The terms "sustainable," "local," and "seasonal" have become as ubiquitous on local menus as those annoying posters for Tito's Handmade Vodka I see in every bar lately. Do chefs and restaurateurs really think they're fooling us? They must. It's unfortunate too, because all of this name-checking and farmer-worshipping - while noble - really diminishes the hard work of the restaurants that have been sticking to this mantra long before it became fashionable.
My big question is: at what point can a restaurant claim it has a "sustainable" philosophy? Should all of the seafood be responsibly harvested? If you say you work with local, seasonal produce, does that mean it's o.k. to have tomatoes and asparagus on your winter menu? These are always the kinds of things that stick in my craw.