Trendy Dishes: 8 Hot Items on Menus Around the U.S.

By Kelly Dobkin  |  October 7, 2013

There was a time when pork belly ruled every menu; a time when orange-hued uni was the new black; even a time when sun-dried tomatoes were considered the new hotness. But as for right now, from New York to San Francisco, these eight dishes/ingredients seem to be trending on major-city menus all around the country. Check out the ubiquity below.

  • Blistered Shishito Peppers

    These sweet and spicy Japanese peppers continue to dominate just about every menu on the planet right now. We're not totally sure who started it, but this popular hipster appetizer is everywhere. While they're obviously a staple starter at ramen houses and izakayas (which are both trending in their own right), we think chefs who spent many post-shift meals at these types of joints decided they couldn't live without them on their own menus and acted accordingly.

    Where to find: In Philadelphia at Vedge; in LA at Baco Mercat; in DC at Mintwood Place

  • Credit: Picnic NYC

    Giant Turkey Legs

    While these Frankenfood-sized hunks of meat probably got their start at a Renaissance fair, we're now seeing them trending on menus at hot-ticket eateries like LA's Animal. Whether they're straight-up roasted and served with Thanksgiving-inspired garnishes or even prepared as confit like at Picnic in NYC, this Flintstones-esque dish is hotter than ever. 

    Where to find: At Crazy Legs at Brooklyn's Smorgasburg and Picnic, both in NYC; turkey leg sandwich at LA's Corazon Y Miel

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Fried Skin 

    While chicharron had a moment a couple of years back, fried skin garnishes, particularly fried fish skin (and chicken skin) seem to be trending widely at the moment. Some chefs are even going so far as to sub it in for bacon, as at LA's The Hart & the Hunter, where a chicken-skin BLT is on offer.

    Where to try: At Supper in Philadelphia; tempura-fried chicken skin at Monzo in LA; duck egg pasta topped with cracklins at TWO in Chicago

  • Credit: Tamara Palmer

    "Pastrami" Everything

    What can't you flavor with pastrami these days? Answer: nothing. From french fries to ramen, steak and hash, chefs are taking a cue from the old-school Jewish deli meat when it comes to seasoning just about everything.

    Where to try: Wise Sons' pastrami fries in SF; deli ramen at Dassara in Brooklyn; Plan Check's pastrami nosh in LA

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Pricey Carrots

    While ABC Kitchen's $22 carrots may have started it all, pricey plates of roasted carrots are rampant on restaurant menus everywhere, it seems. Who knew that the humble carrot could become such a hot-ticket dish?

    Where to try: You'll find fancy carrots at Philly's Zahav and Vedge (pictured); in NYC at NoMad, ABC Kitchen and American Cut; and at Range in DC

  • Pink Peppercorn Desserts

    These peppery dry berries are all the rage right now, especially in desserts that have a sweet-savory flavor profile. One of our favorite applications of late is ilili Box's butterscotch panna cotta with cardamom, poached apricots, kola nut, pink peppercorns and semolina crumble.

    Where to try: ilili Box in NYC; Bar Ferdinand and Stratus Lounge in Philadelphia

  • Credit: The Catbird Seat

    Hay-Smoked Meats

    Hay-smoked items have been trending for the last few years now but seem to be reaching a fever pitch as they're on just about every menu in the country right now. In NYC at Icelandic eatery Skal, try hay-smoked confit duck wings.

    Where to try it: Fiola in DC; The Catbird Seat in Nashville; [One] Restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC

  • Frogs' Legs

    This old-school item is back, and it's not just at French restaurants. The tiny amphibious appendages are also native to Cantonese cuisine and are prevalent throughout Southeast Asia and in parts of Europe. Try them tempura-fried over English pea risotto at Sbraga in Philadelphia (pictured). 

    Where to try: Sbraga in Philadelphia; 112 Eatery in Minneapolis; Le Philosophe in NYC; B Too in DC