Best of 2012

As I looked back on the past year I was seriously humbled by the amount of amazing places I've had the opportunity to enjoy.  I am so lucky to live in this wonderful city and don't take a moment for granted.  Hopefully this will serve as a guide for those of you trying to pick out some tasty meals in 2013.  It's not all new for 2012 but it was all new to me! Enjoy!

Best Chocolatier- Chocolat Moderne

This little shop on the 9th floor of an office building may be challenging to find but impossible to forget. Joan and her husband are creating incredible combinations such as Dark Chocolate Lime Toffee, Salted Espresso Milk Chocolate Caramel and Kalamto Olive with Sea Salt.  The patterns are almost to beautiful to eat but don't let the look fool you...they're way to delicious to leave for eyes only.

Best Brunch (High End)- Locanda Verde

From the warm seasonal doughnuts (think apple cider in fall and fresh blueberry in summer) to the fluffy ricotta pancakes...Loconda Verde has everything you could want in a brunch outing.  The food is fabulous, the scene is lively and the setting is gorgeous.  

Best Brunch (Low End)- Fonda

This airy East Village joint is a great place to unwind and enjoy a delicious Mexican brunch.  The Huevous Divorciados are excellent and the complimentary Rosalita Margarita is a perfect way to start off the weekend.

Best Bar Snack-  Sweetbread Crousillant at The NoMad

Rich, creamy sweetbreads inside a salty, crunchy crepe...these little guys are addictive.

Best Pastry- The DKA at Dominique Ansel

There are so many great pastries at Dominique this was a very tough decision but the DKA wins out.    Ultra light, flaky layers of buttery dough with a sparkly sugar top...I said it once before and I'll say it again...this is pastry perfection.

Best Tzatziki Sauce- Avli

I was so lucky to be introduced to this little Greek restaurant this year.  I'm such a big fan of Greek food but nothing has ever blown me away as much as their Tzatziki sauce.  It's rich and creamy with just a bit of's a mandatory stop everytime I'm out in Bayside and I can't imagine it getting any better than this.

Best Mexican Experience- Empellon Cocina

My memory of the meal at Empellon is filled with lots of oohs and aahs and a few eye rolling back in head moments... When I first tasted that decadent Lobster in Tetilla Cheese I think I stopped breathing a bit.  I bounced back only after tasting the incredibly creative and mind boggling flavors in the 29 ingredient Squid.  This is serious Mexican food that deserves all the attention it receives.

Best Fried Chicken- Bobwhite Counter

I had to add this to my "Best of" list because Mr. T loved it so much.  He's pretty much obsessed with Fried Chicken and this was perfection to him.  Although I'm no expert the crunchy coating on the skin and moist poultry was incredibly satisfying.

Best Combination - Oysters & Pearls at Per Se

I wasn't sure how to name this category...all I know is that the combination "Sabayon" of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar made me stop dead in my tracks.  The textures and flavors were absolutely stunning.  Easily my favorite dish at Per Se.

Best Combination (Runner Up)- Pearl Barley and Clams at Acme

I'm not a barley lover and this dish completely blew my mind.  The creamy roasted sunflower broth, sweet fish and earthy grains blended perfectly into an incredibly homey and savory dish.

Best Reason to Get on the PATH Train- Thirty Acres

Mr. T started working in Jersey City this year and he was less than thrilled at the food prospects.  Luckily Thirty Acres opened and we have been enjoying weeknight dinners together ever since.  The menu changes frequently based on season which means each dish is fresh and creative.  The atmosphere is laid back and the BYOB policy is a great excuse to pick up a fabulous drink from the beer/wine shop next store.

Best Meal of 2013 - Tied

Matyson (Philadelphia)

This quiet, unassuming BYOB restaurant in Philadelphia is what good dining is all about.  From the caviar toast in the Golden Beet Soup to the short rib and sweetbreads in the Beet "Ravioli", this five course beet tasting was extraordinary...the bargain basement price tag of $45 was quite extraordinary as well.

Mr. T's birthday dinner was absolutely unbelievable   Each and every course was inventive, exciting and completely unlike anything I have ever experienced in Korean cuisine   We were blown away by both the food and service.

Best New Opening- The NoMad

Paris is Burning at the bar, Roasted Squash with sage for brunch,  Milk and Honey for dessert...I swear this place has everything I could ever want and more.  Alright maybe the rooftop could have been a little better but one bite of that glorious Whole Roasted Chicken with Foie Gras, Black Truffle and Brioche can make me forget just about anything.

Best of the Rest

Best Sandwich- Smoked Brisket at Mile End

Best Vegetarian Dish- Tofu with Ginger Scallion at Danji
Best Mozzarella Sticks- Parm
Best Cocktail- Graffiti Green at Acme
Best Chicken Wings- Blondies
Best New Steak Tartare- Ken & Cook