Odd Duck, Austin, Texas
Javier Nunez, chef Price: $22
At Odd Duck, “odd” is a good thing. How else could you fit fried bologna, goat merguez sausage, mushroom-tahini nachos, shishito sorbet and chicken-fried fish head onto one menu? Odd Duck’s shrimp dish features head-on Gulf shrimp swimmin’ in okra-bacon stew accompanied by corn bread, corn relish and whipped shishito cream. The shrimp is given an especially snappy texture with a baking soda brine, preserving its freshness and natural feel.
SC shrimp with crispy Carolina Gold Rice cake
Sorghum & Salt, Charleston, S.C.
Chefs Tres Jackson and Christian Hunter Price: $16
It really is tough to think about shrimp and not have your mind drift down to Charleston, where, even during hurricane season, Chef Tres Jackson and crew are holding it down. Lots of local ingredients are the focus here, and this dish pays tribute to a few local treasures. The shrimp is succulent as can be, accompanied by a new take on one of the region’s most iconic and historically significant grains: Carolina Gold Rice. Then there’s pimento, heirloom cauliflower and red peas from Sea Island.
GT Fish & Oyster, Chicago
Giuseppe Tentori, chef/owner Price: $12
Giuseppe Tentori learned a lot during his time with Charlie Trotter. No doubt, one of those things was creating an unspeakably elegant dish that also invites the diner to jump right in. Case in point: A star dish at GT Fish & Oyster, Tentori’s seafood restaurant in Chicago, shrimp bruschetta is a hyper-fresh take on toast: Softly glowing pink shrimp mingles with hot chilies, cool avocado mousse, toasted pistachio and a bitter kiss of grapefruit hiding in the middle.
Porcini, gamberi & tartufo
Cesarina, San Diego
Patrick Money, chef Price: $28.50
Cozy and contemporary are the buzzwords at Cesarina, a newly opened Italian-inspired trattoria-style eatery in San Diego. The tableware, rustic and bright, is part of the ambience, and hammered copper pots are pretty enough for a place at the table, too. That’s how porcini, gamberi e tartufo is presented, and waiting under the pot’s lid are fat shrimp surrounded by pillowy housemade gnocchi, porcini mushrooms, pepperoncino, fresh parsley, a touch of cream and shaved truffle.