Best dish of 2016

So in honor of @MZ 's famous annual thread, what was your favorite dish this year? I believe @seal helped out with last year on chowhound too. Z man, hope all is well bud. Hopefully you can chime in and catch this one.

I have to think about mine :slight_smile:

Happy new year everyone!


There is no way I could choose one “best dish” from among the prodigious number of fantastic dishes we were served in restaurants this year.

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I feel like this should be moved to the general boards!

Anyway, this year I made my first return to S. Korea in about 17 years. I moved to the US from Korea back in 91 and my favorite food from Korea at the time was a spicy rice cake dish made at a local dive spot. This is where my love and obsession of food really began. For the past couple decades, I would constantly dream of eating this dish in Korea. Hopeful to have that glorious taste in my mouth, yet fearful that one day it would close. Once the internet came around, I started searching for this place. I was shocked to see not only were they still opene, but they had gotten somewhat famous over the years, with food blogger paying regular visits.

I finally made it back there in August, and was able to have the food I had waited nearly 2 decades to try again. It was truly the most glorious moment of my food life this year. The place was empty except a family of three. We got to talking and we were the same age and had grown up in the same neighborhood and loving the same dish. He said he hadn’t been back in almost 20 years but rediscovered the place and now regularly return with his family. It was such a trip reminiscing about old times at our neighborhood with a complete stranger.

I hope this place stays open for another 30 years.

Here’s a blog post with more pictures, not my content though.


Ok for you I grant an exception to the best dish rule and you can mention a few of the best dishes you had in 2016!!

My favorite dish of the year was the wahoo in garlic sauce I had at the Driftwood in Aruba. There are a few reasons why it was my favorite; first of which is the fact I only have wahoo when I’m in Aruba but I do truly love it. It’s also my life goal to retire on that happy little island, so having the local fare just makes me feel a little bit closer to my eventual “home” I guess. If given the choice between a nice prime steak and the wahoo in garlic sauce I think the wahoo would win, I truly enjoy it that much. (I had posted a pic while I was away but I have since deleted it)


I’m going to go for best meal, which would have to be the lunch I had in November at the River Cafe in Brooklyn:

Sea Scallop and Foie Gras
sautéed Maine sea scallop, mango vinaigrette, seared foie gras,
Sauternes wine natural jus, smoked Spring onion confit

Niman Ranch Strip Steak
char-grilled with red wine mushroom marmalade,
whipped Russet potatoes

milk chocolate Marquise, raspberry sorbet,
vanilla ice cream, crisp meringue,
dark chocolate glaze

The service there is also great, everything I look for an a restaurant. Prompt, not obsequious. Table cloths, crystal, silver, fresh flowers everywhere and yet not pretentious.

And the best view of Manhattan, bar none.


I think we ended up splitting the thread last year into local vs not. My best local dish this year is always in my top 3 - the hot garlic wings at Jack’s Goal Line Stand in WLB. Also best happy hour deal as you can get as many as you like for 60 cents a wing.

My best dish overall was when I used over $30 in fresh uni from HMart to make uni butter for my homemade malfatti (italian for badly made). Best pasta I’ve eaten since Scarpetta in 2015.


Best meal for me was back on my parent’s ranch in South Dakota. A ribeye steak, grilled to medium with sautéed mushrooms and onions, finished with Mom’s rhubarb pie and ice cream. We ate out on the front porch watching the sunset over the Black Hills. My dad would hand raise a cow every year for slaughter. As it tuned out it was my Dad’s last one (He died in Oct.). I will remember that meal for a long time for many reasons.



My fave is the Shibuya Cube from After You in Bangkok - a stupendous buttery-sweet French toast on steroids. Copycats have sprung up from Singapore to Hong Kong, but NONE have approached the deliciousness of the original.
I fly to Bangkok just for it - this pic from Christmas Eve :slight_smile:


I concur! It would be neat to hear what everyone ate everywhere that was their favorite thing.

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You thinking about a place close to the Chicago outfits casino down there ? I hear the Daley’s are there often…

At least you will be able to get a Chicago style hot dog.


Whatever happened to Larry the Lobster?

Interesting that a lot of the comments have focused on the how, and why, and the with whom of the food…as opposed to the overall knock-your-socks off of the dish itself. I will continue in that vein.

