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Why top restaurant menus all look the same

Why top restaurant menus all look the same

Old Jun 29, 2023, 11:31 pm
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Why top restaurant menus all look the same

This article struck a chord with me. I find so much dining these days is technically very good but just boring. I'm glad to see that it is in fact a thing and not just me. I think quitting alcohol has probably highlighted it for me. I have noticed that 95% of restaurants these days are built around offering charming surroundings to sell alcohol with inoffensive yet unmemorable food. It seems like this could be applied to a lot of products these days.

Do you agree? I would much rather hunt out the different than the same when it comes to eating out. What about you?

​​​​Of course, it’s not just kingfish that is ubiquitous. It’s also steak tartare. It’s dry-aged roasted duck, and bombe Alaska. And oh ​​​boy, is it burrata. The first time you spear the snowy-white ball of fresh cheese with your knife and unleash its creamy heart all over your heirloom tomatoes, it’s love at first sight. The 300th time, not so much.

The menus at so many restaurants are becoming mirror images of each other, as if the chefs have decided on the dishes by common consent. Indeed, the restaurants themselves are becoming a hall of mirrors.

What might sound like a new restaurant with a unique point of difference soon reveals itself to be either a thinly disguised steakhouse, or thinly disguised French bistro (and often, both). Check out the latest rash of restaurants in Sydney alone: Clam Bar, inspired by the great New York steakhouse, and the $3 million dollar Armorica in Surry Hills, whose five-metre long Josper charcoal grill ain’t there for the spring vegetable tart.

...

Alex Murrell, strategy director at UK brand agency Epoch, recently drew attention to the fact that everything from interiors, architecture, cars, movie posters and brands is starting to look the same. He says we have entered “the age of average”. “Airbnbs all have white walls, mid-century furniture and exposed brick,” he says. “Coffee shops all have Edison bulbs and reclaimed wood. And restaurants all have chalkboards, metro tiles and monochromatic sans-serif typography. These are all part of the same somewhat tired trend of modern industrialism.”

The question is, why the ubiquity? The French bistro model is much-loved, and kingfish crudo is a great dish, but to this keen diner, there seems less forward momentum. Menus may run today’s date at the top, but otherwise seem set in stone. We’re stuck in a rut.
https://12ft.io/proxy?q=https%3A%2F%...e%2520kingfish.
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 9:46 am
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I get this to a point but food is trendy, similar to fashion. If something is popular, people are going to want to eat it as much as they're going to want to wear it. I don't begrudge restaurants from offering things that people want to eat.

Thankfully, many places have an incredible diversity in the cuisines offered. Yes menus at Italian restaurants seem to be similar, and not very old world Italian at that, but having so many different cuisines to choose from doesn't seem like a rut to me, and is a vast improvement over the offerings of a generation or 2 ago.
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 11:59 am
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It's like sun-dried tomatoes in the '90s.
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 12:36 pm
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Never really cared to follow food trends, as I am a food traditionalist and prefer things the old, boring way. When going for fusion and other modernist or fad food pitches (including reinventions/reintroductions of the traditional), it has typically been upon the insistence of others; and Ive generally not been impressed by all the fancy food and menu description games or pomp and circumstance that seem designed to get people to pay up more and/or to drive forward the celebrity chef/restaurant game but leave me no more wanting to return to such look at me restaurants than to the street-side meat grillers in polluted, poorer corners of the world.

That said, the world is a more interesting place nowadays than it used to be when it comes to eating. And more options nowadays even if gravitating toward the same kind of stuff and ways is better than the relative desert of yesteryears.
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 12:53 pm
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A couple years back, we ate brunch at one of the nicer nearby restaurants. I noticed that there was a couple a the bar who ordered pretty much everything on the menu. Being a curious sort, I approached and asked. They admitted they owned a restaurant, somewhere to the south in Orlando-land. They may not have gotten the recipes but they sure got the the basics and names. I have no doubt much of what they tried showed up on their next menu. It is the sincerest form of flattery after all.
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 10:59 pm
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Originally Posted by BamaVol (Post # 5)
A couple years back, we ate brunch at one of the nicer nearby restaurants. I noticed that there was a couple a the bar who ordered pretty much everything on the menu. Being a curious sort, I approached and asked. They admitted they owned a restaurant, somewhere to the south in Orlando-land. They may not have gotten the recipes but they sure got the the basics and names. I have no doubt much of what they tried showed up on their next menu. It is the sincerest form of flattery after all.
My wife is excellent at copying meals we eat elsewhere. That is why we so seldom need to eat out.
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Old Jul 16, 2023, 12:04 am
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave
It's like sun-dried tomatoes in the '90s.
Ah, yes, when even convenience stores had sun-dried tomatoes in stock!
(hey, it was Silicon Valley, trendy food was everywhere)

