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Trending Tables: 50 hot restaurants for fall, winter 2014

Trending Tables: 50 hot restaurants for fall, winter 2014

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

The flavors and cuisines of East Asia are clearly expanding their presence on the American scene, as the fall 2014 class of Trending Tables indicates.

Five of the nation’s trendiest restaurants are Asian themed, including pan-Asian Hot Joy in San Antonio, modern Chinese Mei Mei in Boston and MoPho in New Orleans, which does interpretive Vietnamese as well as Po Boy Sandwiches.

More telling than those restaurants are the Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Southeast Asian and Indian elements that find their ways into other cuisines, like the curry shrimp at Bartaco, a Mexican restaurant in Atlanta; the katsuobushi, or Japanese bonito flake, broth at Pax Americana in Houston; or General Tso’s sweetbreads, which New Yorkers are ordering at Elan.

By comparison, Bartaco is the only Mexican restaurant to make the list, putting it on even footing with Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken, which is represented by Big Chickie in Seattle.

French cuisine is the foundation of American fine dining, and so its influence is still felt in many restaurants, where it tends to be subtly embedded in culinary technique. However, four of this season’s Trending Tables are overtly French-inspired. In New York, the Italian-American team of Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone are trying transalpine food with Dirty French, and Keith McNally, after years of opening Italian restaurants, re-imagined one of them as French Cherche Midi. There’s also the Luminary, a brasserie in Atlanta, and Petit Trois in Los Angeles.

Perhaps it is less surprising that four Trending Tables also are overtly Italian: Giulia and Locale, both in Boston, Bar Amalfi in Atlanta and Plin in San Francisco.But the overarching theme this fall is a casual approach to dining. “Friendly come as you are,” is how So & So’s in Dallas explains its style, and others call themselves gastropubs or, possibly even more casual, gastrobars. While the food is serious at all of these restaurants, the attitude is not as these popular restaurants respond to customers’ demand for good food and a good time on their terms.

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

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