First, just a couple weeks ago with my daughter at Del Posto in NYC. I received a timely offer for a “dinner with Lidia” As it turned out my daughter had just written a blog post for a course she is taking at Rutgers talking about how Lidia was her favorite chef, so in her words:

"I didn’t watch much TV growing up. We only had one in the house, and my dad was usually watching sports or some crime show that I was too afraid to watch. Sometimes, though, we would watch the cooking channel. Lidia reminded me of my aunts, so she was my favorite. I loved to watch her effortlessly roll out pasta dough on her spianatoia. “Tutti a tavola a mangiare!” was probably the first (polite) Italian phrase I learned.

I have a picture somewhere of me dressed up as a gladiator, holding a sword, with Lidia on in the background. I think it is a very fitting picture. I also have this picture from the time I met Lidia at a book signing. I cried a little.

I think I’ve read every single one of Lidia’s cookbooks, cover to cover. I idolize her a bit. When I told my cousin, who worked in the restaurant business, that my dream job was to work for Lidia, he told me that she had a reputation in the industry for being notoriously difficult to work with. It burst my bubble, but only a little bit. I still fantasize(d) about travelling through Italy with Lidia, trying different dishes and doing research for her many restaurants and cookbooks…"

At that dinner (which btw, was ridiculously good from soup to nuts) they served 100 layer lasagne. When we saw that on the menu we both thought there was a bit of hyperbole involved, but no…we stopped counting at 50 :smiley:

There would be my single favorite dish of 2016.

My single favorite NJ dish would be homemade tautog (blackfish) ceviche. The fish was caught with my son, and the recipe was given to me by a Peruvian friend. Lots of love in this dish as well:

So there you have it, honorable mention would go to any number of meals at our kitchen table, or Barnacle’s or B2 bistro (the horror, I know… :D) where the 4 of us were together to enjoy a meal.

May all of your 2017’s be happy and healthy and full of food. For me, 2016 was too full of food so I need to do something about that.:mask:


Rosie’s lists:

Nice post Tom. That tog ceviche looks great. Did you add any shellfish? That lasagna looks really unique. I am just wondering how they get the cheese in there :slight_smile:

@NotJrvedivici where do you stay in aruba? I’ve only been once and although nice, I prefer other islands a lot more. Maybe I missed the hotspots but where I was, it was way too commercialized for my tastes. I stayed at the Marriott stellaris I think…the one down toward the right end if looking out at the ocean. It had a casino.

I have a few decent dishes…will report back.

No, no shellfish. I did cut the pieces a little bigger there just to see what it would taste like. I also left the onion a little thicker than usual as well. Probably leave the bigger pieces of fish, and slice the onion thinner next time.

Yeah, not much room for cheese in there. Very lightly sauced and bechamel inside. Then cut and seared in a pan prior to service.

Wow–this is always so hard! I have to say that my NJ favorites from this year definitely include:

  1. Lamb chops at Aarzu in Freehold (thank you, @seal for that intro!)…when I declare something as THE BEST (in this case) lamb chop I’ve ever eaten, I can’t overlook that

  2. The Beekeeper’s Lament pizza at Talula’s in Asbury Park is without a doubt fantastic EVERY time. Great balance of spicy and sweet, and the crust is always perfect

  3. Chicken and Waffles at Cardinal Provisions in Asbury Park Another dish that’s perfectly balanced every time–again, spicy and sweet. Haven’t had anything bad at CP, but this is definitely my go-to.

  4. Not local, but any bowl of pho with my dad when I’m in FL, because it makes both of us SO happy to be dining together over one of our favorite foods. :blush:

More as I think of them…

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The tautog ceviche looks amazing. I used to think the fish had to be caught yourself since I never see any in fish markets. Belford Co-op sells them.

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They mainly head to chinatown. The smaller illegal fish pull the most money per pound (live.) The bigger ones don’t fetch as much. People will pay higher dollar for flounder and cod. Flounder was 14.99 a pound at food town 2 days ago…crazy.

Top meal of the year was at Hen of the Wood in Waterbury VT. I got wifey to buy into seeing my favorite band up in Burlington and booked a nice AirB&B on a 35 acre farm in nearby Shelburne and the promise of some fine dining and fun. I was blown away by this place (they have another in Burlington), and we opted for the more organic restaurant in Waterbury, as we spent a long weekend in VT visiting with friends and exploring new places.

As for the dinner? The smoked Hanger Steak with a nice crumple of Jasper Hill Farm Blue Cheese with a Kale gratin was memorable. The cider glazed turnips that I ordered as an extra side was outstanding (then again we both love fresh beets). A starter of fried oysters with lemon and parsley were simply delicious.

The capper? Having Hill Farmstead IPA on tap. For those who have ever quaffed a Heady Topper out of VT and been blown away, try a Hill Farmstead Edward, the next time you’re up in their neck of the woods. Amazing, beautiful beer.

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