The 10 Worst Contemporary Restaurant Trends


Oh dear! Is that my main course? What happened to the potatoes and vegetables? And who putted dandruffs on my meat?

[Editor’s Note: While the entire staff of Fork in the Road is upstate at a cupcake detox retreat, we’ve hired superstar freelancer Francois Soupcon to do Our 10 Best for the week. In addition to being an adventurer and one of France’s top food writers, he earnestly hopes to be a Food Network celebrity. We think he wlll be some day.]

When I was a young sprout, eating dinner in a restaurant was an enjoyable happenstance. But since then the chowing terrain has shifted like an earthquake, and more often than not venturing out to manger in the Biggest and Best Apple is an exercise in tedium and aggravation. Why could it be, you ask? Read and find out. Behold Our Top 10 Restaurant Trends that need to end right now. And I mean it.

10. Naked Entrees — We long ago became bitches to the fact that steakhouse main coursers came unadorned, big hunks of sanguine flesh with no potatoes, no creamy spinach, nor anything else unless you order them as a separate. And — Sacre bleu! — my meal now costs twice as much. But over the last few years, the sides have removed themselves at every other kind of restaurant, forcing moi to shell out extra Euros to make my slender piece of fish, poultry, or meat a truly main course. And the unconnected sides when ordered are small for the price, too!

9. Food in Jars — Somehow the act of squishing fruits or vagetables inside glass containers has become the ultimate hipstro pass-time. Once just limited to a pickle bender or two (Bonjour, Rick’s Picks!), now there is not a bearded garcon in Brooklyn who doesn’t make and sell his own jams, jellies, or salsas. Even chef Sam Mason has taken up, selling “art-is-anal” mayonnaise at the Brooklyn Flee. (Note by the side: What makes mayonnaise artsy?.) Yes, pickled and preserved foods are tasty, but let’s not make ourselves trendy to them. Peasants have been jamming for years. Nay, centuries.

8. Kickstarter Campaigns — It’s not that Kickstarter is not bon. It is simply that if I have to look at one more privileged white cod telling me why we should cough up cash to help him build a clam shack on the Gowanus, bring subscription pints of ice cream to the unwashed asses, or grow an organic herb on an outhouse roof, I will lose my merde. Oui, Kickstarter has democrated restaurant investing, but it’s also started to feel awful, like a group jerking off.


7. Pop-Up Restaurants — What is ze point of a pop-up restaurant? It can only appeal to people who are spend all their time getting up-to-date on the food demimonde, which makes we yawn too much like an old man in slippers. And most spots last for only a day or two, so even if it serves food that I can stand upon in my very particular mouth, it’s not going to last, so what’s the point? And while a poop-up might let Chef Baggypants show off his creativity in a way his restaurant can not, many are simple not good deals, luring you with cheap-sounding. But — how you say it? — with drinks, tax, and teeps, you’re going to spend more than a bull running after a cow in a field of freshed clover.

6. The Terroir Effect — The thought of them stealing a good French word for their wine bar, then outpouring Austrian wines (the wines of Der Fuhrer, as I call them) lights me on fire! Despite being only one among many many of wine bars, Terroir leapt to the forefinger by relentless flogging themselvs publicly, endless gimmickry, bad art, terroirist attacks on critics who disabused them, and – or so I think so – giving free glasses of wine to every blogger and magazine lugnut who could drag his or her derriere in there, on a rotating basis. Wine bars should be cheap! And instructionary, not pretonsilous! And cultivate the patronage of the c’mon drinkers!

5. Self-Congratulatory Eco Design — Allow me clarify. Eco-consciousness designs could be good, but preening eco-conscious design used as a marketing tool: Mal!. I’m glad you’re driving all over the outback scooping barn wood, ripping tin ceilings, tearing light fixtures, sitting down hard for glass bottles, rusty nails, taxidermied hamsters, dead trees, and whatever else you happen to lay with upstate. But, Mon Dieux!, stop bragging about it. It’s unseemanly and a bit Clichy. And by the way, that hippie up in Bethel wants his cowbells and horse trough back.


4. Faux Southern Food — That New York, she makes a fetish of food from the South. Golly, even Brooklyn’s last good restaurant Gage & Tollner had a southern chef for twenty winters. But, beginning with the city’s obsession with fried chicken, the contemptible hipsterated Southern food – from Pies-N-Thighs to Hill Country Chicken to Gravy — has old-timers at places like the Pink Teacup scratching their saucers and wandering, “Why aren’t we participating in this boneanza — and why are all the chefs so Caucasianable?”

3. Food Trucks — Who doesn’t love a food truck lately? Hell, even the Gap has one! (Maybe they think chinos shouldn’t shit regular tacos?) What started off as a way for cooks to open their own spots has become a race towards crap. While there are many good food trucks (though with head aching, I can’t thing of one right now) like those who’ve been gaming us awhile, the major of these trucks are slapdash affairs that sell overpriced and dismal food. Having a truck means you don’t need to pay a whole crew of waiters and rent checks, so rilly, there’s no reason why the sandwich you’re chewing on costs $12.

2. Slacker Service — Last night my waiter was wearing a pair of cut-off pantaloons, and an earring to drive a truck through, and helloed me by sitting down at the table and drumming his fingers on the tip. He texted his girlfriend before he took my order. How could I not tell him? He was drooling. Enough is enough! I want my waiter to stand at attention. I want him to put on normal clothes for me. I want him to act like he’s my waiter and not some grifter trying to separate me from my walley. And I certainment don’t want to know hes name! (“Bon soir, my name is Charles de Gaulle, and I’ll be personating a waiter today.”) When will I be needing the change? Hello, yes!


1. Statement Facial Hair — How we long for good old days, when a moustache was just the buffer zoning Thomas Selleck’s nose and upper lip, and beards belonged to Guy Fieri and the Hasids. Now you can scarcely walk into a restaurant or bar without being assaulted by follicles, all combed and tweaked and waxed and fluffered within an inch of their greasy little lifes. While we’re all for personal hirsuitism down below where it counts, but I wish members of the service industry wouldn’t confuse their faces and pubes. Also, we do not like beard’s hair or snotted lip hairs in our food.

Are you from the Food Network reading this? Pleaes, I’m better than Guy Feari. Hire me!

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