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Made Nice illustrates one of the predicted restaurant trends for 2018
Made Nice illustrates one of the predicted restaurant trends for 2018 | Image courtesy of Made Nice
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Here Are the Big Food Trends of 2018… and Where You Can Already Find Them in NYC

Picture of Kathryn Maier
NYC Food & Drink Editor
Updated: 12 December 2017
The National Restaurant Association just released its predictions for next year’s menu trends. Here’s where to check them out in NYC.

As 2017 draws to a close, it’s time to take a look ahead to the coming year. The National Restaurant Association surveyed more than 700 chefs over the past couple of months to identify the most of-the-moment foods and restaurant concepts, and just released its predictions for what’ll be big on restaurant menus in 2018. New York City, as always, seems ahead of the curve, since everything on the list can already be found here.

Here, then, are the National Restaurant Association’s predicted trends for 2018 and, for each, an example of where you can try it in NYC. We’ve left a few items off, such as “locally sourced meats and seafoods,” “uncommon herbs,” and, god help us, “authentic ethnic cuisine,” since they’re near-ubiquitous at the better restaurants in town; there are simply too many options to list. As for the rest, here’s where to find next year’s hottest food trends…now.

New cuts of meat (e.g. shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas Strip Steak, Merlot cut)

Quality Eats, a casual, affordable, and trendy steakhouse with locations in the West Village and Upper East Side, includes a bavette steak among its offerings. It’s cut from the bottom sirloin, and is lean yet flavorful.

19 Greenwich Ave., New York City, and 1496 Second Ave., New York City

Steakin’ out | Bavette Cut?

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Street food-inspired dishes (e.g. tempura, kabobs, dumplings, pupusas)

Honestly, this is a trend that’s been going strong in the city for more than a decade. Babu Ji, a prime example of the city’s trend toward upscale Indian restaurants, has a section of its menu called “From the Street,” featuring items such as yogurt kebabs and gol goppa.

22 East 13th St., New York City

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Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g. chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)

Ignoring the questionable wording—it’s the Restaurant Association’s, not ours—we think Atla is a pretty great example of where to fuel up for the day in non-European style. The best things on the menu there—namely, the split-pea tlacoyos and the chilaquiles—are available only during breakfast.

372 Lafayette St., New York City

Chilaquiles

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Sustainable seafood

Gloria, a seafood-centric spot in West Midtown, serves only sustainable seafood. When they’re able to source it, they go a step further and serve seafood such as lionfish, a harmful invasive species for which fishing to remove it from its non-native habitats is actually a good thing.

401 West 53rd St., New York City

Pan Roasted Monkfish, Royale White Sturgeon Caviar, Turnip, Caramelized Onion is what we all need right now.

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Vegetable carb substitutes (e.g. cauliflower rice, zucchini spaghetti)

You’ll see zucchini noodles at plenty of places in town; Adoro Lei, a health-focused restaurant in the Hudson Square area, includes gluten-free cauliflower-crust pizza among its offerings.

287 Hudson St., New York City

This is how We do Gluten Free ???

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Ethnic spices (e.g. harissa, curry, peri peri, ras el hanout, shichimi)

If it’s North African and Middle Eastern spices you’re after, head to Nur, where the kitchen puts as many as possible in and on each dish; every plate holds a veritable three-ring circus of flavors.

34 East 20th St., New York City

Peruvian cuisine

We love Llama Inn, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for its excellent ceviches and tiraditos and its excellent cocktails such as the Llama Del Rey, made with pisco, rum, red wine, and chicha morada, the quintessentially Peruvian corn-based drink.

50 Withers St., Brooklyn, New York

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House-made/artisan pickles

Housemade pickles are near-ubiquitous in NYC by this point, but if we have to choose a favorite, we’ll go with Ssäm Bar, one of the originators of the trend, where you can get them as a side on the brunch and lunch menus.

207 Second Ave., New York City

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Heritage-breed meats

Le Coq Rico is entirely based on showcasing heritage chicken breeds; servers will happily describe the flavor and textural nuances between a Brune Landaise and a Plymouth Rock. You order the chickens whole; plan on having leftovers.

30 East 20th St., New York City

Thai rolled ice cream

There are several options in NYC for this frozen treat now; the best-known is probably 10 Below, where the ice-cream rolls come in flavors including key lime pie and mint chocolate madness.

Multiple locations

Got a case of the Mondays? Let our Monkey Business take care of you ? ?: @kbowman0217 #whaleygood

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African flavors

Again, the phrasing is the Restaurant Association’s, not ours. But whether you’re looking for Moroccan fare (try Café Mogador) or Ethiopian cuisine (try Awash), this city has you covered.

Café Mogador: 101 St. Marks Place, New York City, and 133 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn, New York
Awash: 947 Amsterdam Ave., New York City, and 338 East 6th St., New York City

Donuts with non-traditional fillings (e.g. liqueur, Earl Grey cream)

Flavors at The Doughnut Project change constantly, but you might encounter ones filled with peanut butter whip and glazed with blackberry (a take on a PB&J sandwich, obvs), or filled with ricotta whip and glazed with beet icing.

10 Morton St., New York City

Ancient grains (e.g. kamut, spelt, amaranth, lupin)

At vegetarian restaurant abcV, there’s no shortage of grains you may have never heard of: you can get breakfast bowls with amaranth-and-ginger granola, or pancakes made from einkorn, or an ancient-grain pilaf forming the base of a lunch bowl.

38 East 19th St., New York City

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Hyper-local (e.g. restaurant gardens, onsite beer brewing, house-made items)

Options abound to illustrate this trend, even in the concrete jungle of NYC. We love Olmsted, in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, where you can have a pre-dinner drink in the restaurant’s back garden among the produce growing for use in its dishes.

659 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn, New York

Best seat in the house. #WeekendVibes

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Chef-driven fast casual concepts

This was such a big trend in 2017 that we recently ran an entire roundup of fast-casual restaurants from fine-dining chefs. Our favorites: Made Nice, from the team behind Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad; Pasta Flyer, from the former executive chef of Del Posto, and Martina, from the Marta team.

Made Nice: 8 West 28th St., New York City
Martina: 198 East 11th St., New York City
Pasta Flyer: 510 Sixth Ave., New York City

Lunch made pretty in pink? #madenice #makeitnice

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Food waste reduction

This is an issue at the forefront of many chefs’ minds right now, as illustrated in Anthony Bourdain’s documentary Wasted! The Story of Food Waste. Restaurants highlighted in it include Danny Bowien’s Mission Chinese and Mario Batali and Dave Pasternak’s Esca.

Mission Chinese: 171 East Broadway, New York City
Esca: 402 West 43rd St., New York City

Veggie-centric/vegetable-forward cuisine

An increasing number of chefs have been turning toward vegetable-centric dishes even at non-vegetarian restaurants. Chef John Fraser was ahead of the curve with Narcissa, where you can still get the carrots Wellington dish that made waves when the restaurant opened a few years ago.

25 Cooper Square, New York City

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Farm/estate-branded items

At Blue Hill, much of the meats and produce served comes from the restaurant’s Blue Hill Farm in Massachusetts or the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, where a sister restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, is located.

75 Washington Place, New York City