Emerging trends in fine dining can be very tricky in a number of ways. For one, simply identifying what those trends are taking place is difficult. In some cases, they can emerge, be the rage for a few months, and then disappear completely. Even more difficult, and more important by far, is accurately identifying which trends deserve to taken seriously and incorporated into a menu and which are flash-in-the-pan fads customers will lose interest in after a month.
That can be particularly true for restaurateurs and their customers outside of the major metropolises. After all, the fine dining dynamic of New York City and the culture of fine dining Boise supports can be quite different.
That’s not to say that Boise is underrepresented by excellent restaurants or even by culinary innovation. Just the opposite, in fact, but smaller markets aren’t as equipped to support a wide collection of high-end, niche restaurants capitalizing on a recent trend. That can make incorporating trends in places like Boise both difficult and risky.
The Trends and the Risks
Indeed, the Treasure Valley can bea somewhat risky place to start a haute cuisine eatery adhering exclusively to a snout-to-tail ethos, with a menu of offal-heavy entrées, or a $500-a-plate experimental molecular gastronomy laboratory. That’s due in part to the absence of a large population of moneyed foodies comparable to the one you’d find in New York, London, or Tokyo. Given the population size alone compared to these much larger cities, a place like Boise necessarily has a smaller selection of fine dining establishments.
Additionally, it’s quite likely that a local gourmand, or group of them, heading to the higher-end downtown Boise restaurants is almost certainly going to have been to the restaurant before. That means they’ve likely already established favorite meals and have come to appreciate a restaurant’s general culinary focus, be it their excellent steak or their phenomenal seafood.
A restaurant heavily focusing on and investing in the trends of the moment, be it some powders and potions or spherification baths, is going to require some changes. And that’s in addition to the time, training, and general rearrangement necessary to get some modernist molecular gastronomy options on the menu. It’s going to require a refocusing of the entrée priorities and virtually certainly going to require dropping some of the current menu items. For a smaller, more closely-knit culinary community like the one found in the Treasure Valley, that’s exactly the sort of restaurant experiment or menu overhaul that could prove fatal, even for an established favorite.
Trends to Chase
That is also not to say that just because it’s risky, it shouldn’t be done. Instead, it’s an assertion that chasing trends for the sake of novelty or transient hype isn’t a good idea. However, if a chef in a community like the greater metropolitan Boise area has developed a passion for molecular gastronomy or locavore snout-to-tail dishes, they should indeed pursue them. Pushing culinary boundaries and comfort zones is the only way incredible new food is found.
Thankfully, a good number of trends can be tried out without a great deal of risk. It’s hard to imagine customer complaints from incorporating bacon into dishes, both sweet and savory, in response to the “bacon mania” that’s been the rage for the past several years. Other trends represent the sort of advancement that can prove a useful tool in a chef’s tool belt but may not warrant a retooling of their entire repertoire.
Sous-vide, for example. There are certainly situations in which food being cooked perfectly evenly, inside and out, comes in handy. But isn’t part of the appeal of something like a steak the fact that it is more cooked on the outside than in? Then there are the trends that some chefs may deem better to sidestep. After all, a menu without foams or a kale and activated charcoal milkshake is likely just fine the way it is.
Chandlers has the distinction of winning Boise’s vote as simply the best restaurant in the Treasure Valley, bar none, repeatedly. Chandlers offers the best steaks in town, including American Wagyu beef cuts, as well as the famous Ten Minute Martini™, the finest seafood Boise offers, and live music for an incomparable atmosphere. Enjoy fresh tuna flown in daily and the most delicious, local ingredients.
Find out for yourself what makes Chandlers so uniquely excellent, at Chandlersboise.com