Along with the Best New Restaurants of 2010, I've compiled a list of my favorite dishes from restaurants I reviewed this year. Here are the first 10 of 20 not-to-be-missed items, in no particular order:
• Biscuits and gravy too often goes wrong--too salty, too gluey, too leaden, etc. But Be'wiched's Sunday brunch version is light and balanced, yet just as rich and indulgent as the classic.
• Love steak? Try the 16-ounce rib eye at The Hanger Room, which is dry-aged on premise for 42 days to take on a depth of character like that of a fine wine. (Though actually the drink of choice here is the beet-infused Blood of Christ cocktail.)
• The McKee/Christianson reboot of Il Gatto brought this gem to the menu: slow-cooked, cured swordfish served with heirloom tomatoes, radishes, and tonatto sauce.
• Dim sum is the best meal at Thom Pham's Wondrous Azian Kitchen, particularly the chiu chow dumplings stuffed with pork, scallions, and nuts, but I also loved the fried taro balls and sesame buns.
• The charcuterie plate and the burger at Travail Kitchen & Amusements are both amazing (pair them with a Surly "Fender" if both Bender and Furious are on tap) but the restaurant's must-order is the multicourse dessert tasting, a carnival ride of treats served with a bit of science-class flourish.
• Heartland moved to new digs, but still highlights the best Midwestern ingredients, such as rainbow trout paired with a summer bounty of sweet corn, roasted peppers, tomato, and Swiss chard.
• This summer's street food explosion brought several boons, among them the lobster roll at Smack Shack, Texas toast piled with sweet, pink-speckled meat so fresh you'd think you were in Montauk.
• Another street food wonder: the lip-smacking curried chicken banh mi sandwich at Saffron's World Street Kitchen, which is well among the best executions of the French/Vietnamese classic in town.
• Moroccan food is hard to find in this town, but the best tagines are had at David Fhima's Faces, where they show up occasionally as specials, decadent with spice.
• While I loved the classic cannelloni and not-at-all-classic seared sockeye salmon with spinach, peas, and preserved lemons, Parma 8200 offers a vegetable side I'd never pass up: asparagus spears served with toasted hazelnuts, brown butter, and a soft, ripe burrata cheese.
The year's Top 20 Dishes continues tomorrow...