Zachary Feldman's 11 Favorite Dishes from 2013
Isaan Thai food, micro-focused establishments, pastry celebrities, celebrity pastries, burgers with buns made of noodles -- this year had it all. As infuriating as the NYC trend machine can often be, the city's dining scene is as vibrant as ever and for that we can only be thankful. Here are some of the plates that wowed me in 2013.
Part of the omakase tasting at Tanoshi
11. Flock Dinner, lamb tartare
As the precursor to a mid-meal walk around the block (built into the procession of courses) at one of Corey Cova's free-form Flock Dinners, petite wood bowls held glistening cubes of lamb tartare slicked with raw quail egg and a punchy dose of ginger and scallion. Cova is a Momofuku vet, and the flavors here mimicked Momofuku Noodle Bar's ginger scallion noodles, which are themselves an interpretation of Great NY Noodletown's storied version.
10. Taqueria Rancho Escondido, barbacoa tacos
Fat-slicked shreds of spit-roasted goat anchor a plate of superior tacos at this family-run Mexican restaurant in the Bronx. The meat retains a crunchy char, smoky from the fire; tortillas sport heady masa aromatics; and the salsas burst with chilies and herbs.
9. Gwynnett St., blood dumplings
Folds of gently cooked parsnip noodles hide spongy hunks of pig's blood whipped into airy dumplings in this small plate from Gwynnett St.'s Justin Hilbert, who left the restaurant in April (since replaced by his sous Owen Clark). The blood's minerality plays off parsnip's earthiness and treviso chicory's bitterness, all tied together with slices of jammy roasted apple.
8. Tanoshi Sushi, Omakase
Hovering at around $60, Toshio Oguma's Yorkville hole-in-the-wall offers one of the city's more judicious omakases. Together with an apprentice, a porter, and a waitress, Oguma constructs a meal that includes uncommon offerings and techniques, like crab brains brushed onto rice or marinated yellowtail belly hiding under pickled cherry blossom leaves. The knife cuts on a piece of squid are so delicate the often chewy flesh is rendered velvet-soft.