Croque Star

"Brunch is probably the most honest meal of the week. It's where you just let it out. It's food, booze, group therapy."

On any given Sunday at Sinema in Nashville, chef Dale Levitski is more than happy to help diners work through their issues, mainly by lovingly swaddling them in soft bread, salty ham, tart apples, sweet shallots, an oozy egg and a crisp cheese halo—chased by a beer, just in case that combo seemed too austere. It all adds up to the croque-madame on which the former Top Chef finalist built his career (see the recipe) and his reputation as one of the most inventive brunch chefs in the country.

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Tasting Table. 2015.