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Culinaria, Wilmington: Crispy Chicken on Thai Salad

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You may be one of the following who visits Culinaria for the outstanding salmon curry or calve’s liver—both contenders for signature dish. But the winner is the crispy chicken on Thai salad, a mainstay for 13 years. What started as a salad with a filet of whitefish was quickly converted to a chicken breast lightly coated and quickly fried, then sautéed in a glaze of vinegar, garlic and “tons of peppers,” says chef-owner Ezio Reynaud. The thin-sliced breast is served atop a mound of shredded napa cabbage with cucumbers, carrots and sweet red peppers, then drizzled with a garlicky, peppery dressing of rice wine vinegar and lemongrass. The result: a little spice, a little sweet and a whole lot of heat. “In the beginning, the menu just said ‘spicy,’” Reynaud says. “We had to add the word ‘very.’ No one has sent one back since. 1812 Marsh Road, Wilmington, 475-4860 culinariarestaurant.com