The cuisines of East Asia and Latin America are converging on America's hottest restaurants, expanding customers’ horizons and illustrating just how willing trend-forward consumers are to move out of their comfort zones.
Not that there isn’t comfort food, too, at many of these hot spots, like the hot dog and giant meatball at Narcbar, the steak frites at Robert Irvine’s Public House in Las Vegas and the French dip at Eat Sandwiches in St. Louis.
But the overall trend these days is to break out of the ordinary. Narcbar also has Trending Tables’ first menu item from the Republic of Georgia, a cheesy flat bread called kachapuri, that you can probably expect to see more often in the coming year.
Get familiar with aguachile, a Mexican style of ceviche that’s being mentioned on more menus lately, as well. And the Vietnamese hero bánh mì is now so well established that you can find it at non-Asian places such as Pinch, a seafood-boil concept in San Antonio.
Casual Japanese tavern food can be found at Oka in New York, while Japan’s street food is the inspiration for Paid in Full in Las Vegas. Higher-end Japanese-influenced fare can be found in the Bay Area, both on the tasting menus at Robin in San Francisco and at Ron Siegel’s latest venture, Madcap in San Anselmo, Calif., where a roll of avocado, tuna, yuzu kosho and black sesame are side-by-side on the menu with Parmesan foam over tortelloni stuffed with local rabbit.
Indeed, this class of Trending Tables is displaying less cross-cultural fusion within dishes and more on overall menus. So Peruvian ceviche and grilled hanger steak are both available at De Maria in New York, and ViewHouse Littleton in Littleton, Colo., offers braised brisket with peppercorn gravy and mashed potatoes, as well as crab enchiladas.
We hope our look at these restaurants will help inspire creativity at your own operations.
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