In last month’s Meat Mail, we mentioned trends guru Gerry Ludwig from Gordon Food Service’s nod to lamb at the Flavor Experience conference in Newport Beach. Gerry threw a spotlight on lamb’s emergence on menus outside of its traditional comfort zone of fine-dining, citing a statistic from our friends at the American Lamb Board and research firm Datassential’s MenuTrends™, he noted that lamb is up in penetration on chain and independent restaurants by over 13 percent over the last 4 years.
In particular, Gerry noted the rise in casual applications for bar foods and pub fare. One of the hottest is lamb ribs, popping up at hot spots like Dusek’s in Chicago and Laurel Hardware in Los Angeles (with Gochugang), and Serpico in Philadelphia (with Japanese eggplant, yogurt and mint); oh, and Ada St in Chicago (with agave glaze and habanero cream).
The other hot item is adorably called “scrumpet” and is a classic UK bar food made of braised lamb shoulder or breast, formed into edible fingers, dusted with panko and fried. Gastropub pioneer Dirk Flanigan created a version for the iconic Green Door Tavern in Chicago with a house sauce that’s a take on horseradish aioli, April Bloomfield serves hers with malt vinegar and fresh mint at the Breslin in NYC, and Cavalier in San Francisco serves it with a dipping sauce of pickled mint and chilies. The general theme seems to be that it’s scrumptious and delicious, any way you serve it!