Best of FlavorTop 10 Trends

Most Popular

roasting vegetables in coconut oil further develops flavor.

Commodity boards harness the momentum of the bowl trend

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.

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

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

At Hen Quarter, watermelon balls combine with soft-creamy ciliegine mozzarella, crisp English cucumbers, bright heirloom tomatoes, torn aromatic basil, shaved fennel and comforting lemon-curd vinaigrette, creating a fresh interpretation of the classic Caprese Salad.

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

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

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.

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.

Sweet Ambassador: Custom Deluxe | Biddeford, Maine

Yeast Donuts with applesauce, maple-rubbed cheddar, maple mousse and cider ice garnish Thomas Malz Chef/Owner Thomas Malz hadn’t imagined that the Yeast Donuts he created would serve as Custom Deluxe’s signature. “This dessert was the first dish that felt like our own—not an imitation, but an expression, the one that I feel represents us best—and […]

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

2016 Wolds of Flavor chefs

Skillet Switch-Up: Hacienda Colorado | Based in Denver

Brunch Skillet: Hash browns, queso blanco, scrambled eggs, chorizo, avocado, limón crema Breakfast skillets are the original bowl builds, really, using potatoes as a base and often crowning the dish with decadent, melty cheese. At Hacienda Colorado, the Brunch Skillet modernizes the build, starting with a foundation of crispy hash browns in a spicy queso […]

Panera Bread introduced a list of additives that they will no longer use. Clean items on the menu, such as the Chinese Citrus Cashew Salad with Chicken, are made with no artificial ingredients.

Chicago’s Seoul Taco serves up Korean-Mexican fusion like this Gogi Bowl with rice, fried egg, carrots and spicy gochujang.

Veg-centric, root-to-stem, as well as an overall greater attention paid to produce, are all propelling carrots from workhorse to star status.

New York-based Dig Inn showcases the modern produce-protein partnership in its Marketplate, with two servings of flavor-forward vegetables, a base of grains or rice and a serving of protein in creative applications, like these five-spice meatballs with harissa.

Il Palio in Chapel Hill, N.C., offers a shareable selection of 12 wood-grilled crostini, topped with ingredients like tomato and anchovy or marinated olives.

Key into the flavor preferences of the hugely influential younger generations.

Al’s Place in San Francisco is on top of the pickled fries trend with its mouth-watering Brine-Fermented French Fries.

A dozen of today’s most exciting fried foods.

Both The Pho-King Champ at Midnight Rambler in Dallas and The Star Anise at Mace in New York (above) feature intense Asian spices, flavors rarely seen on cocktail menus before now.

Meze for sharing: Typical of Middle Eastern cuisine are the small plates of brightly flavored dips and bites. At Shaya in New Orleans, meze dishes range from labneh to baba ghanouj to a variety of pickles.

The latest ingredients bartenders are using to make a beverage pop.

Two nostalgic favorites in one: S’mores Baked Alaska at Atwood in Chicago is topped with housemade marshmallow fluff—torched to campfire perfection.

As more chefs modernize nostalgic desserts, both consumer expectation and menu opportunity go up.

The Wally at Sandfly Bar-B-Q in Savannah, Ga., packs flavor with duck fat-fried chicken fingers, ranch dressing and red cabbage slaw.

Sandwiches invite creativity, from riffs on such classics as club sandwiches and BLTs to new ingredient stars like lamb and braised short rib.

Trends from new menus
 include (clockwise from top left): crudités at Resto in New York; Delicata squash at Santa Monica Yacht Club; okonomiyaki at New York’s Okiway; and carrot toast at New York’s Avant Garden.

With blood orange, kumquat, radish, Serrano, cilantro, avocado and lime, this Rockfish and Shrimp Ceviche Tostada at Fishing with Dynamite in Manhattan Beach, Calif., showcases modern flavors in today’s seafood menu development.

From the porterhouse to the ribeye, official pork chop names drive big value for operators. Watch this video to learn how to butcher and name chops coming from a bone-in loin

Watch this video to learn how to butcher and name chops coming from a bone-in loin.

The Right Stuff: BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse | Based in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Roasted Salmon Quinoa Bowl with red onions, mushrooms, asparagus, fire-roasted red peppers and soy-ginger sauce With its Enlightened Entrées menu section, BJ’s Restaurants has keyed into a critical strategy in modern better-for-you menu development. “We believe it’s not taking things out that makes them ‘enlightened’—it’s putting the right things in,” says Scott Rodriguez, VP of […]

Sweet-Sour Tart: Choc-o-Pain | Hoboken & Jersey City N.J.

