The cupcake is hardly the only beloved but ubiquitous dish out there. (Banh mi on a bistro menu, anyone?) And a piggy-centric cupcake isn’t the only way to put a new spin on tired, over-exposed fare.
Here are a few chef-driven interpretations of comfort foods and/or fan-favorites popping up on area menus:
Caesar salad at Komi. The menu changes daily, but Johnny Monis occasionally features a liquefied Caesar salad in a crispy crouton.
Duck meatballs at Birch & Barley. Chef Kyle Bailey ditches the traditional beef or lamb-flavored orbs for ones made of roasted duck leg and served over a creamy corn polenta.
Tokyo hashbrowns at Bourbon Steak. Tots head east at Bourbon Steak, where they’re dressed up with quail eggs, nori strips and Japanese mayo.
Mac and cheese at Cheesetique. The Del Ray establishment, of course, serves a truffle-infused version, but other interpretations include fusilli with pimento, penne with chevre and drunken goat cheeses, and even one that mixes egg noodles with manchego, chicken tetrazzini and peas.
Spaghetti and meatballs at Proof. This Italian classic gets decadently rich when chef Haidar Karoum mixes foie gras into the meatballs.
Tete sliders at Poste Moderne Brasserie. Forget mini-burgers, at Poste the sliders are made with head cheese and pickled onions.
Tuna tartare at 2941. No perfectly shaped mounds of raw tuna here. The tuna is mixed with guacamole and jalapenos and served with chips, dip-style.
DiNardo is a freelance writer in Washington. Her Web site is www.kellydinardo.com .