Dive into uncommon cuisine that’s a step beyond your comfort zone.
BY ASHLEY BREEDING
Audacious foodies like Anthony Bourdain have made “discomfort food” a growing trend, with culinary artists worldwide following suit with their own adventurous and creative cuisine. For guests of the St. Regis who wish to test their limits and brave something new—but aren’t quite ready for, say, Rocky Mountain oysters or entomophagy— we’ve consulted with top chefs for their own take on daring dishes with a more gourmet flair.
At The St. Regis San Francisco’s Ame Restaurant, Lissa’s Staff Meal, a creation favored by the restaurant’s co-owner Lissa Doumani, has become a popular menu item. Prepared by Executive Chef Randy Lutz, the dish features cuttlefish tossed with sea urchin, wasabi tobiko, salmon pearl caviar, umami soy, quail egg, yama gobo and okra. “It has a very gooey texture that is not for everyone’s comfort zone,” Doumani says. Want to go equally as bold with your beverage? Try the Fugu (blowfish) Fin Sake— considered by the Japanese to be the highest quality of all the fugu family, fugu fins are roasted and steeped in warm sake, creating a rich, aromatic libation. (Ame Restaurant at The St. Regis San Francisco, 689 Mission St., 415- 284-4040; amerestaurant.com)
At Alain Ducasse’s Benoit New York, Ducasse (of Adour Alain Ducasse at The St. Regis New York) and chef Philippe Bertineau, recommends the Veal Tongue Lucullus for daring diners. Enjoyed as either an hors d’oeuvre or part of the charcuterie plate, the dish serves smoked and poached veal tongue that is sliced paper- thin and layered with foie gras butter (like a Napoleon). (Benoit New York, 60 W. 55th St.; 646-943-7373; benoitny.com)
Adventurous couples at The St. Regis Houston can visit the hotel’s Remington Restaurant to share two daring dishes: Created by Executive Chef John J. Signorelli, the tortilla-crusted crab cake with twin roasted pepper sauces features sunny-side duck egg, smoked garlic-pimento and green chili sauces; the four-spice seared muscovy duck breast is a delicious blend of duck confit, wild mushroom cappuccino, foie gras biscotti and apricot brandy gastrique. (The Remington at The St. Regis Houston, 919 Briar Oaks Lane; 713-403-2631)
Try something outside the lunchbox at the lavish seaside Sapphire Laguna, where the lunchtime Bento Box has become quite a sensation. Created by owner and chef Azmin Ghahreman, the daring but delectable dish contains an unusual variety of delicacies including a daily “curry surprise,” sautéed jumbo shrimp with handmade spinach-ricotta tortellini, grilled artichoke and rosemary-garlic milk, Southern-fried chicken salad with pecans, roasted corn, dried cranberries and buttermilk Ranch dressing and home-fried rosemary-sage potato chips—a comfort staple with a unique flavor. (Sapphire Laguna, 1200 S. Coast Hwy. #101, 949-715-9888; sapphirellc.com)
To bite into a not-so-classic burger, paddle down the Chattahoochee River to Canoe restaurant, where Executive Chef Carvel Grant Gould prepares a gourmet Duck N’ Beef Burger. The patty is a blend of delectable duck and beef meats, combined with fried egg, wilted spinach and pickled cabbage; the most ordinary component to this dish—the truffle pommes frites! (Canoe, 4199 Paces Ferry Rd., SE; 770-432-2663; canoeatl.com)
Just a short trip from The St. Regis Bal Harbour is the award-winning Tropical Chinese Restaurant, serving up an usual blend of traditional Chinese cuisine with tropical seasonings and spices. For a daring starter, try the jellyfish and garlic vinaigrette salad and abalone supreme soup—a bowl of abalone, bamboo shoots, wood-ear mushrooms, duck meat, tender hen, sea cucumber and carrots, “finely shredded and simmered slowly to perfection.” Still hungry? Bite into some chicken feet, drizzled with black bean sauce. (7991 SW 40th St., Miami; 305- 262-7576; tropicalchinesemiami.com)