Corn is summer’s comfort food, especially as the sunshine season comes to an end and you want to hang on to its best flavors. Fresh corn on the cob with drippy butter and those plastic metal pronged holders is a #ThrowbackThursday childhood food memory for sure. Fast forward to, well, now, when you’ll find corn has husked its boring boiled reputation and reinvented itself in some dishes you may not recognize — but will surely want to get to know. Here are 10 top corn dishes to order now — from the classic cob to more creative takes on the yellow summer goddess, such as spicy elote (translation: Mexican street corn).
Slate, New York, New York
Chef Darryl Harmon has introduced Elote to his late summer menu — corn with Ancho-lime spiked sauce and cotija cheese. The Jersey corn comes to this Flatiron District restaurant from a family-owned-and-operated New Jersey farm. Sweet. Make a reservation at Slate.
The Clam, New York, New York
Think corn-on-the-cob for dummies. It’s called Charred Sweet Corn Off the Cob — basically, it’s sweet corn (taken straight off the cob), charred, and seasoned with some chili, parmesan and a squeeze of lime. Easier to eat and no more corn-stuck-in-teeth Instagram shots. Make a reservation at The Clam.
Sarsaparilla Club at The Shelbourne, South Beach, Florida
This just-opened American Dim Sum restaurant in the Shelborne Wyndham Grand Hotel South Beach honors the iconic late-summer treat with its Corn 4 Ways dish. It’s grilled sweet corn, cornbread butter, cornbread crumbs and lemon popcorn — a ménage a quatre. Make a reservation at Sarsaparilla Club at The Shelbourne.
Bleu Boheme, San Diego, California
Executive chef-owner Ken has debuted a twist on traditional pot de crème to his menu, adding fresh corn and blueberries to the French classic. The corn is roasted, the cobs are shucked, and the kernels are pureed and added to the custard mixture. It’s then crowned with fresh blueberry preserves. Voila! Make a reservation at Bleu Boheme.
Marrow, Indianapolis, Indiana
The elote at this Indy restaurant is dolled up with ancho mayo, cobija chili, and lime. And, by the way, Indiana makes the top-five-states-list for mass production of corn and this year’s crop is the second-largest corn crop in Indiana history (and the season is still youngish.) Now you know. Make a reservation at Marrow.
Therapy, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Fire Roasted Street Corn here is great therapy for end-of-summer blues. It’s made with fire-roasted corn, obvs, and seasoned with lime aioli, chili pepper, and parmesan cheese. The fresh corn comes from Simoni & Massoni Farms out of Byron, California. Make a reservation at Therapy.
Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar, Boston, Massachusetts
Grilled Street Corn is a bold dish on the menu at this Mexican-inspired restaurant in the Hub. The grilled corn is topped with jalapeno mayo, cotija cheese, and chile-lime powder. The corn is sourced from Sid Wainer & Son in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Make a reservation at Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar.
MET Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts
Kathy Sidell’s restaurant on Dartmouth Street features a seasonal fresh corn and tomatoes menu with standouts like Farmhouse Bruschetta (corn puree, fried corn, bacon and egg, and pecorino romano), Charred Corn & Tomato Flatbread (whipped ricotta, arugula, basil mayo, and pecorino) and Street Corn with cotija cheese. Make a reservation at MET Back Bay.
Temazcal, Boston, Massachusetts
The corn on the cob served here is called Acapulco Street Corn, and it’s slathered with chipotle aioli, baked in the oven to brown the kernels, and then topped with queso fresco and a secret spice (we’d have to kill you if we told you) and served on a skewer. Make a reservation at Temazcal.
Siena, Mashpee, Massachusetts
Chef Nick serves up a mean Summer Grilled Corn Fettuccine at this Cape Cod restaurant. Think buttery grilled corn tossed with fresh pesto sauce, diced tomato, scallions, and goat cheese served over fettuccine pasta. Make a reservation at Siena.
Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant, San Diego, California
Corn cocktail, anyone? This restaurant’s nod to corn is the Cortez the Killer cocktail made with late summer corn milk. Created by bar manager Zack Gray, the sip features Old Harbor gin, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, and lime juice — as well as that corn milk. Bankers Hill chef is three-time James Beard Award Nominee Carl Schroeder. Make a reservation at Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant.
Laurie Bain Wilson is a Boston-based journalist, author, and essayist who writes often about travel, food, and baseball. Find her on Twitter @laurieheather.
Photo credits: Paul Wagtouicz (The Clam); Boston Foodies (Lolita).