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Single Ingredient restaurants

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I was curious to read a recent article in the NYT about single ingredient restaurants experiencing a trend in New York. It seems that they are mostly quick lunch/comfort food type places.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/nyregion/29onefood.html

I've also read somewhere that the single ingredient restaurant has been singled out (ha ha) as a key culinary trend for 2011.

It sounds like a fun concept and I once had an incredible meal in Tokyo in 2005 in a restaurant that specialised in Tofu dishes - all the more extraordinary since I had heard about, but never tried, the myriad varieties of tofu and the delicious things that can be done with it.

There's also a restaurant in Paris that specialises in apples, which I believe is party financed by a French apple growing association...

Anyway I was wondering whether the single ingredient thing is primarily an American thing, whether it really is a trend, and whether anyone has come across any other restaurants dedicated to a single ingredient elsewhere in the world, whether they dined there, what they thought of the concept and whether it worked?

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There's a restaurant here in Vancouver that focuses on cheese, Au Petit Chavignol. They've been here a few years, though. I've also heard of a small tofu place out in Richmond, but I'm not sure what it's called (it's in Chinese) or where exactly it is.

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Obika is the mozza bar found in several locations in Italy and has opened a branch in NYC, LA, London, Istanbul and Tokyo

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I think single-ingredient restaurants are pretty normal in Japan, where they have dedicated eel restaurants etc. Not that any restaurant truly uses a single ingredient. There's also a taxonomy issue: is a noodle shop a single-ingredient restaurant?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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Do you mean single item, rather than absolutely single ingredient? I am struggling to think how you could make much out of literaly one ingredient!

I can think of a small place in Pune, see picture here, called 'Steamy Affair'. It serves only idli and idli based dishes! It has an astonishing variety actually, though not all of them tasted that good to me.


Edited by Jenni (log)

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Senator Kohl has a stand at the Wisconsin State Fair where you can purchase a glass of milk in one of 4 or 5 flavors... plain is not an option. Does that count?

Dan


"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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First to mind is the frietkot, but if "12 varieties of Mac & Cheese" counts as a single item, then there's a lot more out there.

Under that presumption, pretty much any small phở shop would qualify, as would a lot of ramen places. What about a taqueria? If not, then certainly a birrieria...


True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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Thanks for the replies everyone. Sounds like it's something of a tradition with certain 'ethnic' cuisines and not much of a trend outside of New York. I suppose it would also be tricky to define - I agree that perhaps a 'noodle' restaurant wouldn't count - otherwise by the same token you would also call a pizza joint a 'single ingredient' restaurant. I guess I'm thinking of a place where the chef is passionate about a particular thing, e.g. truffles, and includes that on everything on his/her menu.

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There are truffle restaurants in Paris, and probably other parts of the world, too.

In China, there are duck neck shops, and bullfrog restaurants.

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In Van Nuys, CA, not far from the 99 Ranch Market, there is a Soba noodle restaurant/shop where they sell soba noodles to take home or in containers with a broth for immediate consumption.

I was taken there by a friend when we were down in the valley doing some shopping at Star Restaurant supply, at 99 Ranch and at a meat market also on Sepulveda Blvd., so I don't really remember the exact location.

All I can say is that you get a lot of noodles for not much money. I left nose prints :laugh: on the glass barrier where the noodle maker was performing his "show" and it was worth the cost to see how he did it. At one point I really thought he had more than two hands as I couldn't begin to see how he could handle that huge bundle of noodles with just two!


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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