Each year, I do a blog anniversary post listing my top 5 meals of the previous 365 days. I wanted to create a post highlighting the individual dishes that made me smile and kept me coming back for more. I haven’t really ranked anything, nor created a limit for the number that can be shown here; these are the ones that really struck me this year.
Below are my favorite dishes in 2012, in alphabetical (by restaurant) order.
5×5 Chefs Collaborative Dinner @ Melisse (Santa Monica, CA)
Angelini’s Homemade Spaghetti Chitarra alla Norcina with Sausage, Spring Truffles, Parmigiano-Reggiano
Perfect al dente pasta, a little bit of meaty sausage, cheese and truffles created a simple, well-balanced plate of flavors. So good!
Angelini Osteria (Los Angeles, CA)
Lasagna Verde “Omaggio Nonna Elvira” with Beef and Veal Ragu
Hearty, rich and soul-satisfying. Is it the veal and beef ragu that elevates this dish so much, or is it the cheesy bechamel or the housemade pasta? Probably all three.
Kohaku (Tokyo, Japan)
Fried Oyster and Chestnut with Truffle Sauce
The oysters were so delicately fried with a crispy outside and juicy inside. Shaved truffles and an addicting truffle sauce really took the dish to greater heights.
LudoBites Best of Foie Gras (Los Angeles, CA)
Foie Gras Black Croque-Monsieur
One of Ludo Lefebvre’s most well-known dishes was the perfect send-off to the now-banned ingredient. Squid ink-dyed bread was toasted just right, with an oozing foie gras terrine on the inside.
Pierre Gagnaire (Tokyo, Japan)
Taraba Crab Meat, Wild Mushrooms Fricassee with Autumn Fruits, Bouillon of Sauternes
This was an umami-packed broth that was just so delicious – earthy and slightly sweet. Topping it with lumps of sweet, fresh crab was a perfect touch.
RyuGin (Tokyo, Japan)
Premium Sea Urchin from Hokkaido in Lace Wrapping Deep Fried Rare with Edamame Beans Paste
The textures in these bites were so memorable, with a light crispy batter and soft, silky uni. It tasted amazing too, with the clean sea urchin flavor coming through beautifully.
RyuGin (Tokyo, Japan)
Wagyu Beef Filet Grilled on Charcoal with Assortment of Vegetables
My second trip to RyuGin delivered this highlight. Here, the over-the-top fattiness of Japanese wagyu was in the form of relatively lean filet mignon; the opposites created a fantastic middle-ground. The result was something that was extremely tender, yet also very juicy and succulent. Crisp veggies provided just a little bit of textural crunch to lighten things up a bit.
Tsujita LA (Los Angeles, CA)
I’m not sure how many times I’ve had this bowl this year, which justified a cross-town trip multiple times (and even a trip to the main branch in Tokyo, which serves a very similar bowl). I still remember loving it from the first bite: the thick, al dente noodles and umami-packed soup. I just wish there was a way to keep the soup hot throughout.
Happy eating in 2013!