What we’re seeing:
Tasting menus are hanging around in the upscale segment, but not as they once were. Sure, they’re a great way for chefs to show off their skills, but at the same time diners today are looking to customize and share. So tasting menus are getting abbreviated to four or five dishes. And overall, menus are getting smaller because a tightened menu is more cost-effective—operators don’t have to purchase as many ingredients or train employees on as many recipes.
What they’re saying:
Darren Tristano: Laser-focused menus allow operators to succeed at what they know best. Operators can focus on a select number of ingredients and use them to the best of their ability.
In the kitchen:
• Chicago’s Acadia launched a tasting menu for the autumn season, which will feature scaled menu pricing for the first time. Diners can choose from a 7-course tasting with four canapés during the week or a full 10-course tasting menu on the weekends.
• At FT33, McCallister does a verbal 5-course tasting for $75 and an 11-course tasting by reservation only.