Young and Hungry

Pop-Ups? Food Trucks? What Are D.C.’s Worst Restaurant Trends?

The Village Voice on Friday offers up its list of "Top 10 Worst Contemporary Restaurant Trends." Among them: food in jars ("[s]omehow the act of squishing fruits or vagetables[sic] inside glass containers has become the ultimate hipstro pass-time"), pop-up restaurants ("[w]hat is ze point...?"), food trucks ("[h]ell, even the Gap has one!") and facial hair ("[y]ou can scarcely walk into a restaurant or bar without being assaulted by follicles, all combed and tweaked and waxed and fluffered within an inch of their greasy little lifes").

Somehow cupcakes did not make the list. It would likely take top honors in D.C.

What are your nominations for the District's worst food trends?

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress

  • Stefanie Gans

    small plates. sharing is overrated.

  • Jane

    Cupcakes. Small plates. Foam. Entire pages touting the restaurant's commitment to environmentally friendly xyz. "Upscale" Mexican restaurants.

    America Eats and Graffiato, two relatively new restaurants in town, charge for bread. This had better not become a trend.

  • Dave B

    1) food trucks. food trucks used to be cool because it seemed adventurous. "hey, what is that non-descript shoddy truck over there selling?". they were also kind of functional in that they likely were set up where there werent any other food options. now they are just dumb. they aren't low lost. they are fancy and they park on the street right outside restaurants whose owners have actually invested in the community by occupying a store front. let's just tear down all the buildings and we can have a different mobile neighborhood every day of the week.

    2) cupcakes. what an inferior desert. ice cream: better. cookies: better. brownies: better. water ice: better. pudding: better. cupcakes are maybe better than cotton candy.

  • GoonieGooGoo

    Debating this with my wife while I read the article....I have to agree 100% with the slacker/millenial waiters issue of DC.

    If you are going to do a it well and do it with respect....Don't do it while high on pot or cocaine.

    Also... Don't expect a good tip if you are fiddling on your iPhone checking your facebook or twitter or 4chan feeds while supplying me substandard service and acting like my eating dinner at the restaurant that employs you is so bothersome.

  • David

    Charcuterre, seiously, most of the time you pay $16 for something you can get at Harris Teeter for $4. Some places do it well, but others should leave it alone.

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  • Alex

    Cupcakes. Nothing comes close.

    I also agree with others. I've rarely been blown away by a "tapa". Small plates are generally overprices and underwhelming. Charcuterrie is also underwhelming and over-priced. Don't even get me started on "cheese boards".

    Oh, and frites. For crying out loud! When did every place with any pretense of being somewhat upscale start calling their french fries "frites" and pricing them higher? I was at Poste the other night and someone in our group ordered their "frites". They tasted like slightly soggy french fries from Burger King.

  • Foodie Frank

    The worst trend to plague DC has to be cupcakes. Overpriced, overhyped, overmarketed, underwhelming. The only redeeming thing about them is they make the owner of CakeLove pissy, because he somehow missed out on the cupcake trend even though he had them first.

    DC needs a real dessert shop, like Juliet & Chocolat in Montreal:

  • Foodie Frank

    I think the "Self-Congratulatory Eco Design" reflects the trend for consumers to feel their every action must reflect a cause or state an opinion. SweetGreen wouldn't be nearly as attention whorish with its eco appeal if the people eating there didn't feel like they were making a difference in world with every mediocre salad they purchased. "Look at me! I'm cleaning up the world, one bite of mesclun at a time!"

  • tomaj

    --the small plates thing shows no sign of stopping. appetizers have always been the worst value of the meal, and that's what small plates are. i'm tired of paying $11 for a small plate of food. also: restaurants getting cute with the names, such as calling it "mexican dim sum".

    --taking ethnic/street/common food and pretending it's upscale. ping pong dim sum making dumplings into cocktail hour, and kushi pretending grilled skewers is haute cuisine.

    --top chef people - i don't give a frak about carla hall or spike mendelsohn, and i hate that anything they do gets a story. i don't eat at a place just because the chef was on TV. see what mike isabella is charging? i also won't eat at a place by wolfgang puck or todd english unless they are there cooking, or are at least in town. you can't phone this stuff in.

    --expensive food trucks - i'm real good with food trucks, even some of the frou-frou food they serve. i'm just not good with the $6.50 they charge for a damn melted cheese sandwich. a truck should be cheaper than a restaurant.

    --tapas that are not tapas - tapas are common food, cheap snacks with a cheap glass of wine. boqueria, opening sometime in dupont, has seared lamb for $9 and $12 glasses of wine. estadio has duck breast for $13 and charges normal DC prices for 4.5 oz glasses of wine. that's not what tapas is about.

    --i also echo the earlier charcuterie comment. i don't go to a restaurant and spend $18 for deli meat. i want a composed dish.