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Fried rice stone pot at Sushi Garage in Miami Photo courtesy of Sushi Garage
<p>Fried rice stone pot at Sushi Garage in Miami. Photo courtesy of Sushi Garage</p>

Trending Tables: Vegetables, global ingredients, creative venues thrive

Meet the hottest restaurant concepts setting trends around the country

The way Americans consume food has changed over the years, and so has the way Americans consume media. To that end, Nation’s Restaurant News is updating Trending Tables.

Instead of launching a full meal of 11 galleries of 50 trendy restaurants four times a year, we’ve broken Trending Tables into smaller portions — six galleries with 33 restaurants six times a year — which we hope will be easier to digest.

What does this class of Trending Tables highlight?

Vegetables have taken center stage on many restaurant menus this year, and that trend is reflected in the food served by this group of popular venues.

One of the signature dishes at Winsome in Los Angeles is a shaved cauliflower salad, and a highlight at The Treehouse in Nashville, Tenn., is chanterelle mushroom agnolotti. Kyu in Miami serves roasted cauliflower with herbed goat cheese, and Arômes in Baltimore offers a carrot tarte with sorrel and yogurt.

Eggs, low in cost and high in deliciousness, also star on menus, topping kimchi fried rice from the Funk Seoul Brother food truck in Nashville, Tenn., and appearing poached sous-vide at Café Azure in Houston and at Fire & Hops in Santa Fe, N.M.

Chefs have continued their freewheeling use of the global pantry, using ingredients that taste good together regardless of their provenance. That’s illustrated in Malaysian bawang goreng, or fried shallots, that garnish the roasted branzino with vegetable escabèche at Winsome, and matcha, the Japanese powdered green tea, in the chicken mousse at The Cannibal LA.

Culinary mashups? Check: The Calle Ocho bánh mì with ham, turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese and kimchi at Halves & Wholes in Miami, and the cheeseburger devilled eggs at Bookmakers Cocktail Club in Baltimore.

We’re seeing more eclectic venues for great food: Westbound in Los Angeles is located in a 19th century train station, and Baltimore seems to be on a bar kick these days.

Although culinary influences continue to proliferate, we’re also seeing a return to French and Italian standbys, particularly in Houston, but also at places like Nicoletto’s Italian Kitchen in Nashville, Tenn., not to mention regional American items like the lobster roll and salmon bagel at Cape Seafood and Provisions in Los Angeles, and the pulled pork at Jack and Jameson’s Smokehouse in Franklin, Tenn.

We hope you enjoy this latest group of Trending Tables and, just as diners like to share a meal, we hope you’ll share these galleries.

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

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