Might We Suggest Cheetos at Your Next Dinner Party?

By Lynn Andriani

We always knew Cheetos, those guilty-pleasure snacks which always leave behind telltale orange fingers, were good, but we had no idea they had such potential (and we're nothing if not all about reaching one's potential). Lately, Cheetos have become a darling of the culinary world. First, Saveur magazine put the crunchy, cheesy sticks at the top of its annual list of chefs' favorite tools, ingredients and recipes for 2011 (they ranked ahead of oysters and green coriander seeds). Then, Cheetos started showing up on menus in cities around the country. I'm thinking high-end Cheetos made from artisanal Cheddar can't be far behind.

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Here, four restaurants that have been bitten by the Cheetos bug-plus a recipe from one of them.

Restaurant: The Blue Piano, Miami
Cheeto dish: The Chester Cheetah
What it is: Mac 'n' cheese made with Fontina, Edam, burrata and Cheddar topped with a Cheetos crumb topping.

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Restaurant: Park Avenue Winter, New York City
Cheeto dish: Broccoli & Cheetos
What it is: Chef Craig Koketsu actually trademarked the dish, which is broccoli served atop a Gouda and Parmesan sauce, and garnished with crumbled Cheetos. He served it at the seasonal restaurant earlier this year and, due to popular demand, will be bringing it back again in the fall. You can make Broccoli & Cheetos at home, using this recipe.

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Restaurant: Crave Sushi, Houston
Cheeto dish: Crave's Cheetah Roll
What it is: Crab, cream cheese, cucumber, avocado, sriracha, spicy mayo and Flamin' Hot Cheetos on the inside, crushed Flamin' Hot Cheetos, wasabi cream and jalapeños on the outside.

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Restaurant: Chip Shop, Brooklyn
Cheeto dish: Deep-Fried Cheetos
What it is: This isn't technically on the menu, but the restaurant-which serves all things fried, from shrimp to cherry pie-will deep-fry Cheetos for you if you bring your own.

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