Counting cals and carbs is for bores. Eager to excite you, if not expand you, professional chefs are championing decadence anew. Consider the Grana Padano Pasta flambé at the Whaling Bar and Grill at the La Valencia Hotel (858-454-0771) in La Jolla, in which pasta with a creamy Alfredo sauce is tossed in a 75-pound semi-hollow wheel of cheese meant to melt into the noodles. It takes six forks to excavate the Great Wall of ice cream, banana, and cookies at Chicago’s China Grill (312-334-6700). At Marty’s Boston Crab (920-884-2722) in Green Bay, Wisconsin, sherry-and-cream-soaked lobster comes served in a pie dish with a Ritz cracker crumb topping. And at Envy the Steakhouse (702-784-5716) in Las Vegas, french fries are souped up with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and truffle oil. Bon appétit, big time.
— Elaine Glusac