Best Of :: Food & Drink
Radek Cerny -- chef, owner and sole motivating force behind the unbelievable L'Atelier -- never does anything small, never does anything simply. His restaurant is a riot of strangeness and color, and his giant plates would be a joke if it weren't for the fantastic stuff that comes on them. Of particular note are his sweetbreads, which arrive in a classic Cerny potato-starch tuile, floored with whipped Yukon Golds, on a plate done up like a Nagel print from the '80's -- triangles of black and white with doodles of pale green and hot-pink infused oils. The centerpieces of all this artifice are the delicious glands, perfectly cooked, tender and swimming in a dark sugarcane sauce that gives them a well-balanced, high, humming sweetness.
These days, everyone and his brother and their sister are hopping on the low-carb bus, tossing the rice, the tortilla, the pasta, the pastry, the bread and the bun out the window. But Carl's Jr. gives you a little something to hold what's left of your meal -- and your dignity -- together. Its fast-food burger comes neatly wrapped in lettuce, so that you can still experience the carnivorous thrill of eating with your hands, not a fork. Hint: That fellow at the drive-thru next to you is probably Barry Fey.