DownComment IconEmail IconFacebook IconGoogle Plus IconGrid IconInstagram IconLinkedin IconList IconMenu IconMinus IconPinterest IconPlus IconRss IconSave IconSearch IconShare IconShopping Cart IconSpeech BubbleSnapchat IconTumblr IconTwitter IconWhatsapp IconYoutube Icon

Seriously Funny Food

When is a tuna melt not a tuna melt? When it's actually fresh seared ahi with warm foie gras. Haute toques around the West are presenting refined dishes in tongue-in-cheek ways that will take the stuffing out of even the most serious customers. Having fun with flashy food: It's the new wave in upscale dining.

Tartare Cornet. Chef Thomas Keller started the trend by beginning every meal with a salmon tartare, red onion, and crème fraîche, hors d'oeuvre playfully presented like an ice cream cone (prix fixe meal $135). The French Laundry, Yountville, CA, or 707 944-2380)

Tuna Foie Gras Melt. Stylish innovator George Morrone tops a thick potato pancake with seared ahi tuna, then melted foie gras, and finishes it all with a Pinot Noir sauce ($29). A definite splurge, but the taste is heavenly. Tartare, San Francisco, or 415 434-3100.

DC Burger. Canada takes on New York's famed high-end burgers with a version from chef Damon Campbell that boasts a patty of Kobe beef and flank steak, plus short ribs, foie gras, and a truffle aioli ($28 U.S.). Diva at the Met, Vancouver, B.C., or 604 602-7788.

Lobster Corn Dogs with Smelt Fries. Razzle-dazzle restaurateur Michael Mina's top dogs are filled with meltingly rich lobster sausage and encased in a sweet, crunchy cornmeal batter ($18). Seablue, Las Vegas,, 702 891-3486.

Ice Cream Baked Potato. Disconcerting but delicious. Chef Patrick Lambert's dessert is ice cream rolled in chocolate powder with a banana frosting "butter pat," whipped cream "sour cream," and green chopped pecan "chives" ($4.25). Cowgirl BBQ & Western Grill, Santa Fe, 505 982-2565.

The Coconut. At Hawaiian culinary kin Alan Wong's eponymous restaurant, a chocolate shell is filled with coconut sorbet―a dead ringer for a half-coconut ($7). Alan Wong's, Honolulu, or 808 949-2526.