Best Dishes — Meaning Actual Plates, Bowls and Other Stuff You Need

Critics' Pick


Chef Joe Sparatta's inspired food gets the artistic setting it deserves with Mary Triplett's hand-thrown pottery crafted into plates, bowls and coffee service pieces.

Triplett, a server at Heritage and a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University's craft and material studies program with a focus on pottery, first discussed the idea when she and Sparrata were working at Lulu's Restaurant. Years later it became a reality when he commissioned her to create ramen bowls for brunch service. Now, about half the dishes are plated on her creations.

The chef's preference is for rustic, earth-toned and understated pieces. And Triplett delivers, with bittersweet orange sugar bowls and creamers, and other bowls of celery green.

"It warms my heart when I deliver food and a guest comments on the piece," she says. And when a piece gets broken in the dining room? "Yeah, it hurts my heart a little, but it's a vessel, and it's supposed to serve a function. Besides, then I know what I'll be doing tomorrow."

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