A few weeks ago, I got some time off from work and used it to have an excellent meal at Seattle's Sitka & Spruce. One plate contained braised romano beans with tahini and another contained a carrot salad. Duplicating the romano beans doesn't seem that difficult (braise in stock or equivalent, put on a plate smeared with tahini), but duplicating the carrot salad does require a bit of trial and error.
The specific concept is approximately as follows:
1 carrot, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons golden raisins (or other varietal, since my local Whole Foods doesn't sell bulk golden raisins for some reason)
1/3 can garbanzo beans (I'm too lazy to cook my own)
1 tablespoon harissa
Oil, acid, spices, as desired
The garbanzo beans get some quality time in the food processor. I probably shouldn't add so much liquid next time, since they taste better firm. I also suspect that I should get them from a source other than Trader Joe's, since those aren't as good as I'd hoped. A bit of salt and olive oil also help here. I put a glob of beans on a plate and topped them with the harissa. Yum.
Meanwhile, I boiled the carrot pieces for about ten minutes, let them cool, and then tossed them with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a tiny bit of ground cloves or allspice or whatever it was I found in the pantry. All of this was added to the beans and harissa. For a good time, I sprinkled sesame seeds atop the whole thing (the original used black sesame seeds, but I only have the white oens)
Even if you don't get the proportions or texture right, it's a really spectacular combination. The carrots and raisins are sweet in different ways, and the combination is a great foil for the lemon juice. Combined with the spicy-bitter harissa and the savory-beany garbanzos, this is a surprisingly complex "salad".
This is the best thing about restaurants that specialize in simple, delicious food: it's delicious at the restaurant and I can create a reasonable facsimile at home. You are all invited tomorrow, when I try to turn the rest of the beans into a better approximation of the original.