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roasting vegetables in coconut oil further develops flavor.

Commodity boards harness the momentum of the bowl trend

In Washington, D.C., Espita Mezcaleria invites diners to try new flavors—such as a selection of adventurous salsas—and to dive into shareable dishes, a hallmark of the Millennial generation.

The priorities of a generation continue to shape our industry in profound ways

Carolina BBQ Olga - Barbecue smoked pork, cheddar, pickle, onion straws

Olga’s Kitchen offers Carolina BBQ Olga - Barbecue smoked pork, cheddar, pickle, onion straws

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in New York added signature barbecue bowls to the menu, presenting a flavor forward, easy-to-eat meal.

New York-based Dinosaur Bar-B-Que recently added two signature barbecue bowls to its menu

Crispy Pork Belly rubbed with salt, sugar, cumin and coriander, and roasted until the pork insanely crispy and layered with a Salsa Negra. Blistered guajillo, roasted poblanos, roasted garlic, cumin, coriander, allspice, salt and cider vinegar come together in this salsa.

On-trend menu builds that stand out with rich flavor stories

Sweet Ambassador: Custom Deluxe | Biddeford, Maine



Bad Hunter in Chicago demonstrates aguachile’s versatility, moving its bright combination of chile, lime, cilantro and onion into a Hominy Aguachile.

Twelve ways to satiate diners’ never-ending appetite for heat

Tracking the evolution of menu language that resonates with diners

This “Magical” Cheese Soup from Hearthstone Bistro Bar & Grill in Muskegon, Mich., is garnished with cheese popcorn.

Generic tomato soup and clam chowder will probably never go away, but creative innovation can help elevate soups to signature. Here are 10 upgrades, from creative garnishes to edgy, global mash-ups, that could give chicken noodle a run for your profits.

Boasting butter’s flavor- carrying virtues (clockwise from top left): beet butter, whole-grain mustard butter, Sriracha butter, olive and sun-dried tomato butter, and roasted poblano butter.



At Oregon State University, Job’s tears, also known as Chinese pearl barley, are cooked in dashi broth with shoyu pork, pickled mushroom, green chickpeas and poached egg.

Forward-thinking culinary directors are pioneering new landscape and impacting the mindset, sophistication and expectation of younger consumers

Citrus appetizers, like whipped goat cheese with preserved lemons and Marcona almonds, wake the palate with bright, tart flavors.

A dozen ways to leverage the fresh zing of citrus across the menu

Bold flavors, signature ingredients and add-ins define the classic margarita. New interpretations riff on the traditional version.

The coolest cocktail explores new flavor frontiers. Ten ways to re-invent the Margarita.

Watermelon Salad - Compressed watermelon, mozzarella, baby heirloom tomatoes, fennel, cucumbers, basil, lemon-curd vinaigrette

Hen Quarter's Watermelon Salad - compressed watermelon, mozzarella, baby heirloom tomatoes, fennel, cucumbers, basil, lemon-curd vinaigrette.

Staplehouse in Atlanta typifies the New American restaurant: honest food, a casual vibe, and a menu that unabashedly pulls from whatever global pantry it fancies—as long as it helps tell a good flavor story.



Flambéed Black Truffle Pasta - Black truffle pasta flambéed in Cognac in a Parmesan cheese wheel, topped with fresh truffles

Le Petit Paris's flambeéd black truffle pasta - black truffle pasta flambéd in cognac in a parmesan cheese wheel, topped with fresh truffles.

Chile-Coffee Rubbed Lamb with roasted carrots, puréed potatoes and mint gastrique

Great Wolf Lodge - Chile-Coffee Rubbed Lamb with roasted carrots, puréed potatoes and mint gastrique

Berliner Fries with Berliner red sauce, tzatziki, carrot-cabbage slaw, tomato, green pepper, olive, onion and pepperoncini

Spitz Restaurants' loaded fries, with cool cucumber-y tzatziki, a spicy, garlicky tomato sauce, red and green cabbage slaw, diced onions and pepperoncinis.

Seared Rockfish with green wax beans, peewee potatoes, toasted almonds, lemon confit

Sixth Engine - Seared Rockfish with green wax beans, peewee potatoes, toasted almonds, lemon confit

Lina’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich Fried chicken breast, pepper Jack, Sriracha aïoli, coleslaw, brioche roll

Bennigan’s offers Lina’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich - fried chicken breast, pepper Jack, Sriracha aïoli, coleslaw, brioche roll

Street-level research yields menu standouts.

Street-level research brings fresh ideas and menu strategies

VDRAGON BOWL - PITAYA, MANGO, PINEAPPLE, COCONUT, RASPBERRIES, BANANA; TOPPED WITH ALMONDS, GOJI BERRIES, KIWI, STRAWBERRIES, HONEY, BEE POLLEN

Vitality Bowls' Dragon Bowl - pitaya, mango, pineapple, coconut, raspberries, banana, almonds, goji berries, kiwi, strawberries, honey and bee pollen

Filet Mignon Au Poivre - Beef medallions, cracked green peppercorns, sauce of heavy cream, shallots, Dijon mustard and Cognac

Ron's Steakhouse's Filet Mignon au Poivre - beef medallions, cracked green peppercorns, sauce of heavy cream, shallots, Dijon mustard and cognac.

