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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Restaurants offer more low-carb fare

DETROIT – As Burger King promotes bunless burgers and Subway hawks low-carb sandwich wraps, some upscale restaurants are pouring on the cream and perfecting flourless batter in their own appeal to those on Atkins-style diets.
The Rattlesnake Club, one of Detroit’s most fashionable restaurants, added a low-carb menu about a year ago. Another local hot spot, Opus One, added nine low-carb entrees to its lunch menu last fall.
”It’s because, quite frankly, I eat that way,” said Opus One co-owner James Kokas.
His low-carb menu is a fairly simple substitution process: Hold the croutons on the chicken caesar salad and serve the meat with a barnaise sauce, consisting primarily of butter and egg yolks.
In emphasizing protein over starch, many high-end restaurateurs say they are simply following their own changing preferences.
Rattlesnake Club chef-owner Jimmy Schmidt says he has long avoided refined carbohydrates like white flour, white rice and refined sugar in his own diet, and he tries to keep those ingredients to a minimum in the Rattlesnake’s overall menu.
About a year ago, he took it a step farther with a separate low-carb menu, which offers three choices each for appetizer, entree and dessert, as well as two salad choices. Schmidt estimates it accounts for 20 percent to 30 percent of his Detroit sales and up to 50 percent at the other Rattlesnake Club in Coachella, Calif.
Customers ”are thrilled because they don’t have to say, ‘Well, I’d really like the tenderloin of beef, but I don’t want the potatoes,”’ Schmidt said.
”This simplifies it.”
From Malpeque oysters in champagne (net carbs: 3 grams) to the ”gingered pumpkin creme brulee martini” (also 3 grams), the Rattlesnake’s low-carb menu doesn’t sound like diet fare. A full four-course low-carb meal costs $69.
While there is still much debate about the potential benefits or dangers of low-carb diets in the medical community, the trend shows no sign of waning. About 10 million people, or 3.6 percent of the population, were on a regimented low-carb diet as of September, according to the market research company NPD Group.
Low-carb food has always been available in restaurants. Ordering steak instead of pasta is an obvious choice, so many of the recent changes have just been a matter of marketing.

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