Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best Dishes 2011

I initially decided that I wasn't going to write about my favorites dishes of 2011 because I didn't take any real food related trips this year.  My 2010 Best Dishes list was littered with gems from San Francisco, Napa, Charleston and Boston in addition to some great local standouts. But when I started to review my year in food I realized that I ate even better meals this year that featured some mutha fuckin kick ass dishes right here in my own backyard.   

I intended on limiting the ranking to my top 25 but after studying my notes, posts and tweets, I ended up with double that amount.  Thus, I decided to go with 35 again this year. (plus three for good luck...)  Each dish listed was outstanding and brings back really fond memories. Unfortunately a lot of them were on special menus and may not be available at the restaurants on a daily basis.  However, if they are you should order and enjoy them.

There are no repeats from prior lists.  These are dishes that I experienced for the first time in 2011.

As you will see, it was a great year for wagyu, foie and pork belly.

Thank you to all the chefs out there that help make 2011 a great year!!

Drum roll please....

Honorable mention to two great cocktails I had from Bar Lab.  The Bacon and Bourbon, Benton's washed cream soda at Chef Jeremiah's P.I.G. III and their modern old fashioned served at the Common Threads World Event.

And best breakfast/brunch dish goes to the octopus omelette with chorizo- Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

38. Uni okay this was on last years list but it was my first bite of 2011 just past midnight on 1/1/11 paired with Cristal compliments of Chef Corey. Outstanding!!- Naoe

37. Grandma & Sicilian Pies- King's County Pizza

36. Shrimp Po-Boy- Rum Cake Factory

35. African spiced wild boar tenderloin with gumbo braised shank, whipped peanut sauce, caramelized yams, plantain coins, kale- Market 17 (Cobaya Dinner)

34. Duck Ropa Vieja with lake meadows hen egg and parsnip puree- Sustain (Burgundy Dinner)

33. Squab Bao- Chowdown Grill (Cobaya Dinner)

32. Crispy Pig's Head Ballotine with Asian pear, spicy mustard and crostini American Noodle Chef Michael Bloise (currently at Sushi Samba)

31. Egg Yolk Carpaccio with sweet shrimp topped w/ crispy shoestring potatoes- Sra. Martinez

30. Bánh Cuốn - "Oodles of Noodles" - rice crepes, roast pork, wood ear mushrooms, bean sprouts, crispy fried shallots, salty pork terrine, fresh cilantro and mint and Vietnamese fish sauce- Phuc Yea!

29. Crackly Pork Belly & Bacon Brussels Sprouts Riesling Dinner at Blue Piano Chef Cesar Zapata (The Federal- coming soon)

28. Benton's Ham Fried Rice- jasmine rice, scallion, poached egg. Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog & the gastroPod (P.I.G. III)

27. Pork Belly Cuban sandwich- Tudor House

26. Live Scallop topped with caviar and meyer lemon- Bourbon Steak (Montille Burgundy Dinner)

25. Orange Clam - Makoto

24. Osetra Caviar, Stone Crab, Yuzu, Taro- Mound of sweet stone crab meat topped with a generous layer of Osetra caviar and paired with an awesome champagne- Bourbon Steak (birthday tasting menu

23. Lamb Belly with Cauliflower - Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog (Cobaya Dinner)

22. Cured Foie Gras Country Duck Ham - frisee, pickled mango, scarlet beet puree, duck fat vinaigrette. The Local (Cobaya Dinner

21. Chawan Mushi Carbonara, custard, dashi broth, bacon served in the shell of the duck egg. Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog (Cobaya Dinner)

 20. Smoked Octopus, cauliflower-vadouvan puree, burnt babbaganoush, crispy cauliflower leaves- Azul (tasting menu and Cobaya Dinner)

19. Parsnip Soup- local royal red shrimp, brown butter, parsley. Bowl licking good- Bourbon Steak (birthday tasting menu)

18. Carnaroli Risotto, Basil Snails, 63 degree Organic Egg, Chantrerelles, Nasturtiums on an aromatic "forest floor" - Azul (Cobaya Dinner)

