If you've been skipping the breadbasket to save room for the main course, you're missing out. Chefs are now as creative with dough as with the rest of the menu. A sampler:
Clockwise starting at top:
Carta Di Musica
Lincoln Ristorante in New York City often begins meals with this delicate Italian flatbread gilded with sesame seeds, parsley, and oregano.
Eggy, airy popovers—typically a morning treat— are served piping hot all day at Wayfare Tavern, Food Network star Tyler Florence's San Francisco flagship restaurant.
Beer Pretzel Roll
In step with its 500-plus beer offerings, Birch & Barley in Washington, D.C., bakes a pretzel roll that gets its rich, slightly malty quality from porter and oatmeal stout.
At Volt, in Frederick, Maryland, Top Chef star Bryan Voltaggio smokes his own bacon, then mixes the crispy bits into the buttery dough.