To put a virtuoso spin on a luxury ingredient without overwhelming its delicacy, some chefs walk a fine line with crab appetizers and first courses. Current menus show the likes of lightly breaded crab cakes; crispy, golden pancakes laced with fancy crabmeat; crabmeat-and-fruit salads with tangy-sweet dressings; and puffy crabmeat beignets. At the Atwood Café, an updated comfort-food restaurant in Chicago, executive chef Heather Terhune speaks for many of her peers when she says of ...

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