Top Menu Trends for 2013

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The National Restaurant Association has come out with its annual list of menu trends, and it looks like the more than 1,800 professional chefs they surveyed think the trend toward local sourcing is going to be hot, hot, hot into the new year. Along with a concern for healthy food for kids, here are their top picks:

  • Locally sourced meats, seafood, and produce—even "hyperlocal" (meaning grown in the restaurant's own gardens)
  • Environmental sustainability as a culinary theme
  • New cuts of meat (e.g. Denver steak, pork flat iron, teres major)
  • Gluten-free cuisine
  • Sustainable seafood

They also surveyed almost 200 professional bartenders—members of the United States Bartenders’ Guild—to find out the hot trends in beverages. The results? Look for onsite barrel-aged drinks, food-liquor pairings, and culinary cocktails on restaurant drink menus in 2013. (I put in a link to the last item on the list because I hadn't heard the term "culinary cocktail" before, though I think I've seen them on some of the hipper restaurant cocktail lists. Not so sure I'm behind that particular trend though—I'd rather have my basil with pasta than in my glass, but maybe that's just because I have tried one yet.)

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