I decided mid way through the year that I wasn't going to do a best meal or best dish list this year because there were already way too many great ones in the mix. From the delicious and fun visiting chef Pop Up Series hosted by chef Michael Schwartz at Harry's Pizzeria, to the great monthly themed dinners hosted by chef Aaron Brooks at Edge Steak & Bar, to some wonderful wine and champagne dinners along the way and of course, the "underground and experimental" dinners we throw with some creative and talented chefs over at Cobaya Miami.
But some of these meals were truly exceptional and memorable. And I wanted to go back and give them the credit they deserve.
I must admit that ranking these meals was very difficult as all were truly outstanding. As with my normal "tiers", these rankings take all facets of the meal into consideration. While food is the primary component, phenomenal wine or simply a great time will bolster ones rating.
I intended on limiting the list to my Top Twelve for 2012 but it was impossible to cut down to 12. Thus, I went with my top Fifteen plus a tie.
Big thanks to all of the chefs, kitchen crews, managers, sommeliers, bartenders, servers and support staff for making 2012 another happy year for my belly!!
The first entrant into the Top Ten of 2012 was an outstanding meal that I failed to write about. It was a Tasting of Bordeaux featuring the wines of Chateau Troplong & Chateau Climens at Bourbon Steak.
It's no secret that I am a big fan of the cooking of chef Gabriel Fenton. He is as talented as they come and very deserving of a James Beard semi finalist nomination. I hope this is the year.
The pours were obviously nothing short of amazing and Gabe's delicious food provided a perfect match.
Gabe started us off with a delicious amuse buche consisting of a wonderful scallop topped with a dollop of caviar. This was paired with a favorite champagne of mine, Paul Dethune, Ambonnay.
Gabe is a master when it comes to foie gras preparations and this was no exception. Here he prepared a Hudson Valley foie gras terrine paired with a shortbread rhubarb and topped with basil seeds. The Bordeaux pairing was a Chateau Climens, Barsac 2006.
A perfectly cooked Colorado lamb chop was accompanied by a very nice Yukon gold potato gnocchi, mint, ricotta and English peas. We were treated to two outstanding pairings with this course. A Mondot, Saint-Emillion 2007 and a Troplong Mondot 1er Cru Classe Saint-Emillion 2009.
Whenever I recommend Bourbon Steak to people, I stress that it's more than a steakhouse despite the name. This is true but make no mistake, they serve great steaks. For this dinner, Gabe opted for a wood-grilled New York strip pave paired with a Maine lobster bearnaise. A trio of classic Bourbon Steak sides rounded out the dish. The fantastic juice kept flowing. Troplong Mondot, 1er Cru Classe Saint-Emillion 2000 and 1998.
Pastry chef Andrea Sans-Araiza ended the night with a coconut bread pudding, blackberries and white chocolate ice cream. The last pour of the night was a 1975 Barsac from Chateau Climens.
Fairmont Turnberry Isle Hotel
19999 West Country Club Drive
Miami, FL 33180-2401
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