Customers who might yawn at a sizzling fajita platter being delivered to a table—so yesterday—might turn their heads to catch one of the new towering presentations coming into vogue in the midmarket. Skewers do the trick, vertically stacking everyday foods often with a variety of other accoutrements for Instagram-worthy delight. Here are four operators using skewered presentations to drop jaws.
The casual-dining chain’s fall Raise the Steaks menu features two towering dishes, both starting with a hash brown-cake base that’s topped with a seasoned and seared filet. The Towering Grilled Shrimp on the Barbie Filet features a skyward skewer of four grilled shrimp atop the filet. The vertical skewer that tops the Towering Beer-Battered Onion Ring Filet keeps a stack of onion rings in place. Both limited-time items start at $15.99.
Meal kit delivery provider Blue Apron uses skewers to convey authentic ethnic presentations. North African-inspired Harissa Chicken Skewers is on the Blue Apron menu this week, and past weeks have highlighted recipes like Chinese BBQ Beef Skewers with garlic gai lan and jasmine rice, and Mediterranean Beef Skewers with roasted shokichi squash and garlic rice. The website designates these dishes as global street foods, crediting skewers for their on-the-go and dippable capabilities.
The online clothing shop’s headquarters in Las Vegas hosted a one-day lunchtime pop-up concept dubbed Get Skewered. Since Daniel Concepcion—executive chef for Compass, Zappos' foodservice provider—believes that “the key to pop-ups is the unexpected,” he decided to focus on build-your-own sliders on skewers. Customers could select a protein, toppings, sauces and a bun to put on a wooden skewer that’s preloaded with a variety of spicy pickled peppers. Guests could also assemble sides like tater tots, fries and onion rings on the skewer for added indulgence as they walked down the assembly line.
Houlihan's and Luke's Lobster
Houlihan’s and Luke’s Lobster prove that skewered fare can also be ultra-premium. The casual-dining chain’s new Lobster Corn Dogs feature lobster tails battered and fried on a stick, and served with spicy beer mustard and green Sriracha sauce. Fast-casual chain Luke’s Lobster takes a similar approach by spotlighting lobster tail on a stick at its grab-and-go Luke’s Tail Cart in the Williamsburg Whole Foods Market in New York City. Lobster tails are split, skewered and grilled to order, and served with a choice of dipping sauce: lemon butter or a seasonal special.