Rohan duck Photo: Jeff Marini

Leave it to Grant Achatz to master both fine dining and chicken salad. At our top spot, Alinea, his food hits creative new heights, but at Roister, cozy treasures abound. Settle in at the kitchen counter, where, over a roaring open hearth, executive chef Andrew Brochu and his crew can be seen smearing oysters with chili butter and smoking them or dotting hushpuppies with jam, all to a constantly surprising soundtrack (say, a Drake hit, followed by … is that the Monday Night Football theme song?).

The rollicking vibe extends to the rest of the dark-walled dining room, where servers expertly soft-peddle stiff drinks like an Old Fashioned blended with nutty brown butter. Practically every table will have an order of the aforementioned sunflower-seed-strewn chicken salad, which comes as a platter along with two other chicken preparations—assorted parts crisp-fried and a tender chamomile-poached breast—that nicely embody Roister’s giddy, “more is more” philosophy.