Leftovers: 10 More Astonishing Dishes That Didn't Quite Make My Top 11

The sandwich called King Patacon at the café called King Patacon

It was a tough call which 11 dishes astonished me the most last year. Here are 10 more candidates that nearly make the grade, in no particular order.

King Patacon at King Patacon (above) -- Substituting rounds of green plantain that were sat on by an elephant and then fried instead of bread, and then making a very gloppy sandwich with pulled pork, greenery, tomatoes, and Russian dressing, the thing is a bitch to eat, but supremely tasty. 42-19 102nd Street, Queens, 347-242 2430

Meat Ball at Taiwanese Specialties -- Despite the fact that this wiggly dish is the last thing you'd label a meatball, that's what it's called on the English menu at Taiwanese Specialties, a place that specializes in the home-style cooking of the island. The jellylike matrix is studded with bits of meat and pickled veggies, and it's really fun to eat. 84-02 Broadway, Queens, 718-429-4818

Grilled Sardines With Pickled Lotus Root at St. Anselm -- Studded with peppercorns, laked in oil, the fish are striped like prison window bars and sided with perforated rounds of pickled lotus root, making one of the world's most perfect flavor contrasts -- yet also not one you would think of right off the bat. 355 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-384-5054

Short Rib With Spaetzle at Heartbreak (closed) -- Rue the day that Heartbreak closed -- just after receiving a coveted food award. The city was thus deprived of an amazing hunk of short rib, cloaked in a gravy darker than midnight, with spaetzle poking up through the gravy like the larvae of some delectable insect.

Pig Ear at Allswell -- According to most authorities, pig ear is best cut in strips, poached or sautéed, and used in a salad, or cut up small and put in fritters. Not so at newcomer Allswell, where an entire ear is fried to gummy crunchiness, and it's gonna take several friends and you to finish it, and even then you risk being so full you can't continue with the meal. 124 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, 347-799-2743

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