Best of 2013

As I look back on the past year I'm shocked by how much delicious food was involved.  I didn't come even close to hitting all the restaurants on my 2013 Wish List.  I made it to only two out of fourteen...yet I still consider this year an incredible success of food and drink moments for both old favorites and brand new places.  To the list!

Best Wings- Pork Slope/Talde

This is a complete tie between Dale Talde's two Brooklyn restaurants.  Both are fried in rice flour for an ultra crisp exterior; the first coated in garlic, butter, Sriracha, Franks Red Hot and honey while the second combines crunchy peanuts, sweet chili and hot sauce.  I can't choose between the two and with both restaurants being just blocks apart there really isn't a need to:)

Best Foie Gras- Marc Forgione

There aren't enough words to adequately describe how silky and luxurious the Foie Gras is at Marc Forgione.  This may have been the best thing I've eaten all year.

Best Pizza- Paulie Gee's

There were two incredible reasons to hop on the G train this year and Paulie Gee's was one of them.  This man makes incredible pizza...chewy yet pliable crust with an excellent char on the edges and covered in a fantastic array of toppings like the Hellboy- fresh Mozzarella, Italian Tomatoes, Sopresseta, Parmigiano Reggiano and some Mike's Hot Honey on top.  It's the perfect balance of spicy and sweet.  My only regret is waiting so long to try this place out.  It really could have been on my "Best of 2010" list.

Best Lobster Roll- Eventide

Our trip to Maine was filled with tons of great seafood but one place clearly stood out from the rest. Eventide swaps out the normal top loading roll for soft steamed buns and stuffs them full of regular mayo lobster salad or a special one made with brown butter sauce.  I knew I loved them both but it wasn't until Eventide showed up at Star Chef's International Congress this year that I realized how much.  I practically hugged the guy when he gave me the last roll (sorry).

Best Menu Addition- Dino Poutine

Hot crispy fries smothered in thick beef gravy, smoky pulled pork and pimento cheese- ummm YES this is every bit as delicious as it sounds.  Available at both the Stamford and Brooklyn locations of Dinosaur BBQ.

Best New Bar- Torst

The other great reason to hop on the G train this year was the fantastic new bar from Brewer Jeppe Jernit- Torst.  The opening menu had so many different Cantillon bottles I was literally dizzy trying to decide what amazing beer to drink. The bar boasts a high tech "Flux Capacitor" system that ensures each beer is served at its proper temperature and carbonation level.  Pair that with the amazing decor and knowledgeable bartenders and this really is the opening of the year. 

Best Bar Snack- Luksus

Just looking at this photo makes me smile.  The whimsical ham chip at Luksus not only tastes delicious but is a classic example of the ingenious dishes rolling out of Daniel Burns kitchen.  It's light as air with a fantastic smoky flavor that's honestly tastes a little bit magical.

Best Breakfast Sandwich- Court Street Grocers

This is THE sandwich.  Fluffy eggs, crisp salty bacon, Cabot cloth-bound cheddar cheese and fresh arugula all on a buttery Bathazar bun.  It's what breakfast dreams are made of.

Best Coffee House- Taszo

I pretty much lived at this Washington Heights spot for a week in November.  The pastry case was always filled with fresh croissants from Balthazar, the coffee was perfect and the cheerful, friendly atmosphere couldn't be more conducive to a relaxing morning start.

Best Neighborhood Bar- One Mile House

This place has everything I look for in a great bar- incredible beer list, good food, outdoor space and friendly staff.  Mr. T and I spent more time here this year then one probably should at a a bar but I don't regret a single moment:)

Best Fancy Lunch- Juni

The dining room may be a bit sterile but there's nothing boring about Chef Shawn Hergatt's food at his newest restaurant Juni.  From the creamy olive tapenade with bread service to the delicately prepared seafood - this is five star cooking at its finest.

Best Meal of 2013- Matyson (Philadelphia)

I hate giving the best meal of the year to another city but Matyson continues to be absolutely amazing.  Mr. T and I went back in March for a pork tasting menu filled with BBQ Pig Tails, Chili Braised Pork Cheek and a Peanut Butter Mousse Cake that was downright amazing.  It's BYOB and the menu is just $35 on Sunday nights...really.

Best Dessert- The S'more at Dominique Ansel

He made the best pastry last year (DKA) and this year he's done it again with the incredible, edible S'more.  It's a sticky marshmallow treat filled with creamy custard, Graham crackers and crunchy chocolate wafers.  Monsieur Ansel is the real Willy Wonka making dessert dreams come true.

Best of the Rest

Best Sundae- Bourbon Butter Pecan at Char No. 4

Best Brisket- Delaney BBQ
Best Taco- Moroccan Tamb at Salvation Taco
Best Pasta- Cacio e Pere at Felidia
Best Go To Restaurant- Upstate Oyster Bar