Versus: Deviled Eggs Get the Respect They Deserve at Seastar and Anchovies & Olives

The Dish: The thing about deviled eggs is that everyone seems to make fun of them. ("The '50s called—they want their party food back.") Yet they are both yin and yang: satisfying as street food, yet refined enough for a fine-dining restaurant.After conversing recently with someone who was shocked to hear that deviled eggs are popping up on menus around the city, we wanted to find out whose were the most heavenly. We sought two popular destinations: Seastar and Anchovies & Olives. We picked the latter only to find out later that their deviled eggs had become soft-boiled eggs. So instead of changing the challenge, we changed the name: The Hard and the Soft. Which one satisfied our craving for stuffed eggs? It's in the details.The Rivals: Seastar, 2121 Terry Ave., 462-4364. Seastar's deviled eggs are as delicious as they are beautiful—spicy, creamy, and topped with citrus salmon gravlax. The tang of the yolk, the spice of the mustard, the creaminess of the mayo, and the saltiness of the salmon make these eggs very satisfying, both in the gustatory and nostalgic sense. They cost $9 at dinner and only $6 during happy hour. For an extra couple of bucks, you can up the fancy factor by ordering deviled eggs garnished with truffled ahi tartare.Anchovies & Olives, 1550 15th Ave., 838-8080. We ordered what sounded like an interesting finger food. What we got was an artist's palette of soft-boiled eggs draped with white anchovy and a serrano chile atop a bed of salsa verde made of parsley, garlic, lemon zest, and olive oil. They were almost too perfect-looking to eat. We got over that once we popped the first one into our mouth. The fat of the egg yolk cut the saltiness of the fish, and the salsa verde gave each egg a refreshing zing. The artistry that went into preparing this dish is worth the $9 we paid to eat it.The Champ: The deviled eggs at Seastar are everything you want a deviled egg to be: fatty, dainty, and nourishing with a kick of spice. The eggs at A&O were all those things, but more refined. Both eggs had just the right amount of spice—the "devil" in deviled eggs—and were flawlessly executed, but we give the Versus crown to A&O's eggs for their freshness and

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