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MenuMasters: Parmesan-crusted sourdough, a mochi doughnut and a steak tartare sandwich

Plus cloudberry at Chick-fil-A, fig jam at Friendly’s and Szechuan hot chicken

Assuming that restaurant chains are doing their research & development properly before rolling out new menu items, it appears that even customers at fairly staid chains, such as Chick-fil-A and Friendly’s, are ready to try new things.

That’s what’s indicated by the fact that Chick-fil-A’s latest limited-time drink is flavored with cloudberry and cherry blossom, and that Friendly’s has added a burger to its permanent menu that’s dressed with fig jam.

Elsewhere, Farmer Boys is jumping on to two bread trends — sourdough and crusting bread with cheese — with a new burger available through early June.

Paris Baguette is one of many pastry operations using Asian flavors and textures — in this case the citrus fruit yuzu used to flavor a chewy mochi doughnut.

Starbird Chicken is expanding on the spicy chicken trend with a sandwich spiked with Szechuan peppercorns (as well as chile), and Pebble Bar in Midtown Manhattan is being simultaneously highbrow and lowbrow by topping wagyu beef tartare with caviar and then serving it as a sandwich.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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