Actually, that characterization is somewhat unfair; rediscovers would be more accurate, since the Sun-Times remembers eating them growing up in the Midwest, when hearty food was eaten non-ironically. It seems to me that short ribs started showing up on big city menus five and a half years ago, when people really needed comfort food (or maybe I’m just making that up). Since then, short ribs appear to have shown up on any menu where they wouldn’t be a hideous aberration. I did a quick survey of the MenuPages database and found no fewer than sixty-two (!) restaurants in the city which serve short ribs. New York, by comparison, has one hundred fifty-two restaurants with short ribs on the menu, although this works out to a very similar short rib penetration density (I am the type of person to use phrases like “short rib penetration density” in everyday conversation. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to talk to me?)
The article helpfully points out that one reason short ribs are so popular (aside from their inherent deliciousness) is that, like tofu, they absorb flavor profiles really well and can be used by virtually any cuisine. After all, they spent the 80s and 90s hibernating on Korean BBQ menus, and now run the gamut from New American (Magnolia Cafe) to Soul (Edna’s) to Pan-Asian (Aloha Grill) to Mexican (El Cid), and back again (Kagnam). Furthermore, how can anyone not like meat braised in wine? And they’re good for lunch, too: I am eating some kalbi right this very moment.