Retro foods make a menu comeback
Comfort foods with an updated twist gain wide appeal
Everything from vintage cocktails to classic cars from earlier generations is hot once more. For Baby Boomers, there’s an element of nostalgia in retro styles and products, while Millennials’ attraction is more about discovery. Retro foods have also been sweeping menus across the U.S., and they’re no less popular. Essentially comfort foods with a hipster edge, familiar dishes have been reinterpreted, often with a wink and a bit of fun as chefs give them an updated twist.
Uptown bar bites.
Scotch eggs, which are popping up all over on bar menus and appetizer listings, trace their roots to England. A Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg that’s been coated in ground sausage, rolled in bread crumbs and deep fried or baked, though versions that appear on this side of the pond are often more complex. One restaurant offers The Rebel Within, which combines Asiago cheese and green onion with the sausage and a soft-cooked egg, is served on a muffin. Another Italian American Restaurant dishes up savory Porchetta Scotch Egg, accompanied by house-made bacon Sriracha, and a Mediterranean restaurant has its own variation on the theme with the Crispy Hen Egg, which substitutes prosciutto for sausage and adds sherry vinaigrette.
Deviled eggs, American cousins to the Scotch variety, are everywhere too. A chef added Deviled Eggs with Cheddar, bacon and parsley to its appetizers last spring. Another take is Deviled Eggs topped with truffle-chive vinaigrette as a starter and used as a garnish on a signature Steak Salad.
As side dishes go, casseroles don’t get a lot of love, but they are versatile, delicious and suddenly cool. They never really went out of fashion at many restaurants with southern roots. Some restaurants feature a Green Bean Casserole, while another offers Sweet Potato Casserole, and features Hashbrown Casserole as a side-dish option.
A Chicago restaurant specializes in new takes on old standbys, like Ain’t Your Mama’s tuna noodle casserole with fettuccine and artichoke hearts. And in Minneapolis the Tater Tot HauteDish, a deconstructed casserole of short ribs, porcini mushrooms, green beans and house-made potato tots is very popular. The Tater Tots-based dishes, called Hot Tots, layered the potato nuggets on open-faced omelets crowned with cheese, sausage and other ingredients.