And frankly, it still might be.
So it occurred to me: what about a tartare? Tall food might be over, but the tartare remains standing nonetheless. After noticing that customers continuously asked for halal food, they decided to add a chicken, gyro meat, and rice option to their cart with red and white sauces that could be added for extra flavor. Cab drivers from all over Manhattan began traveling to Midtown just to have The Halal Guys' chicken over rice served with plenty of white sauce a mayonnaise-based sauce similar to tzatziki and spicy red sauce made with peppers. Today, tourists and New Yorkers alike line up for entire city blocks to have the grilled chicken and spiced rice topped with The Halal Guys' famous white and red sauce.
Since their inception, The Halal Guys have also begun franchising quick-serve locations around the country, making them one of the most successful food carts in history. Year: Restaurant: P. When he told his close friend, professional food consultant, and Asian-food royalty Philip Chiang his mother Cecilia, often described as the Julia Child of Chinese food, ran the Mandarin Restaurant in San Francisco about his problem, they did the logical thing and opened up their own Chinese restaurant in a Scottsdale strip mall.
Using Chiang's culinary chops, his mother's recipes, and Fleming's American business savvy, the restaurant was almost an immediate success, bringing a higher-end, Westernized Chinese-food experience to a mainstream audience. Their signature lettuce wrap appetizer, a traditional recipe perfected by Cecilia complete with spicy, tangy chicken, is still the highlight of the menu, and indicative of their overall mission to expose a wider swath of America to the intricacies of traditional Asian cooking in a comfortable setting.
That super-secret! Chang's chief marketing officer, Dwayne Chambers, who also notes that other restaurant concepts now offer versions of the dish. Beyond just bringing an idiosyncratic Eastern appetizer to American tables, it proved that lettuce, in lieu of bread, is not just a healthier option, but can be decidedly delicious in its own right. Year: Restaurant: Chipotle Denver, Colorado How it happened: In '93, classically trained chef Steve Ells wanted to open a fine dining restaurant in Denver, Colorado, but lacked the funds. So he opened Chipotle -- a quick-serve, bare-bones burrito joint -- as a means to make some capital to work toward his eventual goal.
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Instead, he struck guacamole-laced gold and set the fast-casual mold with a Tex-Mex chain focused on simple, high-quality ingredients that can be infinitely customizable over 60, possible variations, according to communications director for Chipotle, Chris Arnold and readily available in minutes. There are millions of them in the world, but no two are the same. People fill them up with what they want to listen to, and in a way, it becomes their own, something unique," said Arnold.
Chains based around the Chipotle template are so abundant, the phrase "the Chipotle of BLANK" has become shorthand for restaurant startups looking to jump into the space and follow the burrito behemoth's business model. Granger added an avocado toast to his menu of easy and casual breakfast dishes at his restaurant and even added a smashed avocado toast with cilantro and lime to his cookbook, Sydney Food.
His menu is recognized as the first appearance of the dish in the world and his cookbook the first appearance of it in print. It was just in time for the health food craze that would shape restaurants. Why it's important: Can you a remember a world before avocado toast? The simple, green dish is now a staple breakfast and brunch item on many continents around the world. The dish can be found in the average coffee shop to influential breakfast spots like Sqirl in LA. A mentee of Granger and the founder of Sqirl, chef Jessica Koslow added her own version of the avocado toast to her menu topped with changing seasonal ingredients.
And in case you needed more proof that avocado toast is everywhere, look no further than this cookbook dedicated solely to the dish. Year: Restaurant: St. John London, England How it happened: Chef Fergus Henderson is known as one of the founding fathers of the nose-to-tail movement that is, using up every last bit of the animal.
Since St. But it was too early to open another restaurant. The dish was an instant hit. Why it's important: Matsuhisa may have been already been a great sushi chef, but Nobu -- with its club atmosphere and celebrity sightings paired with dishes like the miso black cod -- helped propel him to becoming a household name.
The dish helped further what Japanese cooking could look like in America, with more and more chefs learning to embrace ingredients like miso. Year: Restaurant: The French Laundry Yountville, California How it happened: When a then-relatively unknown chef named Thomas Keller took over a Napa Valley farmhouse in and morphed it into a tasting menu-only restaurant, he did so with a wink and a smile, serving playfully named tiny courses like Coffee and Doughnuts cinnamon-sugar donuts served with cappuccino custard topped with foamed milk and a stunning opener of Oysters and Pearls, pearl tapioca sabayon with Island Creek oysters and white sturgeon caviar.
As you get older those moments become rarer. The most common theory surrounding their origin credits a chef outside of Shanghai, who in wanted to make a different kind of dumpling, one plump with hot soup and pork. It steadily garnered fame, gaining popularity in Taipei with the opening of Din Tai Fung, now arguably the planet's premier soup dumpling destination. Now there are dyed versions, versions wiggling with matzo ball soup, and even mammoth ones the size of a softball , which can only be attacked with a straw and a fork.
Regardless of which route you go, you can thank Joe's for importing these bursting bundles of liquid magic Stateside. Year: Restaurant: Magnolia Bakery New York, New York How it happened: Whether you blame it on Sex and the City or their undeniable cuteness factor, Magnolia cupcakes were the "it" dessert at the turn of the century: the perfect individual portion of sweet cake crowned with an even sweeter, pastel swirl of frosting.
