Restaurants promote ‘affordable luxuries’ for holidays

Published on
December 22, 2009

Highlighting luxurious but affordable seafood items such as American lobster is the theme for U.S. restaurants’ holiday seafood promotions this year.

“This season seems to be all about affordable luxuries, such as lobster in a rich sauce; comfort food dishes that feature shrimp, crab or lobster, and fillets of fish encrusted in flavorful cheeses, nuts or breading,” said Aaron Jourden, associate editor for Chicago foodservice research and consulting firm Technomic.

For example, steakhouse chain Smith & Wollensky is offering a few lobster entrées on its New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day menus. Entrées include filet mignon with lobster and lobster pot pie.

“The [pot pie] is a pretty interesting item, as it pairs lobster, an indulgence, with pot pie, which is more of a comfort food that’s becoming quite trendy at high-end restaurants,” said Jourden.

Tampa, Fla.-based Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is promoting two lobster-and-seafood specials for the new year, from 31 December through 2 January. One features a 1.5-pound Maine lobster, snow crab claws, jumbo shrimp, black mussels and littleneck clams, served with jumbo lump crab baked in a pastry shell. The entrées retail for USD 69.95 (EUR 48.92). Another special is an American Wagyu (a breed of cattle) filet and a coldwater Australian lobster tail for USD 75.95 (EUR 55.92).

Consumers continue to seek more value for their dollar, even while celebrating the holidays at a restaurant, said Jourden.

For example, Lexington, Mass.-based Naked Fish is offering a special New Year’s Eve menu for USD 20.10 (EUR 14.06) per person. Guests receive an appetizer and a salad and choose from entrées including Coconut Haddock with Orange Rum Cream Sauce, Sesame-Encrusted Mahimahi and Parmesan-Encrusted Tilapia.

“This meal is a great value and showcases some of Naked Fish’s signature seafood preparations,” said Jourden.

Quick-service chain Baja Fresh Mexican Grill is also highlighting seafood during the holidays with its Shrimp Fiesta promotion. Launched in November, limited-time entrées include Fire-Grilled Shrimp Tacos with beans and rice, Shrimp Ensalada and Baja Shrimp Burrito, all priced at USD 6.99 (EUR 4.89) each.

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