PAN CON TOMATE - HOUSE SAFFRON BREAD, GELLED TOMATO WATER, GARLIC

Income Tax's Pan Con Tomate - house saffron bread, gelled tomato water and garlic.

POKE BURRITO - SUSHI RICE, BLACK BEANS, AVOCADO, CHUKA WAKAME, MARINATED TUNA, CABBAGE, SPICY MAYONNAISE

Laurel Point's Poke Burrito - sushi rice, black beans, avocado, chuka wakame, marinated tuna, cabbage and spicy mayonnaise.

ORIGINAL CROQUE MONSIEUR - HAM, SWISS CHEESE, BÉCHAMEL SAUCE, PAIN DE MIE

Champagne French Bakery's decadent sandwich is made with sliced Black Forest ham, Swiss cheese and creamy béchamel sauce, served between two buttered slices of pain de mie. It’s topped with a mild grated Swiss cheese, then oven-baked to create a flavorful crust.

BEET SALAD - BEETS, ANCHO CRESS, RADISHES, TAHINI PURÉE, TOASTED CASHEWS, ROASTED SUNCHOKES, SESAME BRITTLE, LEMON OIL

Quaintrelle's latest beet salad juxtaposes earthy and buttery flavors (roasted sunchokes, beets and toasted cashews), with contrasting sharper elements (ancho cress, radish, tahini purée and lemon oil to finish).

Venison Chop with red wine venison sausage, lavender broth, diced vegetables, baby root vegetables

Primehouse steakhouse's Venison Chop uses Miyazaki beef fat to make the real flavor difference. It's served with red wine venison sausage made in house, and a lavender broth with diced vegetables and baby root vegetables.

Seared Yellowfin Tuna with Creole fried black rice, sweet potato-habanero sauce, Steel sauce

Annunciation's offers a Seared Yellowfin Tuna with Creole fried black rice, sweet potato-habanero sauce and signature “Steel sauce”. “The dish is warm, cool, salty, sweet, spicy, meaty, light, crunchy and tender.”

Yucatan Stew - Roasted pork, sweet potato, radish salad, poached egg, toast

Slipsteam's hearty, comforting Yukatan Stew - pork, sweet potatoes, and rutabaga with roasted onions, garlic and tomatoes.

Eventide Brown Butter Lobster Roll Lobster meat, brown butter vinaigrette, bao-style steamed bun, sea salt, chives

Eventide Oyster Co offers the Eventide Brown Butter Lobster Roll with Lobster meat, brown butter vinaigrette, bao-style steamed bun, sea salt, chives

Hello Betty partners with a local tortilleria, making their tortillas an authentic part of the menu’s narrative.

Creativity and contrast mark the modern fish taco

Kombucha gives cocktails a boost, both in health benefits and flavor depth. Light fizziness adds to the overall appeal.

Cocktails go deep with these high-impact ingredients

Rethink your salad menu strategy. Go with two to three core salads on your menu that have longevity year-round, then implement a robust salad LTO cycle that features a new seasonal salad offering every two months.

 Incorporating unusual ingredients and combinations

Nachos are an ideal platform for introducing new flavor systems. In Nashville, Tenn., they serve as a base for Party Fowl’s signature Hot Chicken, with a topping of white beans, cheese, avocado, jalapeños, green onion, lettuce, pico de gallo and sour cream.

America’s favorite shareable is getting a serious makeover from chefs who are mindfully constructing layers of textures and flavors. Speaking to modern flavor trends, today’s nachos extend a restaurant brand’s playfulness and creativity while delivering big time on craveability.

The menu opportunity here comes from fresh, transparent, handcrafted cues that modern non-alcoholic beverages deliver so perfectly.

With the growing interest in soda alternatives plus innovation in the cocktail space, creative non-alcoholic offerings are vying for menu space. Fast casuals are leading the way with fresh-pressed juices; hand-crafted sodas; flavor-forward lemonades and iced teas; iced coffees and more.

Brown Bag Seafood Co.’s Curry Fish Cakes with ginger-lime sauce are a big hit on the menu at its new Revival Food Hall location in Chicago. “We sell out faster than we can make them,” says Donna Lee, founder.

This trend sees seafood boldly stepping out of its traditional confines and embracing big flavor combinations and casual presentations. Chefs are menuing seafood in thrilling ways, underpinning the dishes with an approachable, but meaningful message of sustainability.

Irresistibly crispy, the chickpea fries at David Burke Fabrick in New York get a dusting of fennel pollen and are served with complementary dips, like harissa mayonnaise or chipotle aïoli.

Propelled by the interest in plant-based proteins, the veg-centric trend and Middle Eastern fare, the chickpea is stealing the spotlight. From bar bites of roasted chickpeas to the next wave of hummus and the explosion of falafel, they promise wholesome adventure.

