The Emerging Trend of Casualization

Photo: The Bar Room at THE MODERN. Union Square Hospitality Group’s flagship restaurant in New York City is embracing the latest trends in casual but upscale dining. (Jason Perlow)

“I don’t really like to eat that way anymore.” It’s a familiar refrain I hear from friends and colleagues about the multicourse tasting menus. It seems as if the impressive, high-style restaurant is going the way of the ’50s diner, or maybe the ’50s diner is being reinterpreted. I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately — New York, Kansas City, Seattle — and I’ve noticed an emerging trend of casualization. I don’t think the tasting menu and fine dining is becoming obsolete, but fine dining has loosened up in the last decade. In San Francisco, this casual trend has been evident for some time … These trends reflect a casualization of our society, and an attempt to add unexpected surprises to the dining experience. It used to be the quality of surroundings was always reflected on the plates; now it seems we’re moving to a mix-and-match approach, which can be both fun and confusing.

Do you find it either fun or confusing? I do, however have to concur with Michael Bauer’s point of view … and you?

The Downscaling of Haute Cuisine (SFGate)

reported by Melissa Goodman 

2 Responses to The Emerging Trend of Casualization

  1. fiat lux says:

    What I think people don’t like is that many restaurants charge a premium for their tasting menu, and there’s not a clear perception that the additional cost is “worth it”.

    Personally I love a good tasting menu.

  2. I enjoyed a tasting menu for about $125 at Manresa in Los Gatos, California, and felt that it was well worth the expense … about a year after that, I had a tasting menu at our local Buckhead, Atlanta, Ritz-Carlton and was considerably less pleased … none too certain as to why the discrepancy … the prices were the same and the variety was interesting in both meals …

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