We’re used to seeing it wrapped around sushi, but in Europe seaweed was originally a peasant food, since it was free and full of nutrients. It’s also the base of a traditional Welsh delicacy, laverhead. Here Maritimers have long tapped the health benefits of dulse, and now top chefs are rediscovering the plant’s unique textures and umami flavours.
1. 1927 Lounge, Rosewood Hotel, Georgia, Vancouver, 801 West Georgia St.
This eatery is the most casual dining option in a hotel that takes gastronomy seriously.
The chef: B.C. native Ken Nakano combines his Japanese heritage with West Coast ingredients.
The dish: Cold Smoked Albacore Tuna with Pacific Herring Roe on Kelp Marinated in Junmai Nama Sake and White Soya Sauce. Herring spawn on broad-leafed B.C. kelp, a Japanese delicacy. The roe and kelp double taste of the sea.
2. Langdon Hall, Cambridge, Ontario, 1 Langdon Dr.
This grand building is the epitome of countryside luxury, with a CAA Five Diamond kitchen to go with it.
The chef: Jonathan Gushue is one of Canada’s four Relais & Châteaux Grands Chef. The transplanted Newfoundlander is always at home cooking Canadian seafood.
The dish: Baked Scallops in Their Shell with Toasted Nori, Brioche, Sea Buckthorn, Watercress. Toasted nori adds umami crunch to Gushue’s ode to the iconic Coquilles Saint-Jacques.
3. Luma, Toronto, 350 King St. W.
Oliver & Bonacini’s fine dining restaurant in the TIFF Bell Lightbox complex. Luma is where culture vultures go to discuss the cinema over elegantly composed plates.
The chef: Jason Bangerter is a rising star enjoying the limelight.
The dish: Fried Lingcod Po’Boy with Seaweed and Spicy Mayonnaise. Bangerter is an advocate of sustainable seafood and uses lingcod caught off Vancouver Island. The firm seaweed side offers contrast to the crispness of fried fish and torn lettuce.
4. Marea, New York City, 240 Central Park S.
Just across from Central Park, Michelin-starred Marea is where Manhattan socialites, power brokers and plain old foodies meet for refined Italian seafood.
The chef: Jared Gadbaw shares the Grand Chef designation with owner Michael White.
The dish: Lobster Cappelletti with Fava Beans, Radish and Seaweed. Tucked into tortellini, the sweetness of the lobster is heightened by the briny taste of the seaweed.