Many appealing restaurants opened in 2018; many tired, irritating, widespread trends and gimmicks arrived, too. Here are ten developments that your weary critic hopes not to see more of in 2019.
Insufferable sushi bros
New York’s explosion of discreet luxury sushi joints is troubling enough, but the pervasive presence of upmarket salarymen at every counter, talking loudly about their overpriced watches and collections of trophy wines, might be the final deal-breaker.
“Dead plant” design
Fauna walls and plant boxes refresh any décor, but gardens need tending, and we’ve noticed, lately, that this admirable approach to design often results in dining rooms filled with many, um, tired-looking plants.
Little gem lettuce
The nutritious, leafy “little gem salad” is a wonderful thing in moderation, but like the similarly ubiquitous fluke crudo, it loses some of its novelty when you see it on every other menu in town.
Of course we love pasta, but how many endlessly proliferating (and, yes, pricey) styles of strangozzi, “pinwheel lasagna,” and sparsely sauced bucatini can one noodle-stuffed critic endure?
Oversized dining counters
We’ve long advocated the joys of a quiet, solitary dinner at a restaurant’s bar, but when said bars are beginning to grow as long and crowded as fashion runways around town, and threatening to overtake entire dining rooms, this time-honored New York tradition loses its intimacy and its allure.
Obscure dining neighborhoods
Where the hell is Two Bridges, anyway, and why do so many restaurants open there?
Wagyu snobs and their $100 sandos
Whenever a restaurant trots out a signed “certificate of authenticity,” you know you’re overpaying, and by the way, what the hell does “A5” mean, anyway? Also, why does it seem that the more you pay for your overhyped Wagyu “sando,” (yes, we’re tired of the word) the more likely it is to taste like microwaved fatty tuna?
Overpriced sandwiches in general
Thanks, possibly, to the nefarious Wagyu sando-crazed, we’ve noticed that the price of a simple sandwich has been inching up around the city. Platt’s first law of overpriced sandwiches states that no one should ever have to pay more than the price of a Katz’s pastrami on rye for even the finest messy, overstuffed sandwich. That Katz’s Index — itself not “low” by any means — currently stands at $22.45.
Faux-Japanese cocktail bars
I love authentically Japanese cocktail bars that serve precisely made cocktails and dainty drinking snacks as much as the next boozing sophisticate; I’m not sure we need to have “Tokyo-style” bars on every block in town.
Cured, concentrated fish roe is one of Italy’s great culinary exports — that doesn’t mean it should be shaved over (or used as an excuse to upsell) every carefully articulated bowl of spaghetti in New York.