Little Lemon Cake - Catbird Seat, Nashville - This critically acclaimed Nashville tasting counter offers a multi-course menu for $115. This beautifully dimiutive aromatic sponge-cake dessert, with fresh, fragrant herbs, and a pinch of salt, is completely representative of the care that the kitchen takes with all its dishes.
St. Augustine Golden Crab, Grilled Celeriac, Field Garlic, Spring Herbs Husk, Nashville If you needed a reminder that Sean Brock is one of the most talented chefs in the country, this dish should do it. The food at Husk in Nashville is a bit more ornate than at its sister restaurant in Charleston, yet it all proves again and again that Southern cuisine has become one of the driving forces behind America's fine-dining restaurants.
The Spring Onion - El Ideas, Chicago - It’s not out of the ordinary for Phillip Foss to invite his guests into the kitchen, blurring the lines of fine dining and disrupting protocol. He’s madcap and practically possessed, but it’s hard to argue with his Michelin star or the delights of this springtime dish. In a dead-of-winter premonition, he devised this showcase of the versatility of allium, preparing it in eight different ways and pairing it with eight different proteins.
Sea Urchin Custard - The Drawing Room, Charleston, South Carolina - For many chefs, it's enough to leave uni alone, sending it out adorned with nothing more than lemon and perhaps some flaky salt. For chef Jon Cropf, it's just the beginning of this composed plate, an uni mousse ringed by a salad of South Carolina cucumbers, lump crab, and Meyer lemon.