Three days a week at Atwater mainstay Canelé, Wild at Canelé presents lunch service as a separate entity, with its own chefs — Ria and Matt Wilson — and personality. If you were to stick to the central dishes on Wild's regular menu, you'd likely end up with a lovely but unremarkable lunch. Yet you'd do well to wander toward the less obvious parts of the menu or, even better, the specials board. There's a terrine of the day, and it's almost always delightfully unexpected. It could be composed of smoked yellowtail and Saint Germain–pickled strawberry, the fish ever so lightly cured but retaining all its lush, fleshy qualities, the strawberries adding a punch of bright flavor. Dishes are built for visual beauty: A torta di ceci, or chickpea pancake, was one day festooned with brilliant yellow and purple beets, shaved thin and arranged like dragon scales. What the Wilsons are producing here is far more inventive, thoughtful and delicious than most of what you'll find at far more established spots: This lunch is better than you'd expect it to be and better than it needs to be.
Credit: Anne Fishbein