Each week, Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan holds an online chat with readers. They’re not very well-publicized, but the chats themselves are near-perfect encapsulations of the Philly dining scene. Earlier this week, LaBan offered his opinion of what Philly’s next dining trend will be:
Leave it to the Swami to ask for my crystal ball. I don’t think we’re done with some of the trends you’ve already mentioned - especially gastropubs. Our beer culture continues to grow, with the addition of Zot, the new Belgian place on Head House Square, another Monk’s in Fairmount (in the old Tavern on Green), and continued talk of another project from Eulogy. We’ve started to get a taste of the Brazilian churrasco craze, with Fogo and Picanha, but another one of those is in the works. Wine bars continue to pop up from Center City to Malvern (where Cosimo has an impressive list of some uncommonly high-end bottles hooked-up to an Oz system). We’re beginning to master small plates, so expect more refinement there. But more than anything, our fine-dining options, no matter the flavor, are becoming more casual every year. I’ll be curious to see how long many of our more starched fine-dining palaces can continue to thrive without making some concessions to that trend.
For our money, LaBan’s predictions are (mostly) spot-on. One thing we also want to keep our eye on is North Broad Street, post-Osteria. The opening of such a high-end restaurant in an area that was considered marginal only two years ago is big news; we’d be genuinely surprised if more did not open over the next two years. Now if they’d only just renovate the Divine Lorraine Hotel already.
Chat With Craig LaBan [Philly.com]