I tried to buy them recently, and neither Trader Joe's nor Wegman's (regional upscale markets) nor even the produce stands at Reading Terminal Market had them. Might actually have to try making them myself, if the backyard tomato crop is good.
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Old Jul 16, 2023, 1:27 am
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Imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery.
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Old Jul 16, 2023, 10:04 am
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler
Ah, yes, when even convenience stores had sun-dried tomatoes in stock!
(hey, it was Silicon Valley, trendy food was everywhere)

I tried to buy them recently, and neither Trader Joe's nor Wegman's (regional upscale markets) nor even the produce stands at Reading Terminal Market had them. Might actually have to try making them myself, if the backyard tomato crop is good.
Trader Joe usually carries 2 different kinds packed in a jar plus a shelf stable one in little cello bags...were they just temporarily out?
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Old Jul 17, 2023, 3:52 pm
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I think the quoted article is a little harsh. There are only so many different foodstuffs available and genuinely new items (eg a new vegetable) doesnt come along that often.

Of course most menus reflect trends as not too many chefs can set them. To me the real issue is that there are far too many restaurants with ideas way above their station. They churn out copycat food to a high, but not exceptional, standard but charge exceptional prices for it.
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Old Jul 18, 2023, 7:59 am
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Originally Posted by SPN Lifer
My wife is excellent at copying meals we eat elsewhere. That is why we so seldom need to eat out.
I enjoy doing this as well. But there are certain things that either a) I can't make cost-effectively for 2 people or b) I don't have the equipment/time/etc. to do it like a restaurant. These are the items I gravitate toward when we eat out. Not always, but if I see something that falls into one of those two categories, it definitely gets consideration.

Originally Posted by lhrsfo

Of course most menus reflect trends as not too many chefs can set them. To me the real issue is that there are far too many restaurants with ideas way above their station. They churn out copycat food to a high, but not exceptional, standard but charge exceptional prices for it.
There's a restaurant near us that does a 6-course chef's menu (pairing available) at a reasonable price - maybe $80 US, I can't remember. It doesn't aspire to be a high-end Michelin-starred-type restaurant with expensive, fancy, hard-to-source ingredients. Most people would know every ingredient on the menu. But it's creative, artfully plated, and delicious. I would love to see others like this, that stay "within their station" and keep it affordable and classy.
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Old Jul 19, 2023, 8:51 am
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Foam: selling the essence of the food for three times the price of the actual food.
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Old Jul 19, 2023, 11:07 am
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Originally Posted by JBord
There's a restaurant near us that does a 6-course chef's menu (pairing available) at a reasonable price - maybe $80 US, I can't remember. It doesn't aspire to be a high-end Michelin-starred-type restaurant with expensive, fancy, hard-to-source ingredients. Most people would know every ingredient on the menu. But it's creative, artfully plated, and delicious. I would love to see others like this, that stay "within their station" and keep it affordable and classy.
WHich restaurant is this?
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Old Jul 19, 2023, 3:22 pm
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Originally Posted by corky
Trader Joe usually carries 2 different kinds packed in a jar plus a shelf stable one in little cello bags...were they just temporarily out?
Nope. The local TJ's doesn't carry them - I was just there today. Apparently they think there is no demand for them in this area.
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Old Jul 19, 2023, 8:29 pm
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Originally Posted by JBord
There's a restaurant near us that does a 6-course chef's menu (pairing available) at a reasonable price - maybe $80 US, I can't remember.
Proxi?
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