Plates are passé, bowls are boring, and glassware is so garden-variety. Maritime-minded chefs and bartenders are now using seashells to serve their creations. These 10 restaurants for dishes and drinks in seashells are guaranteed to be a shell of a good time. Not near any of these spots? We can help you find the right restaurant for a perfect meal on OpenTable.com.
Amber, Hong Kong
This is the ultimate indulgence. Arriving in a ceramic sea urchin shell, tongues of uni sit on lobster gelatin and cauliflower. They’re topped with caviar, seaweed waffles, and gold leaf. Make a reservation at Amber.
Nobu, Washington, D.C.
Artful simplicity is the approach here. Case in point is this charming presentation featuring a Hokkaido scallop, uni, and Ossetra caviar. It’s a reminder that sometimes the biggest flavors come in the smallest packages. Make a reservation at Nobu.
Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago, Illinois
Get ready to Rock Out With Your Conch Out. The large-format cocktail for half a dozen partygoers powered by rum and Aperol gets a tropical twist thanks to the inclusion of tangerine and pineapple juices and fassionola syrup. As you probably guessed, it’s served in a giant conch glass. Make a reservation at Three Dots and a Dash.
Kuro at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, Florida
Take a picture before you take a bite. Hokkaido scallop sashimi is presented on its shell. Yuzu gel and young ginger add tang and a touch of spiciness to the preparation. Make a reservation at Kuro at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Boleo, Chicago, Illinois
These conchitas are heroes in a half shell. Baked scallops and potatoes are spritzed with lime juice and blanketed with potato aioli. They arrive on a bed of seaweed, like they were just tossed up from the ocean’s depths. Make a reservation at Boleo.
Ancora, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
An elegant shell cradles a seaworthy extravagance. Topped with herring caviar, a pan-seared scallop rests in a frothy tide pool of potato foam. Don’t you dare think of slurping it down. Make a reservation at Ancora.
Evangeline, Calistoga, California
Not your average surf ‘n’ turf. Seared Nantucket bay scallops play nicely with rounds of spicy pork sausage, sweet onions, and roasted bell peppers. The terroir-meets-merroir mélange arrives in a scallop shell. Make a reservation at Evangeline.
Kiki on the River, Miami, Florida
You’re going to need to bring some friends if you want to tackle Roman’s Conch. The large format cocktail is enough for six sippers. Served in a supersized shell, it’s forged with a tiki-riffic mix of rum, Velvet Falernum, oloroso sherry, passion fruit, lime juice, and grapefruit juice. Make a reservation at Kiki on the River.
Tanta, Chicago, Illinois
These conchitas a la parmesana feature scallops presented in their shells. The ivory rounds are shrouded in parmesan foam, and then topped with basil leaf and crispy garlic. Shell game on! Make a reservation at Tanta.
Siren, Washington, D.C.
A cluster of barnacles holds crunchy coronets. The obsidian hued tubes are packed full of spicy salmon belly tartare. Housemade furikake amplifies the seaworthy sensibility of the flavors. Make a reservation at Siren.
What are your picks for restaurants for dishes and drinks in seashells? Let us know in the comments or over on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credits: Shin Lim (Boleo); Michael Pisarri (Kuro).