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If there is one Seattle restaurant that I would recommend to anyone interested in the art of food, it would be Poppy. This bright, assured, and consistently inventive dining mecca, created by chef Jerry Traunfeld, presents an American take on the Indian thali. That's a a compartmentalized platter holding various dishes with many different tastes; the chef uses this plating for his own take on the foods of the region. Traunfeld, who spent 17 years as executive chef at The Herbfarm restaurant in Woodinville, and his meals are, quite simply, works of edible art. Before you order your thali, though, you must try the eggplant fries with sea salt and honey—there’s a reason why they are one of Poppy’s signature appetizers and always on the menu. You might want one of the herby-fresh craft cocktails to go with them. Now the thali. On my last trip, my vegetarian thali came with carrot agnolotti with pea sauce and grilled Walla Walla onions. A cluster of side dishes included coconut corn soup with shiso; kohlrabi and cucumber salad with yogurt and dill; minted lentil and goat cheese strudel; glazed radish with cherries and lemon balm; and and raspberry, beet and anise hyssop pickle. The medley of textures, herbs, and spices was surprising and delightful. You can dine in Poppy’s high-ceilinged dining room or, in summer, out on the sidewalk or in the back herb garden. Street parking can be difficult around here; try to fit yourself into the lot behind the restaurant.