Whole grains, ancient grains and various pastas and corn-based side dishes create satisfying menu specialties to complement seasonal ingredients. According to the Whole Grains Council and the Oldways 2015 Whole Grains Consumer Insight Survey, the most popular whole grains are whole wheat (55% named it as their favorite), oats (47%), brown rice (41%) and corn (37%). In addition, 86 percent of consumers surveyed said they choose whole grains for their health.
In addition to whole wheat, oats, brown rice and corn, quinoa and farro are making menu inroads. In Restaurant Hospitality’s recipe database, the Quinoa Power Bowl from First Watch remains one of the most popular recipes. At mk in Chicago, where weekly bistro suppers (three-course family-style menus for $30 per person) are available in the bar and lounge, recent choices included quinoa fritters with asparagus, zucchini and red pepper puree. Among the rustic American menu offerings at Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar at Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas is the Harvest Quinoa Salad, a seasonal offering. It features a mélange of chickpeas, apples, Gouda and pumpkin seeds.
Farro, too, is incorporated into a wide variety of Mediterranean-inspired recipes. For example, at Landmarc, serving French and Italian bistro fare in NYC, menu items include farro with roasted seasonal vegetables. In Las Vegas at Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar, osso buco is simmered in a Barolo veal sauce and served with farro. Meanwhile, Juliet Ristorante in Austin features foods inspired by the regions of Italy, including Texas Quail al Forno, served with farro, broccolini, prosciutto and fig mostarda.