Alpharetta restaurant offers a colorful winter crab treat

Dish of the Week: Potato gnocchi at Lapeer Seafood Market

The foods we typically associate with cooler weather tend to be hearty, dense and earthy, like beef stew or pot roast. But, the winter months also are the high season for many types of seafood. In downtown Alpharetta, Lapeer Seafood Market celebrates the season with color and excitement. The restaurant's potato gnocchi, which features fat chunks of Jonah crab, is an excellent example.

Scattered throughout the dish, the plentiful Jonah crab (a relative of stone crab) is tender and sweet. The chunks are so large that you might mistake a piece of crab for some gnocchi, a happy surprise if there ever was one. The gnocchi isn’t just a vehicle for the crab, either. It’s made in-house, with the right ratio of potato to flour. The individual pieces melt in your mouth, with none of the chewiness of the store-bought stuff.

Even more flavor and color come from the winter vegetables studded throughout the dish’s cream sauce. Bright orange butternut squash and green celeriac, bolstered by celery leaves and bright-green chive oil, give the plate a rather summery palate, while lending the earthy note you expect in early winter. It’s an addictive combination that’s rich, without being heavy, and luxurious, without being pretentious.

In Lapeer’s luminous dining room, the potato gnocchi and crab cast winter in a new light.

Lapeer Seafood Market. 12 N. Broad St., Alpharetta. 678-691-9400,