The Best Dishes of 2011
By Mina Yamashita
No contest—my choice for No. 1 meal in 2011 is Masa’s omakase in New York City, and Prune is certainly in the top 10 (see Have Fork, Will Travel). But I’ve eaten some amazing food here at home this year. The dishes that follow, available on regular menus or as specials, stand out as top notch. I have a hard time distinguishing between them for quality and sheer enjoyment, so in no particular order:
Tagliatelle With Braised Brisket
My first meal at Torinos’ was an eye opener. The homemade tagliatelle noodles with braised brisket came in a deep bowl with braising liquid to sauce the dish. For dessert, a poached pear sitting on a base of sweetened mascarpone and drizzled with chocolate convinced me that I would be back for more.
Chef Christophe Descarpentries outdid himself with his bouillabaisse, a Mediterranean fish stew rich with saffron, imported rascasse (rockfish), clams, mussels and shrimp laced with potatoes and vegetables. The stock was reduced seven times, and I tasted the care in every bite. Also on the list is his poule au pot, which I’ve singled out before [ “Taste of the Town,” Oct. 27-Nov. 2].
Pork Belly Hash
This hearty breakfast started my day off right and stuck to my ribs. Chunks of tender pork belly and sweet potatoes shared the plate with poached eggs, fresh fruit and Grove toast.
Pork belly again—with braised lettuce, grilled tomatoes and a secret sauce. Jennifer James knows how to make simple food extraordinary.
Ribs, Wraps and Satay
I thoroughly enjoy the variety of ingredients and textures I find at StreetFood Asia, but I especially liked the ribs, wings and satay in the grilled meat sampler. I chose steamed rice and lettuce wraps to fill the table.
Christmas Duck Dinner
Chef Claus made it just the way his Danish grandmother did: slow-roasted duck stuffed with apples and prunes, with braised red cabbage, caramelized baby potatoes and homemade pickles.
Count on newcomer Chef Elvis Bencomo to take a fish taco to new heights. The flavor of banana-crusted filets, guacamole, slaw and sauce almost burst out of their tortillas.
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