The trend is ...
We’re two months away from the new year, but industry trendspotters are already laying out forecasts for what we’ll be eating and drinking in 2016.
Baum+Whiteman, a New York City-based restaurant consulting company, just released its predictions (many are already firmly entrenched in the Twin Cities), which include:
A rise in high-speed food delivery services: They include Amazon Prime, BiteSquad, DoorDash, Postmates, Eat 24 and Caviar, and “none actually makes food ... they’re middlemen connecting restaurants and customers.”
More “clean” menus: “Big restaurants are all-of-a-sudden dumping some artificial (and other bad-for-you) ingredients.” Still, “most restaurants pushing for ‘clean’ food haven’t tackled oceans of chemicals and colorings in soft drinks and numerous dessert items.”
Pasta’s continuing decline: Sales are down 6 percent in the U.S., 8 percent in Australia, 13 percent across Europe. “Maybe spaghetti squash will have its limelight moment.”
Vegetables stepping into the limelight: “Say ‘hello’ to ‘Root to Stem’ dining, a logical extension of the nose-to-tail movement, with restaurants serving vegetable trimmings otherwise heading for the trash.” As for a sign of the movement’s mainstream cred, “White Castle now has a veggie slider, served on a vegan bun.”
The rise of poke: The Hawaiian mainstay — raw fish, tossed in a soy-ginger marinade — “is migrating to the mainland.”
The advent of “New-ish Jew-ish” cuisine: “The [hyphen] signifies we’re talking about chef-driven modern Jewish cookery,” because “chefs everywhere are today exploring their roots and cuisines ... without falling into the trap of ‘fusion’ ... and mainstreaming dishes that no longer seem so ethnic.”
A growing obsession with fried chicken: “Fried chicken sandwiches have gone creative, and ethnic,” and the cult favorite flavor of the year is Nashville Hot, “a thermonuclear paste of melted lard, sugar, sadistic qualities of cayenne and each chef’s secret spices.” While citing a long list of restaurants, they failed to mention Revival (4257 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., revivalmpls.com), but should have.
More retailers as restaurateurs: Dining venues inside Whole Foods Market, Restoration Hardware, Target, Urban Outfitters and even Lexus and Porsche showrooms are examples that “provide unique social experiences that consumers can’t enjoy by clicking ‘buy’ on their smartphones.”
Spice of the year: It’s going to be — wait for it — turmeric.
Oh, and buzzwords to look for include falafel, kombucha, burnt vegetables, paella and General Tso flavorings.
“Shack” will be all the rage in restaurant names, and food halls will pop up all over. Frozen yogurt chains will take a hit, and “juice bars may be next.”
New in Woodbury
Sovereign Kitchen & Bar (10060 City Walk Dr., Woodbury, sovereign.kitchen) is now up and running in the former (and short-lived) home of Thanh Do.
Chef Shawn McDonald and bar manager Brett Otterson first worked together at the former Wondrous Azian Kitchen.
“We saw that it was a good opportunity, so we spoke with the landlord and assumed the lease,” said Otterson.
McDonald’s dinner-only menu features a dozen small plates (zucchini fritters, tuna tartare, chicken wings glazed in sambal and oyster sauce, beef tenderloin crostinis, all in the $10 to $14 range), plus entrees ($16-$32) that include braised short ribs, five-spice roasted duck and a burger.
Otterson is shaking seasonal cocktails, and there are deal-laden food and drink options for happy hour (3 to 6 p.m. daily).