“Never make predictions, especially about the future,” said baseball great Casey Stengel. That might be true in other areas of life, but when it comes to food, it can be deliciously fun to do so. We’ve gazed into our culinary crystal ball to see what may lie ahead in 2011 on the New York dining scene.
The return of the king-sized restaurant
Just as New Yorkers were getting used to being crammed into tiny, loud eating spaces, super-sized restaurants began popping up toward the end of 2010. These include Tamarind Tribeca, Bar Basque, The Hurricane Club (pictured above), Junoon, and Asellina, each of which seats anywhere from 120 up to 280. For 2011, there’s talk of Neely’s Pig Parlour, which will be located in the Cigar Bar of Merchants East on the Upper East Side. Stephen Starr, king of super-sized restaurants such as Morimoto and Buddakkan, also is shopping for space on the Upper West Side. And Justin Timberlake is looking to expand Southern Hospitality.
Beer and pretzels as dessert
Goodbye, bacon. Hello, beer and pretzels, dessert chefs’ newest darlings. They’re appearing in everything from caramel to ice cream and tarts. Sample the beer and pretzel caramel from Liddabit Sweet, or get a pint of ice cream from Early Bird Cookery. Chef Colleen Grapes does a decadent chocolate beer tart with pretzel crust at The Harrison.
Thai food gets fancier
Thai food is expected to continue its ascent this year. So far, Harold Dieterle’s Kin Shop has earned two stars from both The New York Times and New York magazine. And then there’s the highly touted Pure Thai Shophouse, under the direction of chef and owner David Banks, a Jean-Georges alum, as well as Lotus of Siam, a flashy Vegas restaurant. Looking forward, Thai chef Ian Chalermkittichai, formerly of the wildly trendy Kittichai, is working on a new restaurant in the city.
Tea party in New York
If 2010 was about coffee, this is going to be the year of tea. New Yorkers are seeking out teas that are custom-blended and organic, and new tea places are happy to accommodate. Newcomers include Bellocq Tea, a British tea house specializing in handcrafted tea; Harney and Sons, which recently opened in SoHo; and Jacques Doassans’ The Tea Set, which carefully sources individual teas and custom-blends them with a team of tea sommeliers.
The success of multi-course tasting menus at pint-sized restaurants — e.g. Torrisi’s eight-course meal, 17-course meals at Momofuku Ko, and the chef’s table at Brooklyn Fare — means others will follow suit. Case in point: Jesse Schenker of Recette is launching “Mondays with Jesse,” a monthly 10-course tasting.
Chefs to watch in NYC this year
Dave Santos: Formerly of Five and Diamonds, he will head up the kitchen in the Hotel Griffou.
Nick Morgenstern: He helped put Brooklyn cuisine on the map at General Greene; now he’s at Goat Town in the East Village.
Nick Curtin: Formerly of Noma of Copenhagen, he will head up the kitchen at Compose in Tribeca.
Amorette Casaus: This chef is garnering accolades at midtown wine bar and restaurant Ardesia.
Wolfgang Ban and Eduard Fraeunder: The award-winning pair behind Seasonal opened downtown resto Edi & the Wolf.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Nick Curtin formerly worked at NoMi in Chicago.