Back in , partners Allysa Torey and Jennifer Appel had extra batter after baking a cake and rather than waste it, poured the remaining cake into muffin tin molds, and voila: cupcakes. Not everyone can buy Manolo Blahniks, but everyone can afford a cupcake. Year: Restaurant: The Slanted Door San Francisco, California How it happened: Before it was the sleek, well-oiled Ferry Building machine it is now, and before the Mission was overrun with hipsters and tech millionaires, The Slanted Door was a postage stamp of a restaurant opened in an old kitchen cabinet store. There, chef Charles Phan, who was born in Vietnam, was taking the home-style dishes of his homeland and marrying them with Northern California ingredients.
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His Shaking Beef, so named for the shaking of the pan when preparing it, was and is the perfect example: Instead of the flank steak used in Vietnam, Phan chose Niman Ranch filet. To make it, cubes of filet are seared along with garlic and onions in a soy and fish sauce vinaigrette, then served with a lime-spiked salt-and-pepper dipping sauce. Despite a flashier venue, the dish is still on the menu to this day.
Since then, the approach is found in cuisines ranging from Indian to Thai, but back in , it was as revolutionary as waiting for a table in the Mission. This venture, with then-new partner Joe Bastianich, was packed with grander intentions -- and even more rebellious style. But the unconventional touches made it shine: the one-two punch of garlic and red onion a uniquely Batali twist. The result? The DB Burger: a sirloin patty stuffed with tender short ribs braised in red wine, plus foie gras, a mirepoix of root vegetables, and preserved black truffle. Add to that oven roasted tomato confit, fresh tomato, red onions, and frisee on a homemade toasted Parmesan and poppy seed bun smeared with horseradish.
It was a new kind of comfort food. The dish caused other restaurateurs, and also home cooks, to think about using off cuts, while reviving the art of braising. It became so popular that in his book, Craft of Cooking , Colicchio said he was going through pounds of short ribs a week. Thanks to him, too, the once-cheap cut is not so cheap anymore. The couple has also inspired a generation of bakers who put the same level of care into a croissant or a loaf of bread as chefs do into a perfectly cooked steak.
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Year: Restaurant: Ottolenghi London, England How it happened: When chef Yotam Ottolenghi opened his namesake delicatessen in London, he went out of his way to highlight vegetables -- combining ingredients from his Israeli roots combined with local British produce. One of the early standouts on the menu was roasted eggplant salad, roasted hard to create a char on the skin and flesh, and then topped with a yogurt sauce and a flourish of pomegranate seeds.
The dish was a pared-down reflection of his upbringing in Jerusalem, and summers spent in Italy, where vegetables, not meat, was the star of the dish. Londoners flocked to the deli to try vegetable-forward dishes that combined textures, colors and Middle Eastern flavors in ways the city had not seen before. Ottolenghi became so synonymous with this new way of thinking about vegetables that he was recruited by The Guardian in to write a column called "The New Vegetarian" where he shared recipes from his restaurants.
He has since expanded his Ottolenghi empire to include several cookbooks, a full-service restaurant, and five delis across London. Even more difficult to imagine? A doughnut landscape where the majority of shops didn't carry a bacon maple bar. They also debuted before the peak of the bacon obsession of the early aughts. But the bacon maple bar itself led to a boom of bacon maple everything. He reduced the breakfast dish to its barest elements -- a schmear of poached yolk, a deep-fried, muffin-crumb-crusted hollandaise bound with hydrocolloids once unheard of in a restaurant kitchen, a glassine strip of Canadian bacon -- and it did nothing but blow minds.
Once he and his team figured out how to fry it without scrambling the eggs, they moved on to other emulsified sauces. For example, plums, sealed in a plastic bag with salt get the lacto-fermented treatment in this Noma fermentation video. It's just incredibly delicious. Agenda-setting chefs are getting in on the action. David Chang has his own fermentation lab , while Jessica Koslow of Sqirl makes lacto-fermented hot sauce for her famous grain bowls.
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This method of pickling is now found on menus across the country. Year: Restaurant: Momofuku Noodle Bar New York, New York How it happened: David Chang is arguably one of the most famous chefs alive today, but back in , he was a first-time restaurateur trying to make his mark on New York City with a playful approach to Asian cooking.
One of the early standouts from his menu at Noodle Bar in the East Village was a style of pork bun called gua bao , or steamed bao that has long been a staple in Taiwanese food markets. In order to make it his own, Chang had to do some research and testing. He found a steamed bun producer in Brooklyn to produce the soft, chewy, textured buns that are crucial to the dish.
He then tested and perfected a recipe for the pork belly, a recipe that requires the pork to be cured in salt and sugar for 24 hours and then roasted at a slow temperature for a few hours. The pork belly bun is still one of Noodle Bar's most popular dishes to date.
Why it's important: The pork belly bun itself is not new, but the way that Chang used it to create his own brand of food heralded a different era of fine dining techniques applied to simple dishes. The pork is a heritage breed, and it went through months of testing to make sure that it was absolutely right.