Exotic, eclectic, globally influenced menu items that mainly were seen at top-tier restaurants have moved into the menu mainstream, an evolution that will continue to unfold in 2006.
This article first appeared in the 1 January 2006 issue of Restaurants & Institutions (R&I).
R&I is the USA's leading source of food and business-trend information and exclusive research on operators and restaurant patrons. Editorial coverage spans the entire foodservice industry, including chains, independent restaurants, hotels and institutions. To find out more about R&I, visit its website www.foodservice411.com.
Chains, independents, colleges and business-and-industry operations in particular have picked up culinary vernacular from around the world weaving multiple flavor influences onto menus.
For Yard House Corporate Executive Chef Carlito Jocson, inspiration for an entrée of grilled jumbo shrimp skewered on lemongrass came from Southeast Asia. Served at all of the Irvine, Calif.-based chain's 11 units, the dish combines numerous multicultural components. Six meaty shrimp are brushed with lemon-chile oil and matched with two dipping sauces: sweet chile made with sriracha, and Thai peanut with curry paste, turmeric and fish sauce.
Shrimp and Indonesian fried rice are accompanied by two salads: bean sprout-and-carrot, and spinach blanched briefly and dressed in oil.
Yard House makes dipping sauces in house, but a vast array of premade alternatives are available for operators seeking time and labor savings.
Options such as skewers and rice side dishes make versatile menu additions. Jocson offers the skewers as add-ons to steak entrées and atop salads for $9.95; diners can substitute Indonesian fried rice for any side
1. Skewed up
At Yard House, shrimp are threaded on lemongrass stalks that impart fragrant citrus nuances to the dish. It makes preparation more costly and laborintensive; standard bamboo skewers can substituted,
2. Protein power Shrimp continues to be a big draw with diners across all segments. Given the wide range of product specs available; most operators can find sizes that fit their price structure. Yard House uses 12 un
3. Revved-up rice Bok choy, leeks, garlic and shallots are sautéed and seasoned with sambal olek, a sweet-hot Indonesian chile paste. The vegetables are added to jasmine rice, easily made ahead.