Fine Dining can mean a lot of things. It could be high quality food, exquisite wines, and an atmosphere that are classy and formal. For many people though, fine dining means casual dining or cuisine that is prepared without too much attention to details. This casual or informal style of dining is very popular today especially in places like California and Las Vegas. In this article, we will explore some aspects of fine dining that are not usually seen in fine dining restaurants.
Galarza says she doesn’t judge a restaurant by its decor. “It’s more important how you set the table and organize your things. In fine dining, the only factor that matters is the quality of service you get. If the waiter is attentive and courteous, that’s the only thing that really counts. Otherwise, diners would quickly tire of waiting for their food to be served.”
Some diners don’t really care about the decor at all. As a matter of fact, most modern restaurants have open kitchens where visitors can order anything they want from around the globe. A restaurant with a casual and simple atmosphere may not be welcoming to the new generation of gourmets looking for a hip and happening places to eat. “I grew up eating traditional Mexican food at home, so I’ve been accustomed to the ambiance in Mexican restaurants as well as American ones,” says David Boucher, who was raised in New York City. “I don’t really pay attention to the decor or the atmosphere, because it doesn’t really matter to me.”
This may not be the case with young people, however, who have grown up with the notion of getting the most out of every dollar. “There is definitely a trend among younger diners toward organic and local foods,” notes Karen Lewis, owner of Nova Cafe in Manhattan. “Diners want to know more about the farming process and where their food comes from. For some it’s the idea of paying more for better food.” This attitude toward the environment and the sourcing of ingredients is also common among up-and-coming fine dining restaurants that have recently expanded or are creating food trucks.
There is also a trend toward casual dining restaurants that have added wine bars to their menus. In an era when most people associate alcohol with night clubs, a casual dining restaurant may opt for a wine bar to add a sophisticated touch to its atmosphere. The result is a perfect balance of a cocktail and a great meal. Many of these restaurants will also offer a special menu just for wine-tasting customers. This allows diners to try new wines without having to make a commitment to drinking them while they dine.
Another aspect of the fine dining restaurant industry that has evolved recently is American cuisine, which is influenced by European and Asian cuisines. chefs and food truck chefs have been introduced to traditional dishes and introduced them to a broader audience. American chefs are starting to gain more prominence and many chefs who used to be working in small restaurants and gourmet markets are starting to open restaurants that specialize in ethnic or regional cuisines. For example, Bill Wong, a chef and owner of five restaurants in Los Angeles says, “We have always made American food but now people are more excited to try new things like regional foods from all over the United States and even from all over the world.”
Because of the growing popularity of casual dining establishments, there has been a rise in food truck catering to casual diets as well. As diners become more accustomed to ditching their heavy entrees for lighter ones, the fine dining restaurant industry will continue to expand as it always has. This means that more diners than ever will start to enjoy gourmet cooking in restaurants that don’t necessarily specialize in it. “What is great about eating at a restaurant that serves good food and great food is that you can have a full plate and enjoy it while you’re walking out the door after a long day at work,” says Jennifer Geller of Stonebake, California.
“When diners come to my restaurant they know that they’re going to have a full plate to eat and that’s a big part of what I set out to do,” says Patrick Swayze of Manhattan Beach, California. The rise of casual dining and Prix fixe menus has been successful for both restaurant owners and diners. “Diners are becoming more demanding but the quality of the food has not changed,” says Swayze. The rise in popularity of a fine dining establishment with a casual menu, paired with a healthy menu of Mediterranean and ethnic foods has also helped to fuel the rise of this type of restaurant.