Sometimes it doesn’t really take a whole lot to make something special. Take the Rose Latte at Metro Marché, an outpost of the Café Metro Group that has been operating lunchtime buffets in Midtown Manhattan for years. It’s just espresso, steamed milk and rose syrup, but the tiny edible flowers on top give it a nice flourish.
Other dishes are more labor-intensive, such as the hot smoked salmon at Quarter Acre in Dallas, which is plated with hand-picked lettuce leaves and seaweed, multiple sauces, baby turnips and poached Buddha’s hand citron.
Also time consuming is the octopus sauce served over udon at Aphotic in San Francisco, for which the seafood is cooked and chopped and ground and made into a rich sauce with the flavors of East Asia and Southeast Asia.
Another approach is to lean into luxury, which is what is happening at Kinme Omakase in San Diego, where A5 wagyu beef tartare is nestled in a savory pâte à choux made with rendered wagyu fat.
Or you can work with different flavors and textures, such as the citrus couscous salad at Nocturne in Denver, for which fregola pasta is combined with similarly sized currants and a bunch of bright citrus and herbs.
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]