2015 may be officially behind us, but that doesn’t mean our dining habits will change on a dime. In fact, most of last year’s persistent restaurant trends—such as the implementation of no-tipping policies, or an increased use of environmentally sustainable seaweed—will remain explicitly omnipresent in the coming months. They’ll just be joined (or in the case of fried chicken, eventually overtaken) by movements burbling just under the surface—from a tasty wave of Hawaiian Poke to a wave of tech-driven delivery and African spices cropping up everywhere!
Jewish Cooking is Shockingly Hot? Yes, Really!
No, it’s not your imagination. Jewish cuisine has defied all odds and archaic stereotypes, suddenly demanding serious attention on the dining scene nowadays. What started a few years ago with a few great Jewish delis serving lox, bagels and pastrami, like Mile End in New York and Wise Sons in San Francisco, has evolved into a full-blown Jewish food movement. 2016 is proving a huge year for more serious applications of this age-old heritage cuisine, like Sadelle’s wildly popular Eastern European menu in Manhattan, and even an ambitious Israeli eatery called Shaya in New Orleans.
Seamless is so 2013. Last year alone, innovative companies absolutely flooded the food delivery space, from the carefully curated Caviar (which works exclusively with top-tier eateries) to the David Chang-financed Maple (a full-stack company, offering dishes from talented consulting chefs the likes of Mark Ladner and Brooks Headley), to the super-streamlined Arcade, which allows consumers to order that day’s single restaurant selection (such as noodles from Han Dynasty) simply by texting “yes.” And the market is primed to reach peak saturation next year, with Google, uberEats and Amazon Prime Now all getting into the game.
New York City's new Department of Health regulations enforcing restaurants to pre-freeze fish has essentially amounted to a war on sushi, although shellfish, fresh water fish and certain types of tuna are exempted from the rule. Which may very well pave the way for the deservedly famous Hawaiian mainstay, Poke (already a favorite at New York City’s Noreetuh, as well as the focus of a devoted Smorgasburg stand), featuring bite-sized fish cubes marinated in salt and soy and flavored with sesame oil, chilies and nuts; those should squeak by the system relatively unsullied.
This past September, New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells bestowed two stars on Manhattan's Superiority Burger, Brooks Headley’s fist-sized veggie burger shop—which likely gave grain and seitan-based patties the shot in the arm they needed to finally surpass fried chicken. They’ve already begun popping up in expected places around NYC, like broccoli-obsessed No. 7 Veggie, and the vegan mini-chain, By Chloe), and even infiltrated the fine-dining realm as well. Check out Daniel Humm & James Kent’s quinoa and lentil version at Manhattan's The NoMad.
Chicken’s Hot, Hot, Hot
The rise of the veggie burger notwithstanding, don’t count fried chicken out just yet. In lieu of the fast-food sandwich style that ruled 2015, more and more NYC chefs are taking a cue from Nashville, by appropriating their incendiary, cayenne and lard-sauced bird. It’s a trend that already has legs—think Peaches HotHouse and the Meat Hook Sandwich Shop in NYC—but look for hot chicken to proliferate in earnest in the coming months, especially in the wake of Top Chef alum Carla Hall’s dedicated, upcoming spot in Brooklyn’s Columbia Waterfront District.
Want to read the rest of this piece? Find out about other fun 2016 trends on BravoTV.com contributor Danyelle Freeman's blog, RestaurantGirl.com.
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