15 Houston Restaurant Trends to Abandon in 2015

Yesterday's darling is today's tired old trend.
Yesterday's darling is today's tired old trend.
Photo by Chuck Cook Photography

It's a new year and an opportunity for a fresh new start. We asked professionals from Houston's restaurant industry -- chefs, bartenders and fellow food writers -- to share which trends they think need to be left behind in 2014. Some answers were about food and service trends. Others delved deeper into our restaurant culture. In more than one instance, one person's beef was the exactly opposite of another's complaint.

Let's start with one of my own:

15. Enough With the Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Beet Salads I love roasted Brussels sprouts and beet salads, but I would not be sorry not to see another one for at least a year. They need to be left in the same memory book as "The Great Bonito Flaking of 2013."

How about some broccoli or new takes on spinach? Bok choy isn't getting enough attention from "nice" restaurants. Can someone invent a green bean casserole that doesn't involve limp, stringy ghosts of Thanksgivings past? There are other vegetables out there and they need love, too. One chef that I spoke with, though, has a valid addition to my point: If beets and Brussels sprouts are in season, it's fine to use them. Otherwise, there's no reason for them to be on menus year-round.

14. Trying Too Hard to Keep Ramen Relevant Felice Sloan of the Urban Swank blog says, "Enough with trying to take the Ramen craze to the next level with crazy recreations. I mean Ramen donuts, Ramen wings, Ramen Burgers -- enough already or should I just say, 'Bye Felicia!'"

13. And Even More Played-Out Food Trends Dr. Ricky of the Science Based Cuisine blog has his own list of dishes he's seen enough of: "Kobe burgers, bread pudding and macaroni and cheese." It's also time to rethink the term "Asian-inspired." "I think it's the politically correct replacement for 'Oriental,'" he says.

12. Sparkling or Tap Water? Someone trying to upsell you on water, of all things, has always been annoying. It seems, though, as if more restaurants are doing it than ever before. The minute you sit down, the server is upon you, demanding, "Still or sparkling?" or "Sparkling or tap?" (Tap water is supposed to sound more unappealing, of course.) Ricky Craig of Hubcap Grill says, "Stop it. If I wanted sparkling, I'd ask for it. Also, put ice in my glass. I hate room temperature water."

11. No One Wants to Read an Encyclopedia at Dinner Craig also pointed out the trend of long-winded menus, and add to that wine lists. If there's a sommelier in the house, he or she should be able to use that knowledge and create a well-edited list that matches the food served. Menus and wine lists should be helpful, not overwhelming.

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