There’s a fine line between tasteful restaurant trends and those that have lost their flavor due to overexposure (hello, Edison bulbs) or just plain silliness (here’s looking at you, foie gras ice cream). We scoured new eateries across the country for this fall’s most conspicuous food fads, some of which will have you begging for seconds and others you’ll want to send right back to the kitchen.
Upscale Chefs Doing Downscale
Shelling out $30 for an entrée sometimes just isn’t feasible. Thankfully, fans of Michael White, who made a name with his fine-dining Italian eateries, can now head to his recently opened New York City pizza joint, Nicoletta (2), and score artisanal pies topped with basil pesto and squash blossoms for around $18. Meanwhile, no plate at Chicago chef Graham Elliot’s new canteen, g.e.b., costs more than $20, with hearty pasta dishes like cavatelli with peppers and goat cheese ringing in at only $14. This leaves a nice chunk of change to spend on more important things. Like drinks.
Some people say Machu Picchu is Peru’s greatest wonder -- they haven’t tried the ceviche. Raymi (1) in New York preps the signature dish at a custom-made bar in the restaurant’s lounge, while Los Angeles’ Mo-Chica, which recently moved to a much bigger space, lets you gorge yourself on citrus-spiked halibut, prawns, and scallops in a room adorned with graffiti from Kozem. The other reason to embrace the country’s fare? Pisco. Haunts like L.A.’s Picca feature dozens of varieties. Knock back a few pisco sours and you’ll feel as high as the Andes.
Sandwiches: The New Stars
A number of excellent restaurants have opened new spin-off shops where you can get your ’wich fix without having to pony up for a full meal. Yeah, $5 foot-longs are great if you’re a certain tired Subway spokesman, but the spicy tuna with Sriracha mayo at Michael Voltaggio’s ink.sack (3) in Los Angeles or a sandwich stacked with pork belly and lamb sausage at Chicago’s Publican Quality Meats are infinitely more memorable. Still stuck on the chain’s options because you’re worried about your waistline? Come on, Jared isn’t even that skinny.
Take It Back!
The Tasting Menu Trap
Dirt: It’s What’s for Dinner
Repurposed Wood As Décor