The <em>Top Chef</em> champ takes on the modern American dinner

You'll be the winner when you hit Richard Blais's new white-bricked bon-appetite-ery The Spence, and enjoy the Top Chef kingpin's casually creative cuisine while informing everyone that the joint's name is a synonym for a larder: a cool storage area popular before refrigerators, when ironically, everyone was mad skinny

You'll want to try it all, because the menu changes daily and ranges from a quail egg w/ bone marrow & tuna tartare, to ginger beer-steamed mussels w/ Chinese sausage, to great-looking seafood plates (literally: swimmers are served on fishbone-etched stainless steel dinnerware) like sea bass in miso w/ green peaches

Drinks also get fancy, as evidenced by the Jaliscan Monk (mezcal, house limoncello, burnt orange, basil cube, yellow chartreuse, and orange tequila bitters), and the Maldito’s Crunch, which gets gin, Lillet Blanc, lemongrass & rhubarb bitters, ginger beer, and agave, and is made in the tradition of hair-of-the-dog drinks like Foglifters, whose rain has obviously ended

They've even got house-bottled cocktails, including a mint julep-inspired number with Cognac, Benedictine, and rhubarb bitters, dubbed the Thoroughbred, which recalls a time when people were so hungry they could eat a horse, and likely did when the ol' larder was empty.