Fans of cooking competition shows will recognize Dale Talde’s name and, most likely, applaud his inclusion on this list. The Chicago-born chef has competed on two seasons of “Top Chef: Chicago” and “Top Chef All-Stars,” and his is a name to watch. Having already received four stars from New York magazine and three stars from TimeOut New York, Dale’s eponymous restaurants have gained acclaim for their adherence to Asian culinary influences while still maintaining a sense of originality.
Dale was inspired to pursue the culinary arts after a trip to San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood when he was a child. After ordering Peking duck congee, Dale realized that the only limit to how far he could go in the world of cooking was his imagination. After graduating culinary school, Dale worked at Outback Steakhouse (a position he does not remember fondly), he quickly moved to a kitchen more suitable for his talents at Stephen Starr’s Buddakan. Dale credits his time in Buddakan’s kitchen as providing a “total flip: don’t make aesthetic the primary focus- it has to taste good.” As it turns out, that paradigm shift was the springboard to great things.
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Known for his unique cooking style that combines elements of Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese and Filipino cuisine while also retaining a sense of originality, Dale’s restaurant (with locations in Brooklyn, Jersey City and Miami) have been lauded for their daring approach to Asian cuisine. Dale utilizes a vast array of ingredients, both traditional and esoteric, to draw out flavors that will best serve the overall dish, and he has demonstrated an intrinsic understanding of what makes good food taste that way.
Offerings include pretzel pork & chive dumplings with spicy mustard; kung pao chicken wings with peanuts and house-made buttermilk ranch; tuna poke with avocado, water chestnuts and crispy rice paper; kale salad with pickled green mango, fried plantains, cashews and creamy ponzu dressing; yuzu guacamole with crispy rice and speck; samosas with spicy English peas, kaffir lime yogurt and chutney; lobster tom kha with coconut milk, rice noodles and corn; crispy oyster & bacon pad thai with peanuts; dan dan noodles with Szechuan-braised short ribs, peanuts and scallions; whole-roasted branzino with banana leaf, turmeric and tomato; smoked chili shrimp sambal with lettuce and peaches, Korean fried chicken with spicy kimchi yogurt, grapes and mint; and lemongrass pork shoulder with shaved pear and Thai basil.