I must admit that doing this was not easy as each were great in their own way. As with my normal "tiers" these rankings take all facets of the meal into consideration. Food is the primary component but phenomenal wine or simply a great time can bolster the ranking.
Big thanks to all of the chefs, kitchen crews, managers, sommeliers, bartenders, servers and support staff for making 2013 another happy year for my belly!!
15 & 14
13, 12 & 11
10, 9 & 8
7 & 6
5. Cobaya Compton at Scarpetta. Fine dining at its best. Salumi, sweetbreads, gemelli with pinks and ricci di mare plus a dynamite duo of pork. Nina delivered a diverse and well executed meal coupled with great wine and top notch service. Add her to the list of rising young stars in Miami. My original recap is here.
Tie 3. CobayaBelly with Chef Jose Mendin at PB Steak. Delicious, creative, unique, lively and fun. A Cobaya Home Run. After we locked in a date for this - four months in advance, a Cobaya record and not even close - Jose asked me what he should do. I told him what I tell every participating chef, have fun and cook whatever you want. His one line email response "I can do that." A week before the dinner he asked to meet in order to make sure his vision and dishes weren't too extreme. He whipped out a laptop which had an outline and menu and I think I saw some blood splatter too. My glance was very quick, I smiled widely and said perfect. And he nailed it. Jose is an energetic, passionate, creative and impressive all around chef. My original recap of the dinner is here.
Tie 3. Cobaya Pirolo at Macchialina. The pasta king delivered a delicious and fun meal despite no power for most of the day. An impressive display of formaggi, salumi and stuzzichini and we were on our way. A dynamite pea raviolini with spring garlic and speck was blown away by a squid ink spaghetti with sea urchin and lobster. And then it happened. The polenta bomb. Out came Mike and his talented sous for the night, Nina carrying huge boards topped with polenta that was topped with crispy quail and terrific tripe. Impressive. I think I could eat this meal everyday. My original recap is here.