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Trending Tables: 50 hot restaurants for fall 2015

Trending Tables: 50 hot restaurants for fall 2015

NRN gives foodservice execs a look at some of the most popular eateries across the nation

Beef tongue steam bun
Kimchi and cucumber garnish a beef tongue steam bun at Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Liholiho Yacht Club

Is there a whiff of dried chile flake in the air — the kind you shake over your slice in old-school Brooklyn pizzerias? This country seems to have caught the Calabrian chile bug if this fall’s Trending Tables are any indication (they are).

The dried “pepperoncini” from the front of the foot of the great Italian boot can be found in a dressing at John and Vinny’s in Los Angeles, in an aïoli at Death in the Afternoon in St. Louis and in the molten lobster dip with cheese curds at Stake Chophouse & Bar in San Diego.

That makes Calabrian pepper as common as kimchi among the 50 popular restaurants we’re highlighting for the season: Kimchi and cucumber garnish a beef tongue steam bun at Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco; the shrimp and grits at The Dog and Pig Show in Richmond, Va., and a fried oyster sandwich at Salazar in Cincinnati.

Former condiment darling Sriracha sauce is almost nowhere to be found, although it does dress the pork belly and octopus at Cureight By Hubbel & Hudson, outside of Houston. Avocado, too, is only mentioned at one restaurant in this season’s Trending Tables — Puesto, a restaurant in San Diego that updates Mexican street food.

Apart from that restaurant, a few others draw influence directly from Latin America, notably Tex Mex hot spot Javelina in New York, Publico in St. Louis and Churrasco-inspired Odys + Penelope in Los Angeles. Then from Asia we have E.P. & L.P. in Los Angeles and, arguably, Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco, influenced by Hawaii, and Tasca Chino in New York, fusing Chinese and Spanish.

However most of the global influence this fall is coming from Europe, especially Italy, but also France and Spain and, notably, two restaurants — Aatxe in San Francisco and Salero in Chicago — say their culinary roots are Basque.

But much of the trendy food this season was born and raised in the United States, including steakhouses, of course. But burgers, barbecue and fried chicken also are drawing crowds and acclaim from trend followers whose predecessors would have preferred fine dining venues as the fashionableness of food continues to transcend class borders.

We hear from four new cities in our Trending Tables coverage this fall: Louisville, Denver, St. Louis and San Diego.

Contact Bret Thorn: [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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