Best Of 2018

Best mollusk marriage: SCALLOP at STEELBACH

Best mollusk marriage

This quartet of seared scallops is a revelation. Caramelized to a deep brown but not the slightest bit rubbery, they sit on a bed of luscious sweet potato-brown butter sauce, alongside small crisps of benne seeds and soft braised fennel. The opposite side of the dish is decorated with squares from tiny, sweet dots of pomegranate and mulled cider syrup to be used to taste. It’s a wonderful dish bursting with the Southern inspiration chef Nathan Hardin has set as his goal. The mashup is magical — like the first glimpse of fireflies that hint of summer. Armature Works, 1902 N. Ola Ave., Tampa. 813-693-5478, —Jon Palmer Claridge