"Are you going to eat that?" Course after well-paced course at Veritas Tavern ended much in the same way. A few bites of curried Brussels sprouts or bacon risotto remaining on a shared dish in the center of the table; each of us, hand on fork, vying for one more taste.

"Are you going to eat that?" Course after well-paced course at Veritas Tavern ended much in the same way. A few bites of curried Brussels sprouts or bacon risotto remaining on a shared dish in the center of the table; each of us, hand on fork, vying for one more taste.

But there was no sharing the ramen. One colorful bowl of house-made noodles, pork cheek, cucumber and corn arrived with a steaming, deeply intense broth poured over by our server. Two more were swiftly ordered. None of us wanted to fight over the last bite.

There's magic happening on the plates at this barely a year-old, five-table gem in Delaware.

Behind the deeply soulful food are chefs Josh Dalton, Silas Caeton and, formerly, Avishar Barua (who left in September). This trio opened Veritas with the idea to turn classic foods on their heads through "modern" cooking techniques-methods that sound like strange science experiments and can sometimes result in sauces locked in a gel capsule or chocolate turned into a powder.

The learning curve at Veritas was staggering. The chefs admit to throwing foams and powders on top of dishes because they could. Not because it made for the best dish (though the result was usually pretty darn good). With a year of tinkering in the kitchen behind them, they've reached a level of comfort with these techniques, scaling back on the appearance of a food science experiment.

We don't need to see the science to know it's there. The proof is in the seemingly new flavors they coax out of familiar foods. Every dish here is both oddly familiar and brand new. Both comforting and adventurous.

What arrives on the plate is real food, only better. Like the aforementioned Brussels sprouts that are somehow rich and buttery with an intense curried flavor, but not at all heavy. Or drops of a whipped caramelized coconut puree, served alongside a tender flatiron steak, that are somehow both bright and sweet.

And not to be overlooked are the cocktails at Veritas. Manager Nicole Hollerman expertly crafts a list longer than the food menu and made up of Prohibition-style classics and equally potent house favorites like the Scooter El Dorado with Bitter American beer, Fernet Branca and orange syrup served in a flask.

Our advice for the best meal at Veritas? Head here with a small group of friends with whom you don't mind sharing and order the entire menu-typically a dozen small plates and a handful of desserts designed to split. It's the best way to truly appreciate the amazing things happening in this closet-sized kitchen.

What the chefs at Veritas are doing may sound weird. But it's worth driving an hour or more to eat here, because you will eat nothing like this within the 270 loop. This is why Veritas Tavern didn't just cook its way onto our Top 10 list-it shot straight to the top.

#2 G. Michael's Bar & Bistro >>