From the looks of all the new items launching on menus this spring, restaurants seem to be in a race to be first with seasonal specials and limited-time offers. Some operators stepped out of their comfort zones to add ethnic accents to the menu while others expanded on the formats and flavors they do best. And breakfast is a hotbed of activity.
Bowls of bibimbap
Korean rice bowls have debuted for a limited time on the fish-centric menu at select locations of Legal Sea Foods. The one-dish entrees feature a choice of proteins—shrimp, tofu or salmon—with brown rice, shiitake mushrooms, seaweed salad and spinach. Trending Korean ingredients kimchi and gochujang sauce add authenticity.
Thai on comfort
“Global skillet” is the culinary inspiration for Earls Kitchen + Bar, a polished-casual Canadian chain with seven U.S. locations. New on the menu at the Chicago outpost is Thai Tomato Coconut Soup, a mashup of an American favorite with Thai accents. The smooth soup base is contrasted with chunks of vegetables, crispy fried chickpeas and a swirl of creamy coconut milk.
There’s a seasonal breakfast sandwich on the menu at fast casual Wildflower Bread Company in Scottsdale, Ariz., reminiscent of corned beef hash but with more distinctive textures and flavors. Slices of corned beef brisket, a crisp cheesy potato cake, scrambled eggs, Swiss cheese and grainy mustard aioli are layered on a brioche roll. Serving the potatoes between the bread instead of on the side differentiates this breakfast sandwich from the crowd.
The Grand Slam reinvented
Moneygun, a new bar in Chicago helmed by the Longman & Eagle restaurant team, offers its take on breakfast-for-dinner, riffing on Denny’s popular Grand Slam. Its Foie Gras Grand Slam pairs silver dollar-size buttermilk pancakes (made according to Martha Stewart’s recipe, the bartender says) with griddled foie gras, candied bacon powder, maple-braised apples and whipped eggs served in an egg shell. With a 2-ounce slab of foie gras, Moneygun’s elevated version goes for $18 compared to Denny’s at $6.79; a 4-ounce foie gras portion sets you back $38.
Alton Brown’s LTO
Also jumping on the breakfast bandwagon is Food Network host Alton Brown. He teamed up with LA-based Umami Burger to create a limited-time breakfast burger. The Alton Burger features a beef patty blended with bacon lardons and topped with cheddar cheese, smashed tater tots, a fried egg, miso-maple bacon, fried sage leaves and housemade coffee ketchup.
A tall shortcake
Back for its seasonal appearance at Ted’s Montana Grill is Ted’s Strawberry Shortcake. The towering dessert, available through the spring and summer months, is built with fresh-baked sweet drop biscuits, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, fresh strawberries and strawberry sauce.
The next cronut?
The latest hybrid pastry is the brainchild of famed pastry chef Francois Payard. Known for his delicate macarons that are a signature of Payard Patisserie & Bistro and other New York City outlets, the chef created the Macaronut, two rainbow-hued macarons punched with holes and sandwiched with pastry cream in the middle. The first Macaronut flavor on the menu: strawberries and cream.