Tarte aux Pommes: Granny Smith apple tart with apricot glaze, served with sour cream Clemence Danko The oh-so-French Choc-O-Pain bakery and café specializes in sourdough breads and flaky pastries, including the Tarte aux Pommes—a traditional apple tart made with Granny Smith apples in a crust, brushed with butter and apricot glaze. Owner Clemence Danko says, […]

Silky Smooth: Fig & Olive | Based in New York

The Fig & Olive with cucumber vodka, blood orange purée, blood orange-infused olive oil Fig & Olive is known for its use of olive oils, sourcing different varietals ranging from the French Riviera and Spain’s Catalonia to Tuscany. “It’s only natural that we began experimenting with different varietals at our bar. We found that olive […]

Infused With a Kick: L’Amico | New York

Fusilli with spicy sausage, bitter greens, pecorino and house-infused chile oil Laurent Tourondel At his new L’Amico, house-infused chile oil is a pantry staple for Executive Chef Laurent Tourondel. Relying on it for its lingering but subtle heat, he features the oil in his popular fusilli with sausage, pecorino and bitter greens. “The balance of […]

Tomatoes & Bacon with a Twist: Saint Marc USA | Huntington Beach, Calif.

Ghost of Bloody Mary (left) with tomato consomme, Ballast Point Habanero Vodka and a sansho pepper-cilantro-lime rim and Bacon-Wrapped Artichokes (right) with Parmigiano-Reggiano and lemon-tarragon aïoli Kent Beardens With the Ghost of Bloody Mary, Kent Beardens, Saint Marc’s Senior Director of Operations, and team have “delivered a radically different presentation.” The tomato “juice” is a […]

Iconic Original: Columbia Restaurant | Based in Tampa, Fla.

“1905” Salad: Iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, ham, Swiss cheese, olives, grated Romano cheese, garlic dressing. Richard Gonzmart As Florida’s oldest restaurant, Columbia takes pride in its history as a family-run establishment—and in its longtime favorite dishes. The signature “1905” Salad was first served in the 1940s, created by waiter Tony Noriega based on what he liked […]

Toston of the Town: Pincho Factory | Based in Miami

Toston Burger: Fried plantain “buns,” beef patty, cilantro mayo, jack cheese, lettuce and tomatoes Pincho Factory, a new Latin-inspired fast-casual, is known for a number of things, including its namesake pinchos (skewers of grilled meat), burgers and fries. For the Miami-born concept, Chef/Co-owner Nedal Ahmad created the Toston Burger as an LTO. “It was by […]

Alfredo Innovation: Fazoli’s | Based in Lexington, Ky.

Angry Chicken Alfredo: Fried chicken breast tossed in Calabrese sauce atop spaghetti with “Angry” Alfredo Arrabbiata sauce, bacon, pepperoncini, Gorgonzola Utilizing Alfredo sauce’s longevity as a beloved profile, Fazoli’s put it to work as a flavor bridge in a bolder menu build. As part of an Alfredo Fest promotion, Rick Petralia, R&D Chef, developed the […]

Hometown Beverage: Firehouse Subs | Based in Jacksonville, Fla.

Cherry Lime-Aid Firehouse Subs Cherry Lime-Aid is sold internationally, but its roots date back to Jacksonville, Fla., where the beverage came to be. Back in 1994, Firehouse Subs’ co-founders and brothers, Chris and Robin Sorensen, debuted their recipe: black cherry mash, simple syrup and non-carbonated water served over ice with fresh-squeezed limes. The drink is […]

Small but Mighty: Joseph Decuis | Roanoke, Ind.

Mini Wagyu Burgers: Gougères, Wagyu beef, spicy ketchup, blue-cheese mousse Adam House Mini is big right now, and the bite-sized Mini Wagyu Burgers at upscale Joseph Decuis satisfy the demand for smaller portions with huge flavor. “First off, if anyone here calls these ‘sliders,’ they’re fired,” says Adam House, Executive Chef. “These are itty-bitty cheeseburgers […]

Crisp as a Cucumber: Catelli Duo Osteria & Wine Bar | Voorhees, N.J.

Cucumber Martini: Cucumber water, Van Gogh Melon Vodka, simple syrup, fresh lime Catelli Duo’s clientele skews female—about 60 percent are women. Tailoring beverage options to female preferences makes sense, and explains the popularity of light, produce-centric cocktails like the Cucumber Martini. “Each day we peel and juice seedless English cucumbers, then run them through cheesecloth […]

Crazy for Katsu: National Pork Board

Katsu Sando with breaded boneless pork loin, cabbage, Kewpie mayonnaise, katsu sauce Sometimes the Next Big Thing is right under your nose. “The katsu is kind of a sleeper hit,” says Stephen Gerike, Director of Foodservice Marketing and Innovation for the National Pork Board. “People are discovering ramen, and katsu is usually right there on […]

Breakfast, Italian-Style: First Watch Restaurants | Based in University Park, Fla.

