John's forays into menu analysis have sparked my own curiosity. While looking through various options for Restaurant Week, I visited several of the venues' websites to examine their offerings. One of the first things that came to mind was a recent post on Presentation Zen about typography, a ubiquitous and often overlooked aspect of presentations. The top restaurants generally showed restraint in their menu design, with a limited color and font scheme coupled with a fearless use of white-space. For comparison, I also checked out some totally different dining establishments, with different economic considerations. The contrast between places like L'Espalier and Rialto, as opposed to The Cheesecake Factory and Taco Bell was quite striking (see here for another example). I realize that my small sample size does not come close to any type of systematic data analysis, but it did make me think more seriously about menu design, as well as the use of graphic design in my own presentations.
At the end, I decided to have a little fun, and made a hypothetical menu (inspired by this):