyone

Need Neapolitan-inspired pizza? They have that in Cleveland. Fast-casual Central European? Go to San Francisco. Enjoying Catalonian seafood stew in an art space? You might be in Salt Lake City. Chefs and restaurateurs across the country are using the whole world as their inspiration, so don’t be surprised that your fried rabbit in Cincinnati is dressed with a Somali yogurt sauce or that you’re eating pear dumplings in Phoenix. Welcome to 2018.

Apr 18, 2018

Seattle Tables: Getting specific

Crowd-drawing restaurants in Seattle don’t tend to be eclectic these days. They’re focused, serving the best of whatever their specialty is — soul food, seafood, Nashville hot chicken — that they can.

Apr 18, 2018

Kansas City Tables: They have the meats

Kansas City has a diverse dining scene, but many of the trendy restaurants at the moment are pretty meat-centric, including g the latest location of Q39, Stock Hill steakhouse and the meat-and-three EJ’s Urban Eatery.

Apr 18, 2018

San Antonio Tables: Exploring authenticity

Whether it’s hard-core Italian food or straight-from-Buffalo Buffalo wings, hot San Antonio restaurants are striving to serve the real thing.

Apr 18, 2018

San Diego Tables: Snack food

Crêpes, meat pies and ceviche are much of the bill of fare at trendy San Diego restaurants, where variety and low prices mean customers don’t have to commit to a traditional meal.

Feb 17, 2018

Pittsburgh Tables: Vegetable renaissance

There’s plenty of pork shank and duck fat at trendy Pittsburgh restaurants (although not at vegan Onion Maiden), but vegetables get thoughtful treatment, too.

Feb 17, 2018

New York City Tables: Classic with a twist

The trendiest restaurants in Gotham aren’t performing culinary high-wire acts; they’re sourcing good ingredients and presenting them in fairly classic forms, possibly with the spice turned up a bit.

Feb 17, 2018

Trending Tables: Restaurants go back to basics

There’s no denying an overarching trend of food in American restaurants to be more adventuresome and experimental, but there’s a lot to be said for traditional fare, as the latest class of Trending Tables illustrates.

Yes, George Chen is putting his erudition on display with next-level Chinese fine dining at Eight Tables in San Francisco, but in general the most popular restaurants at the moment are taking a more mainstream approach — making quite familiar dishes and just personalizing them a bit.

At The Darling Oyster Bar in Charleston, S.C., for example, Low Country shrimp and grits are given added depth with cheddar cheese and fennel. The Pizza at Iron Born in Pittsburgh is upgraded with ingredients such as 24-month Parmigiano.

In San Diego, at Pop Pie, traditional potpies get a local update with the addition of ingredients such as tomatillo salsa and roasted chiles. And at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in Las Vegas, chicken wings are dressed in gochujang, but they’re still wings.

Meanwhile, Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. in Charleston is serving straight-up chili dogs and Reuben sandwiches, but also mixing it up a bit with things like its pork and peanut stew.

It’s a reminder that doing things simply, but well, can be a great approach.

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Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

Feb 17, 2018
Familiar menu items strike chords with the public

National Tables: European influence

The occasional bit of miso or seaweed notwithstanding, trendy restaurants across the country are turning largely to France and Italy for inspiration.

Feb 17, 2018