Think sweet is reserved for desserts? Sour goes best in a cocktail? Well, these days, local chefs are turning those tired beliefs on their head, using unexpected flavors to brighten their food. "Playing with different flavors, like sweet, salty and sour, feeds my creativity," says Molinari's chef and owner Randal Johnson. "As a chef, there are no boundaries for what you can do to create new flavor combinations." We test that notion with three courses of unexpected tastes.
Tremont Tap House's seared scallops with cara cara orange curd and petite kale($14). "The sweetness of the cara cara orange and the slight bitterness of the petite kale bring the different flavors together," says executive chef Andrew Gorski.
One Red Door's asparagus salad with slow-poached egg, arugula, Parmesan vinaigrette and crispy speck($9). "Crispy speck provides a salty crunch to this salad," says Shawn Monday, executive chef and owner.
Downtown 140's foie gras with rhubarb, pickled apples, sorrel herb and lemonberry tart($15). "The tartness comes from the pickled apples and rhubarb. A dash of sorrel also adds to its sourness," says executive chef Rick Bennett.
SoHo Kitchen & Bar sweet potato raviolis with spiced pecans, goat cheese, cranberries, jalapeno, wilted greens and brown butter($18). "This vegetarian dish is a mélange of sweet, comforting flavors with an added kick," says chef and owner Nolan Konkoski.
Blue Point Grille's ahi tuna with crispy, sticky rice, bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, chili eggplant relish and smoked shiitake broth($29). "The shiitake broth gives the dish a delicious earthy saltiness," says executive chef Marc Standen.
Moxie the Restaurant's garlic roasted shrimp with semolina cavatelli, swiss chard, lemon butter and parsley($27.75). "The dish blends sweet and sour flavors, and the lemon butter gives it an extra kick of sour," says chef de cuisine Michael Tolosa.
The Black Pig's chocolate truffle with salted bourbon caramel, milk chocolate crumble, white chocolate truffle mousse and two dark chocolate truffles($7). "The dessert features four different chocolate tastes and textures on one plate," says chef and owner Michael Nowak.
Molinari's dark chocolate tart with chocolate ganache, chocolate crumb crust and Himalayan pink salt($7). "The contrast of bittersweet and salty works well together," says chef and owner Randal Johnson.
Red, the Steakhouse's lemon curd torte with house-made lemon curd and torched Italian meringue($8.90). "What you're presented with is a sweet yet slightly tart pie with a flaky and buttery shell," says chef de cuisine Sean St. Clair.