5/08/2013 10:43:00 AM

Ask the Austin Zagat Blog: What's New American Food?

A summer fish dish from the Carillon
Eating out in our fair city raises all sorts of burning questions. Is it okay to take a date to a food trailer? Yay or nay on cargo shorts at Uchiko? Then there are the more general questions we’ve always wondered but been too afraid to ask. Are you allowed to eat garnish? Who pays for that extra appetizer? 

That’s where the Austin Zagat blog comes in. Ask us anything your heart desires in the comments section below, and we'll give you our honest opinion.  

This week a reader asked us, What does "New American" food mean?  


Like “fusion,” “local” and “indie rock,” “New American” is one of those terms that gets thrown around a lot but often escapes definition. It’s usually found in upscale, contemporary restaurants that take elements of classic American food (steak, for example), combine them with European techniques or ingredients and add a hint of molecular gastronomy.

New York chef Charlie Palmer says, “It also seems that many chefs use ‘New American’ to allow them to include whatever they like on their menu without being restricted to a certain cuisine or specific technique.”

Zagat’s Kelly Dobson covered the term back in 2011, saying that it’s about fresh ingredients and global influences as well as reinventing old standards. Here in town check out staples like Congress, the Carillon and Barley Swine to try out the cuisine.

Have a restaurant query you need answered? Ask us your questions below in the comments section.

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