Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Rob Corliss
April 26, 2022

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Black lava salt is a dramatic finishing salt with distinctive glossy jet-black color, coarse grain and slightly smoky flavor. The salt is a combination of sea salt (Hawaiian or Cyprus) combined with activated charcoal. Chefs are discovering its merits, applying lava color for stunning contrast with lighter colored foods while parlaying its flavorful crunch and taking textural plays over the top.

Strategically, “lava” is an enticing flavor callout, well positioned to tempt the curiosity of patrons looking for a taste of the exotic. Building on that sentiment, we’ve compiled menu inspiration to invite further exploration of black lava salt in recipe development.


  • Chorizo, Brussels & Corned Beef Hash: Black lava sea salt, salsa verde, fried eggs
    The Tip Tap Room, Boston
  • Salt + Pepper Calamari: Pink peppercorn, black lava salt, tamarind-lime sauce
    VUE (Omni Hotel), Carlsbad, Calif.
  • Garlic-Parsley Truffle Fries with Hawaiian black lava salt and blue cheese fondue
    Two Rivers Grille, Matamoras, Penn.
  • Roasted Beef Bone Marrow: Chimichurri, thyme, black sea salt, toasted baguette
    London Belle Supper Club, Salt Lake City
  • Edamame: Himalayan black sea salt, soy sauce, EVOO
    Tattersall, Minneapolis
  • HawaiItaly Pizza: Pomodoro, coppa, pineapple, mozzarella, Calabrian chile, cream cheese, black sea salt
    Dorsia, Milwaukee
  • Prime Porterhouse: Black Hawaiian sea salt, creamed corn
    Le Malt Royale, Red Bank, N.J.
  • Island Style Ribs w/ Respect: Marinated beef short ribs kalbi style, served over organic jasmine brown rice, along with Nalu’s mac salad garnished with Molokai black lava salt
    Nalu’s South Shore Grill, Kihei, Hi.
  • Roast Fingerling Potatoes with black lava salt, rosemary and mustard aïoli
    Dante, New York
  • General Joe’s (signature bowl): Coconut curry soup with dark chicken, avocado, carrots, snap peas, onion, black sea salt and 6-minute egg with white rice
    Tokyo Joe’s, based in Denver


  • Benedict Omelette: Candied pork belly omelette, chive hollandaise, black lava salt
  • Beef Carpaccio: Shaved beef tenderloin, Gruyère crisps, mustard emulsion, black lava salt
  • Waikiki Salad: Prosciutto, roasted pineapple slices, buffalo mozzarella slices, arugula, black lava salt
  • Black Garlic Lava Steak Bocadillo: Lightly grilled baguette schmeared with black garlic butter, sliced sirloin steak, black lava salt

About The Author

Rob Corliss

Rob Corliss is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu.