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The art of food

By KRISTINE HANSEN

December 2012

Artistic dishes - almost too beautiful to eat (well, almost) - from Lake Park Bistro

Whatchamacallit at c.1880
1100 S. 1st St.

Remember that chocolate bar you adored as a child? First introduced by the Hershey Co. in 1978, itís comprised of peanut-flavored crisps with layers of milk chocolate and peanut butter. c.1880, a less-than-year-old restaurant in Walkerís Point, has gone to town on deconstructing its caramel, peanut and chocolate ingredients. The result is a tantalizing, Jackson Pollack-esque display that allows the meal to end on a sweet ó and stunning ó note.

Kansas City Eggrolls at Smoke Shack
332 N. Milwaukee St.

With tremendous height ó the egg rolls are arranged vertically ó this starter dish literally turns itself 180 degrees from the expected, which would be, well, flat and boring, no? Pulled pork, Monterey jack cheese, cabbage and mustard are combined with Kansas City BBQ sauce, with shreds of purple cabbage dusting the top of each egg roll, the sauce swirled below. Itís yet another example of innovation at this Third Ward newcomer (Smoke Shack opened in January), where its barbecue isnít merely one style (choose from five sauces) and drinking glasses are replaced by shabby chic Mason jars.

Lobster Chowder at Umami Moto
718 N. Milwaukee St.

With a stark-white backdrop inside Umami Moto on Milwaukee Street, itís no wonder the food pops, whether itís sushi or, in this case, lobster chowder. Chef Justin Carlisle spreads the ingredients ó lobster medallions, freeze-dried corn, popcorn kernels, chives, potato purťe, lemon oil and wild leeks ó in the shallow bowl, using that as a canvas but also taking advantage of its wide, expansive brim, where the ingredients are again displayed on a thin slice of cured lobster. The silky chowder is poured into the bowl tableside. Itís lobster luxe at its best.

Ahi Tuna Tartare at Balzac Wine Bar
1716 N. Arlington Place

Why should a wine bar be just about the gorgeous stemware? Sure, the Ahi Tuna Tartare pairs with a lot of wines at Balzac Wine Bar ó a staple in the cityís wine-sipping scene ó but even if youíre just here for the food, itís all good. Front and center on the Brady Street area wine barís small plates menu is this stunner: a curvy, white bowl filled with wonton crisps shares a plate with Ahi tuna (seasoned with wasabi vinaigrette and sesame oil) arranged in a neat and tidy tower.

Lamb Chops at Lake Park Bistro
3133 E. Newberry Blvd.

You could call them lamb chops. Or, you can toss around some French prose, as Lake Park Bistro does in its menu authoring, and refer to them as Cote díAgneau Grilles. These marinated and grilled chops are artfully arranged on the plate in such a way that they lean into each other on a slight angle, creating an edible sculpture of savory goodness. Add the splashes of color, and itís a genuine piece of edible art.

 


This story ran in the December 2012 issue of: