What was good? What sucked? What broke ground? Where did you just have to go and have a meal?
What will influence restaurants from here on out?
Do we care?
Wells does, and did, in a somewhat interesting way.
In his (perhaps penultimate of the decade) piece, 8 Ways Restaurants Have Changed in the Past Decade, he implores others to answer the question.
Recently, I asked Twitter to help make sense of the American restaurant scene, 2010 to 2019.OK all my Zeitgeist-surfing food media friends: What the hell WAS the past decade in restaurants all about? Sum it up so I don't have to write a 2000 word essay about it.
He got plenty of answers, and threw in his own thoughts as well. On the often loathed by myself and others small plates, for instance:
At restaurants like Estela and Wildair in New York and hundreds of others across the country, the new paradigm meant that it could be hard to tell whether you were in a wine bar, a tapas bar, some other kind of bar or even that antiquated institution known as the restaurant.
A multiplicity of plates eliminated “entree fatigue,” the condition of growing bored after just a few bites of a massive pork chop; suddenly, you never had to move past the appetizers. Small plates were supposed to encourage sharing, too, although some kitchens seemed to forget that as they carefully arranged three anchovies on a dish that was going to be enjoyed by four people.
Yet somehow, as this fashion became mainstream almost everywhere, servers still felt they needed to waitsplain the concept.
Nos. 7 & 8 are good too: "7. The future looked grim. 8. And yet, everybody agreed that there are good restaurants almost everywhere."
And now I'll go one further and also ask what changed about the way you cook and eat at home?
Some people began cooking more, some less. Some went keto, some went vegan. You know, that sort of thing.
Me - I started using a steam-injected countertop oven for the first time in my life, and it has changed how I cook at home. Sous vide, though these day I use it less and less. More beans; thanks, Rancho Gordo. Stopped trying to bake breads at home (exceptions would be focaccia and pizza). Bread baking is a pain in the ass, and there's really good bread available to buy, so really, why bother? Started drinking wine more than cocktails. Tried Fresh Direct - once, and while it may certainly come in handy down the road, not my cup of tea. Have never used a delivery app (Grub Hub, et al.).