Article: Menu Insights -- February 2008
Think PinkThe restaurant menu is seeing pink! According to Mintel Menu Insights, pink ingredients are appearing in restaurant menus across dining segments, menu items and beverages. The most prominent pink ingredient on the menu is pink grapefruit. Clio restaurant uses pink grapefruit to brighten its Extra Virgin Olive Oil Poached Wild King Salmon with kohlrabi, pink grapefruit and white asparagus. Trattoria Dopo Teatro incorporates pink grapefruit in its light lunch Insalata di Aragosta, made with chunks of boiled lobster, arugula, diced avocado, pink grapefruit and cherry tomatoes.
Pink peppercorns, pink radishes and pink-eyed peas are other ingredients turning the menu pink. However, pink peppercorns are the most promising pink trendsetters. Chefs are using the sweet, peppery berries to spice up their dessert menus. Chef Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger created Pineapple Churros, which are accented with a spicy combination of Thai bird ganache, pink-pineapple salsa and chai tea ice cream.
You cannot think pink without thinking about classic pink lemonade. While the majority of restaurants that serve pink lemonade serve it straight up, some are using pink lemonade to create sweet and pretty cocktails and mocktails. Dave and Buster’s mixes Stoli Razberi, DeKuyper Razzmatazz, pink lemonade and lime juice in its Mo-Tini. O’Charley’s uses pink lemonade in its Strawberry Mint Lemonade Chiller mocktail made with a refreshing mix of shaved ice and pink lemonade.
Leveraging LemongrassLemongrass is becoming more evident on the restaurant menu, due to the overwhelming popularity of Asian cuisine. According to Mintel Menu Insights, the use of lemongrass has grown by 35% since January 2006. Lemongrass can be found brightening soups, seafood, pasta, desserts and beverages.
Seafood is the most popular application for lemongrass. Catch 35 serves Steamed Blue Hill Bay Mussels with a garlic, herb and white wine or lemongrass sauce. Anzu created an Italian-Asian fusion dish of Asian Cioppino made with shrimp, scallops, mussels and fin fish in a lemongrass, tomato and garlic jus.
The fun really comes out when chefs experiment with lemongrass in desserts and beverages. Oysters serves a lemongrass cocktail they call Nuretedu. Nuretedu is a mixture of Martin Miller gin, mint, yuzu, lemongrass, simple syrup and ginger ale. Rover’s is creative in its offering of a simple lemongrass dry soda. Aureole NY takes lemongrass to a new level in its Chocolate Dipped Coconut Parfait made with vanilla-roasted pineapple, lemongrass ice cream and lime essence.
For more information, visit www.menuinsights.com or contact Mintel International at 312-932-0600. Mintel Menu Insights tracks menu trends and innovations from the 350 largest chain restaurants and 150 independent restaurants, also featuring the nation’s top 50 chefs.