17. Imperial Farms Wagyu New York strip "A3", chestnut potato puree, brussels sprouts, charred onion, red sorrel- Bourbon Steak (birthday tasting menu)

16. Alba White Truffle Risotto- Perfectly cooked Japanese rice topped with first of the season Alba whites- Bourbon Steak (birthday tasting menu)
15.  Diver Scallop, crab, farro, chorizo, English peas, coconut broth - Area 31 (Cobaya Dinner)

14. Wagyu Picanha (Sirloin Cap), blistered tomato, salsa criolla. Chef Jeffrey Brana (wagyu tasting)

13.  Beef Duo "72"  Snake River Farms A9 wagyu strip, 72hr. wagyu short rib, marble patatas bravas, parsley root, Castello Vetrano olive. Wagyu was awesome but the mini potatoes bumped this dish up the list.  Azul (Cobaya Dinner)

12. Oyster Chawan Mushi with Scallop and Uni Ceviche- Custard steamed in oyster shell topped with mushroom and green onions. Paired with a poached scallop topped with uni. Chef Michelle Bernstein (Cobaya Dinner)

11. Pistachio Sponge Cake, Lemon Cremeux, Green Apple Sorbet, Greek Yogurt- I'm a non dessert fan and look where this landed in a sea of wagyu, pork belly and foie. Enough said. This Star Chef has mad skills.  Chef Antonio Bachour (St. Regis) (Cobaya Jeremiah)

10. Chupe de Mariscos with Squid Ink Croquetas. Sous vide cooked shrimp, paiche, mussels, purple potatoes and a fried quail egg paired with a killer broth were great but the black squid ink risotto croquetas stole the show and are the reason for the top ten ranking. Chef Michelle Bernstein (Cobaya Dinner)

9. Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras- matsutake consomme, breakfast radish, shiso leaf. Bourbon Steak (birthday tasting menu)

8. Foie Gras Fluff- smoked peach puree, crispy basil sponge, pineapple, tamarind gastrique- Area 31 (Cobaya Dinner and Common Threads Dinner)

7. Wagyu Ribeye featuring potatoes cooked in beef tallow, butter poached breakfast radish, braised lettuce, bordelaise. Chef Jeffrey Brana (wagyu tasting)

6. Whole Roasted Foie Gras- with garden vegetables and carrot-orange sauce. Chef Michelle Bernstein (Cobaya Dinner)

5. Robata Grilled Pork Belly- with red miso aioli, king crab, liquid gel pickled ginger, served on a shiso leaf - Azul (Common Threads World Festival) 

4. Sour Orange-Lychee "fire glazed" Florida Pompano, calabaza hash, agua de coco callaloo- Most flavorful fish dish I've ever had period. Explosive!  Kris Wessel/Red Light (Common Threads Dinner) 

3. Beetzanella- Beet salad with 32 Components, Wisconsin Bleu Panna Cotta,
Brioche, Gorgonzola Snow - Azul (Cobaya Dinner)

2. Bacon Eggs & Toast- 12 hour suckling pig, tempura duck egg, bacon air, black truffle pomme puree, and pork jus- Azul (tasting menu)

1. The Mangalitsa Belly- Prepared sous vide with saikyo miso, heart of Chinese cabbage, chives, turnips, and ginger oil. Melt in your mouth pork belly coupled with amazing flavor and texture- Chef Jeffrey Brana


Ethan Shapiro said...

@TheChowfather these are some amazing dishes. I'm a bit in awe of your year. May 2012 be even sweeter. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Okay, that's it. I'm making attending Cobaya dinners a priority.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for always keeping it real. Would love to see your worst dishes list but knowing your style doubt you will kick them while they are down.

The Chowfather said...

Thanks Ethan. Hope you will join us for another Cobaya.

Anon- Just do it!!

Anon- A worst dish post would be waaay tooo long.

Carlos A. said...

What a year! Clearly you have earned the ChowFather moniker many times over. It's quite a thrill to have shared a few of those dishes with you. Cheers to an even better 2012!!