There are a lot more ways to spread good cheer in the new year but none so delicious as with a traditional, shareable starter like rich and unctuous pâté. But throw all of those diet plans aside since this dish qualifies as an indulgence worthy of a caloric splurge. From Cajun terrine to a luscious, flaky pâté en croûte, everything old is new again!
Toups Meatery, New Orleans, Louisiana
Pâté is twice as nice at this New Orleans hot spot, where four-time James Beard “Best Chef: South” semifinalist and Bravo TV’s Top Chef season 13 official fan favorite chef Isaac Toups plates the Meatery board, a smorgasbord of house-cured savories and accouterments. The board includes two Southern versions of pâté: one with hog’s head cheese, a traditional Cajun terrine of pork, and a daube glacé, a traditional beef terrine with Creole origins. Make a reservation at Toups Meatery.
Georgie, Beverly Hills, California
Southern France meets Southern California at Georgie, where classically trained executive chef Wilfrid Hocquet serves up a delicate pâté en croûte that is just as much a feast for the eyes as the stomach. It’s easy to imagine his quince compote, cornichon pickles, and jus vinaigrette being plated for the well-heeled in Monaco and Paris, where he previously tied the apron strings under his mentor, Alain Ducasse. Make a reservation at Georgie.
The Mockingbird, Nashville, Tennessee
Apparently, Nashville’s not only all about barbecue, with a fun twist that takes a French staple and brings it down-home. Mockingbird’s throwback appetizer is “tray” chic, with house-made summer sausage, chicken liver mousse, sweet onion jam and pastrami, all served on a throwback lunch tray. Make a reservation at The Mockingbird.
Donato & Co., Berkeley, California
For Donato’s two Italian chefs, Gianluca Guglielmi and Donato Scotti, who opened their restaurant just three months ago, their chicken liver vasetto is a throwback to their homeland in the traditional style of Piedmonte and Lombardia. Housemade pâté with sauteed pears and crostini are braised with savory Marsala. Make a reservation at Donato & Co.
Nico Osteria, Chicago, Illinois
Partner and executive chef Paul Kahan’s spread is locally sourced from the Slagel Family Farm in Fairbury, Illinois, and is served with apple, pickled shallot, and ciabatta — a classic with one unexpected ingredient: fish sauce. “It’s wild — if you make it at home or order it at the restaurant, you’ll realize how crazy-delicious it when the butter in the pâté and the taste of fish sauce blend together,” he says. Make a reservation at Nico Osteria.
Bistro du Midi, Boston, Massachusetts
Pull up a chair and stay awhile at Bistro du Midi, where the street-level cafe offers up some of the best views of Boston Common and “snacks” from executive chef Josue Louis that are worth warming up to — especially the duck pâté flatbread with delicata squash, crispy kale, and smoky blue cheese. Even better is the new daily pour le plasir, the “pour for pleasure” that offers up a selection of luxurious wines by the glass for just $10 each from head sommelier Ray Osborne. Make a reservation at Bistro du Midi.
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Carley Thornell is a travel writer whose experiences eating street food in Japan, English peas in the UK, free-range steak in Argentina, and Brussels sprouts at Estragon tapas in her hometown of Boston have provided unforgettable culinary inspiration. Shout out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credits: Nadia Andreini (Donato & Co.).