Okay, my turn. Most of Brett’s dishes I agreed with (although as much as I loved the brisket at Rose’s Luxury, it was a little too fatty for my taste). Here are a few others that I loved from this year, and would get again in 2014 in a heartbeat.
Brussels Sprouts – The Red Hen
We went here for my birthday, and it was a perfect meal. I loved everything we got, but my favorite part might have been the side of Brussels sprouts that we ordered as an afterthought. They were perfectly crispy without being too dry or too oily, and were served atop a garlic and dill aioli. I could have eaten an entire dish of it all to myself.
Popcorn Soup with Lobster – Rose’s Luxury
Brett already mentioned the brisket, which was the main event of our meal. I have to say the standout dish for me was the popcorn soup with grilled lobster. The only way I could describe the flavor was that it was similar to eating a buttered popcorn Jelly Belly. You know it isn’t popcorn, but it sure as hell tastes like it. It was smooth and velvety without being heavy, and the lobster pieces found at the bottom were the icing on the cake. It was so unique that I felt like I with every spoonful I had to comment about how much I was in awe of the dish.
Schmutzy Fries – DGS Delicatessen
We’re already big fans of DGS, and have been before for brunch and lunch. We decided to check it out for dinner when my brother and sister-in-law were in town, and we instantly decided to start off our meal with an order of the Schmutzy Fries. It was basically poutine, or disco fries from a New Jersey dinner, but the toppings instead were what you would find on a Reuben: corned beef, sauerkraut, melted Swiss, Russian dressing, and harissa. In other words, amazing.
Pork and Crispy Rice Cake in a Sweet and Sour Sauce with Vegetables – Sichuan Jin River
So this may not be the real name of the dish, but it was how it was described to me. Between the crispy rice cake that soaked in the sauce to comb-shaped Chinese mushrooms, I couldn’t get over how delicious and complex this dish was. After getting something like this, it makes it hard to go back to a generic Chinese takeout place.
Olive Oil Ice Cream – Jaleo
I would say that hands down the most unique dessert we had in 2013 was the olive oil ice cream dish at Jaleo. What seemed like a simple dish on paper was actually a scoop of olive oil ice cream surrounded by fresh grapefruit, a grapefruit granita, and topped with candied grapefruit. If you dipped your spoon so you had every component together for each bite, it was a perfect blend of flavors.
Okonomiyaki – Maketto
This was a Japanese-style pancake with so many layers to it. Pork belly, shrimp, shaved mackerel, vegetables. There’s a lot going on in this dish that I was fortunate enough to try at the Maketto pop-up at Hanoi House earlier this fall. If this is any indication of what’s to come from Erik Bruner-Yang’s new restaurant opening in early 2014, then you can be sure to wait hours for a table here just like people do at Toki. If only we can make it to either one!
Grilled Trout – Et Voila
We went here back in February, and it still stands out as my favorite fish dish of the year. Sometimes simple is better, and this was perfectly grilled trout. The grill marks added a smoky flavor to the fish, and the champagne sauce with leeks was lovely to dip it in.