A conscientious approach means looking at flavor-forward dishes in a holistic way. Modern Market’s “Homestyle Plates” invite diners to pick their protein and two signature sides.

This overarching trend speaks to a menu strategy that appeals to today’s modern diners. Thoughtfulness of intent, transparency in sourcing and a mindfulness around flavor-building all give this trend long legs.

A skillet of Tomato-Braised Meatballs with burrata and grits served at Acorn in Denver, relays rustic, homey, hearty, just-for-you cues that resonate with consumers today.

Old-fashioned comfort meets modern flavor innovation in today’s forward-thinking skillet preparations. Rustic and earnest, skillets today host bubbling pasta dishes, shareable dips and caramelized mini platters of veg-centric bar bites.

Familiar potatoes become modern and flavor-forward at Tava Kitchen, an Indian-inspired fast casual. Oven-baked whole marble potatoes are dusted with Tava spice for a signature, yet approachable side dish.

Small potatoes are making big moves and showing off their skills as a shareable, sociable innovation platform. Minis, marbles, fingerlings—all respond beautifully to flavor techniques like roasting, blistering, smoking and smashing.

Craveable and umami-rich, okonomiyaki is primed for menu adoption here. Perfect as a shareable, this savory cabbage pancake often boasts inclusions like spring onion and bacon, and then is topped with an addictive combination of sweet soy glaze and Kewpie mayo.

Thanks to the proliferation of ramen bowls, along with the new izakaya wave, chefs are discovering the flavors of comfort-forward Japanese ingredients and dishes, like karaage, katsu and okonomiyaki, promising craveable, memorable experiences.

A renewed appreciation for crisp lettuce is driving innovation in salads. Midtown Grille in Raleigh, N.C., offers a modern take on a craveable classic in its Iceberg Salad with applewood bacon, deviled egg, blue cheese and buttermilk.

Chefs are staging a coup, toppling the reign of tender greens and bringing back the crunch. Driven by a more intentional approach to salad-building, romaine and iceberg are getting called up, tucking craveability and, yes, innovation, among their crisp leaves.

From crave-worthy sandwiches to center-of-plate steaks and shareable small plates, ham is happening. Watch UNCUT Making the Cut to see Chef Cosmo Goss of The Publican in Chicago showcase the delicious “umami bomb” – and visit PorkFoodservice.org for how-to butchering demos, recipes and more.

Ham is happening. Watch UNCUT Making the Cut to see Chef Cosmo Goss of The Publican in Chicago showcase the delicious “umami bomb”. With the National Pork Board.

California Pizza Kitchen makes grapefruit vodka the star in its Socialite Cosmo, which also features orange blossom liqueur, cranberry and agave sour, topped with bubbles.



The Hot “Bananas Foster” Butter Cake at Eddie V’s merges comfort and indulgence. Butter is the theme here: butter cake, butter pecan ice cream and butterscotch.

Tap into these menu-ready dessert trends for prime opportunities

A medley of heat and comfort, the Braised Pork Cheeks at Motto in Durham, N.C., are nestled in green chile grits and guajillo broth—just one example of the new ways that guajillo is showing up on menus.

Chile varietals are always on trend, giving diners the heat and excitement they yearn for. Guajillo is capturing chefs’ attention because of its depth of character, offering flavorful heat plus a cool regional Mexican hook.

Showcasing the potential with this sandwich, Kotti Berliner Döner Kebab in New York serves the Kotti Special: marinated chicken with vegetables, tucked into a Turkish pide, with a choice of herb, lemon, garlic or harissa-style chile sauce.

A dozen ways to reinvigorate this classic category

Tapping into Alfredo’s built-in appeal requires the simplest of touches—perhaps a hint of Gorgonzola or an infusion of spices, like ancho or smoked paprika.

Breathe new life into late-stage trends with creative flavors and forms

RECIPES

A hearty hash made with cubed Idaho® Potatoes, braised short ribs and eggs. A delicious dish that will really stick to your customers’ ribs.
Pig out on these golden fried Idaho® Potatoes topped with mouthwatering carnitas, chorizo and bacon. Makes for a delicious starter dish or sharable plate.
Hand-made Idaho® Potato dough is formed, boiled and browned with a savory wild mushroom melange.

GALLERY

FROM OUR FRIENDS

Rob Corliss, culinary consultant, translates five sustaining trends that will continue to influence dining behavior, and that require thoughtful attention when it comes to modern menu strategy.
Greek yogurt offers a pleasing balance between acidity and richness to desserts. Use it in Greek Yogurt Icing, Frozen Greek Yogurt and Almond Panna Cotta.
Texas Ranchero Queso Fundido, featuring Bush's new Texas Ranchero® Pinto Beans
Flavor Partners Showcase - how Bush's Beans' products and recipes help customers take full advantage of the vegetable-forward menu trend
Cornmeal + Blackberries + Texas Pete® Honey Mustard Sauce
Quinn Adkins introduces this go-to trifecta of cornmeal, blackberries, and Texas Pete® Honey Mustard Sauce

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