FOOD

El­e­vated takes on dorm-room din­ners have made the food scene fun again

Sharp - - CONTENTS - BY CHRIS JOHNS

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.

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