Elevated takes on dorm-room dinners have made the food scene fun again
Top chefs loosen up the fine dining scene with classic comfort foods.
AT SOME POINT, EVEN THE MOST dedicated of gourmands gets bored with elaborate delicacies and yearns for something a little more basic. And while so-called “foodies” may have once felt embarrassed to admit their love of Funyuns, they’re gaining some high-profile support. The normcore revolution, fresh from inspiring the fashion-savvy crowd to dress like middle-aged dads on vacation in Florida, has now encouraged our best chefs to embrace the canned, boxed, and bagged pantry staples once considered beneath contempt.
Their renditions are familiar, but remarkably transformed. The ingredients are carefully sourced, the execution is inventive, and the platings are works of art. For evidence, head to Toronto’s Aloette, a diner-style spinoff of chef Patrick Kriss’s ultra-luxe Alo. On the menu: an iceberg wedge salad served as a cored disc of greens. In place of bottled ranch dressing, you’ll enjoy a blend of chive cream, parmesan, and wild rice. At Charcut steakhouse in Calgary, you can finish off a meal with a bag of chocolate chip cookies — just like you’d get at the grocery store, only decidedly more upscale. Or book a spot at one of New York’s most coveted new tables, Meme’s Diner, where you’ll find reverential examples of meatloaf and French onion dip. Just don’t expect to pay 99 cents for their mac and cheese.
Toronto's Aloette serves upgraded classics in a glam take on a traditional diner.