More and more often, a basket of bread on the table isn’t just a token gesture. As more restaurants focus on carefully thought out menus, bread many no longer be a freebee in 2013. New York restaurant Back Forty West offers a Parker House loaf with house-smoked butter that serves three to four people as an appetizer. And that’s a conscious decision -- as Shanna Pacifico, the restaurant’s executive chef puts it: “It’s not just a slice. It’s a snack, it’s a dish, it’s something we’ve thought about.”
At Cleveland’s Greenhouse Tavern, the menu’s bread board (pictured) includes restaurant-made challah and boules, as well as bread sourced from local bakery On the Rise, served with a changing selection of spreads made in-house that include jams, flavored fats, cheeses and yogurts, in addition to house-made spice crackers.
And, in some cases where bread may still be complimentary, there’s a push to ensure that the offerings reflect the caliber of a restaurant’s menu, like at Halcyon in Charlotte, North Carolina, where baskets come with house-made rolls and breads of a variety of types, often crafted with local flours.