Remember minimalism? Neither does Maximillian Petty, chef-owner of pretty little Eden Hill on top of Queen Anne. Reigning in the tiny kitchen of this intimate storefront is maximalism: Petty’s offhand mastery of preparations with lots of moving parts. For his crispy pig’s head candy bar, Petty cooks the headcheese off the skull with fresh herbs, star anise, and lots of garlic, then reduces it down with fermented black beans and hoisin and caramelized onions to a substance he presses, cuts, breads, fries, and finally serves over pear and champagne soup with merlot cabbage and circlets of serrano chili.
It’s a dish both frolicsome and, uh, cerebral, and what saves it from buckling under its own weight is Petty’s masterful technical (including modernist) training and gift for innovation (see cauliflower chilaquiles, see foie gras “cake batter” dessert).
The result is a straight shot of 100-proof wit—always fun, almost always successful, mostly a brilliant counterpoint to the lilting homespun romance of the room.