Italian Benedict with scrambled eggs, Roma tomatoes, Parmesan cream sauce and proscuitto Shane Schaibly Breakfast is booming as a daypart, with clever tweaks appealing to today’s diners. So when First Watch introduced its Italian Benedict as an alternative to the classic Eggs Benedict, the reception was enthusiastic. The “daytime café” began subbing ciabatta in place […]

Serendipitous Success: Suviche | Based in Miami, Fla.

SuVama Ceviche with leche de tigre, cancha corn, marinated choclo, sweet potato and red onion Jaime Pesaque Just a few months after opening one of the four SuViche locations in Florida, the pressure was on. “In a packed restaurant, and still being rookies, we had a line of tickets coming in—they were all ceviches,” says […]

Cubano Craving: Honey Butter Fried Chicken | Chicago

Mustard Butter: brushed onto bun of Cubano sandwich Josh Kulp & Christine Cikowski At Honey Butter, Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp, co-executive chefs and managing partners, are famous for their fried chicken, made extra craveable with a signature side of honey butter. But they recently played around with the classic Cubano, which was the brainchild […]

Burger Trial Balloon: Brick House Tavern + Tap | Based in Houston

Bison Burger with candied bacon, cheddar cheese and jalapeño- cilantro mayo The Bison Burger was only going to run as a weekly special at Brick House Tavern + Tap, reports Tim Griffin, Director of Culinary Innovation. But its soaring popularity moved it into a menu mainstay. “Since adding it to the main menu, it has […]

Jose Chesa Comfort food from any culture offers an unbeatable authenticity that appeals to today’s diners. Ataula’s Chef/Co-owner José Chesa created the Pepito sandwich from his childhood memories of growing up in Barcelona, where his father, also a chef, served a version at his restaurant. It’s built of luxurious layers of braised veal breast, roasted […]

Deli Delight: Packed | Chicago

Pastrami Dumpling with violet mustard and pickled green tomatoes.

Three’s Company: La Madeleine | Based in Dallas

Mini Croque Monsieur Trio: Classic Ham; Marinated Chicken; Smoked Turkey Susan Derderen Today’s diners want the chance to sample adventurous flavors in manageable portions—that’s why small plates and dessert flights have taken hold. The same principle applies to the Mini Croque Monsieur Trio, which offers La Madeleine’s guests a sampling of three sandwiches on one […]

Follow our new weekly column for unique perspectives on flavor

Flavor: an indication of the essential character of something

When we strip every conversation away from our food experiences, it all comes down to Flavor.


Paella With Chicken, Chorizo, Clams And Shirred Eggs
This paella with shirred eggs is an example of how dinner dishes are showing up at breakfast and egg dishes are growing dramatically on dinner menus.
This Mediterranean-inspired egg strata, with Swiss chard, olives, thyme and fresh mozzarella is ideal for vegetarians looking for a protein-rich meal, or any guest who wants a healthy meal with great flavor.
Pear Shrimp Salad with Cilantro Yogurt Dressing
The cilantro yogurt dressing is really the difference maker in this dish. It’s so creamy, fresh and flavorful, and yet lower in calories thanks to non-fat Greek yogurt.



Saputo Cheese USA Inc. (“Saputo”) is pleased to introduce Great Midwest® Ghost Pepper CheddarCheese.
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 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.
From the porterhouse to the ribeye, official pork chop names drive big value for operators. Watch this video to learn how to butcher and name chops coming from a bone-in loin
Watch this video to learn how to butcher and name chops coming from a bone-in loin.
Barilla penne with turnips, carrots, blue cheese and micro greens expresses the creative potential of a modernized Italian-American innovation.
Barilla's annual “Modern Casual” summit brings chefs together to share menu ideation around authentic Italian flavors and ingredients.


Latest Takeaway









Flavor & The Menu's Twitter avatar
Flavor & The Menu

FF: Best of Flavor - Bacon + Oyster = Love -

Flavor & The Menu's Twitter avatar
Flavor & The Menu

FF: Best of Flavor - Hot Pear Salad -

Flavor & The Menu's Twitter avatar
Flavor & The Menu

FF: Grapefruit - The Flavor Equalizer - #totc #cocktail