Rooting for the Veggies
Platter up with these picture-perfect offerings
In a plant-based world, vegetables have become the unabashed stars of Instagram’s pixelated heaven for foodies, flaunting nature’s best hues, shapes and textures. So, it was only a matter of time before the previously modest crudité platter flexed its sinewy muscle to become a spectacle on par with a mile-high seafood tower or a flaming bananas Foster. We’ll show you how to leverage the raw, and sometimes roasted, appeal of this sustainable, healthy trend that’s taking root everywhere.
As operators revealed in a recent Datassential survey, the crudité platter is an ideal way to show off the pure quality of products with a minimum of prep time and maximum of shareability. Others noted the benefits of highlighting their commitment to using local, seasonal produce. Most important, almost 50 percent considered the crudité platter a long-term trend, buoyed by an equally large and growing number of consumers, led by the under-30 diner, who report their eagerness to try it at a restaurant.
It’s a lesson applied with verve at Clever Rabbit in Chicago’s millennial-rich Wicker Park neighborhood, where young and trendy vegetarians/flexitarians don’t think twice about spending $28 on a generously stocked platter of fresh and pickled vegetables with edamame hummus, poblano cheese and herb ranch dip.
At the Wheelhouse in Dallas, the crudité is priced at a more reasonable $15, and is a popular pick throughout the year, featuring everything from breakfast radishes to red and green little gem lettuce, served with homemade green goddess dressing and hummus.
You may not find details like these written out on many menus, because as a “trendologist,” Mike Kostyo points out, labeling them simply as “crudite” keeps it nimble, allowing the flexibility to change veggies with the harvest season. And sometimes, words aren’t enough to describe the breathtaking scope of carefully crafted, perfectly plated crudité. It’s about images that leap off the Instagram feed to grab the full attention of prospective customers. We’ll show you how to start styling and build the bountiful, beautiful platters you’ll find in our online guide at rfsdelivers.com/restaurant-inc—with tips and tricks from our team of Reinhart experts.
Crudite platters also provide an opportunity to experiment fearlessly with flavorful dips and spreads that may just be emerging from the wings.
Bagna cauda, an Italian-inspired blend of olive oil, melted butter, chopped anchovies and garlic, is slow cooked into an umami-rich dip.
Try this: serve with grilled broccoli on bruschetta.
Labneh, a versatile, Middle Eastern staple also known as yogurt cheese, is made by straining full-fat Greek yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined colander over a bowl for a few days. The resulting salty tang is already a palate pleaser, but it’s incredibly easy to pump it up by adding a few drops of olive oil here, a handful of fresh herbs there and a shake of za’atar throughout.
Try this: Serve with roasted beets or eggplant (with a touch of molasses), fried zucchini or fresh ripe tomatoes.