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Top indie trends

Top indie trends

Top indie trends

Restaurants in this year’s Top 100 Independents ranking brought in a combined $1.8 billion last year.

Top indie trends

Avocado toast with salmon belly

San Francisco restaurant Cliff House (No. 75) put an upscale twist on the still-popular avocado toast. The seafood-focused concept named its avocado toast with mesquite charred salmon belly its most successful menu addition of 2018.

Girl & the Goat (No. 91) named its wood-fired lamb skewers as its most successful menu addition of 2018. The dish is served with rhubarb relish, cilantro-yuzu vinaigrette and a garlic crunch. The Chicago concept from chef Stephanie Izard has never been shy about its use of lesser-known meats. As its name implies, the restaurant has a full section of the menu devoted to dishes made with goat, including goat empanadas and confit goat belly.

Del Posto (No. 29) offers an eight-course vegan tasting menu for $179. The menu features courses such as grilled lettuces with fennel and cucumber, orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sun-dried tomatoes, whole roasted turnips, zucchini caponata and plum sorbet.

The first item listed in the sandwiches and specialties section of the menu at Franciscan Crab Restaurant (No. 79) happens to be one of the dishes the concept said was among its most popular additions in 2018: the Dungeness crab melt. The restaurant also offers crab enchiladas and a crab fondue.

Last year, Rusty Pelican (No. 49) created some booze-specific promotions. The indie hosted a Negroni Week and held a Macallan tasting dinner, both of which proved successful for the Miami concept.

Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House (No. 73) lists a selection of oysters on the half shell for $3.25 each. The menu breaks down where the different varieties are from and details their taste profiles to help guests select an oyster that fits their preferences.

While many raw preparations include beef carpaccio or a crudo of fish, Gibsons Italia (No. 24) lists an octopus carpaccio on its antipasti menu. The $21 dish includes basil aioli, pickled red and white pearl onions, chive and a sunchoke chip.

Bolognese isn’t just for beef and pork. Listed on its menu as The Best Pasta, the shrimp Bolognese linguine from Paradise Cove Beach Cafe (No. 82) is made with onions, garlic, lemon, tarragon, fennel, red chile flakes, tomatoes and Pernod.

Urban Farmer (No. 100) in Portland, Ore., wants to make sure its guests have as much information about their food as possible. Instead of simply putting “beef tartare” on the menu, the tartare listing specifies that it is grass-fed tenderloin tartare. For its steaks, not only does the menu list the ranch and state each cut was sourced from, but it also lists the animals’ feed. Some descriptions indicate grass-fed, while others list corn-fed or grain-finished.

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