Side Dish: Not Just for Steakhouses

side-dishI dined out at Perilla last night, the restaurant co-owned by Harold Dieterle, winner of the first season of “Top Chef.” Mr. Dieterle is also the restaurant’s executive chef. Accompanying me were three chef-friends, all of whom had been my classmates at the French Culinary Institute. Naturally, then, we dined in courses, with each of us making sure there weren’t any duplicates at the table.

Of course, every course was delectable, but what really made the meal beyond memorable for me were the side dishes (creamed corn and farro risotto). I don’t usually order a side unless I’m in a steakhouse — and that’s all going to change going forward. After dining at a restaurant with a carefully crafted menu, such as Perilla, I realized the side dishes are not an afterthought or filler. They’re on the menu because they’re standouts that will complement any of the main courses. You can be sure of this, in particular, when you see but a few intriguing sides listed on a menu.

Have you dined at any restaurants with to-die-for side dishes? Tell us about it here or join the discussion on Facebook.


  1. says

    The side dish that I cannot forget was the heirloom tomato salad at Mustard’s Napa Valley Grill. Maybe it was the location/ambiance etc… but I ordered it because we saw one of the kitchen staff in chef’s whites picking the heirlooms in the garden before we walked in for our reservation. I ordered it because of this pre-dinner observation, and it was spectacular. Lots of fresh herbs and chevre. Try it!

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