Corner Table's Pork Belly, 50 Favorite Dishes, no. 1

Photo courtesy of Corner Table
True love tastes like this

The flutter and blush of possibility that grips your heart and throat is so familiar. From the first playground crush, we've learned that we can't always trust when the whole world seems to stop for one anticipatory moment. It's a physical reaction. You suck in your breath, your pupils dilate, and your tongue takes an unconscious stroll over your lips. You don't want to get too excited, knowing that what at first feels like love can so often go horribly awry. A cavalcade of pyrotechnic explosions can fizzle into a dark heart of nothing. Meanwhile, a soft glow of something beautiful can be coaxed into a long burning fire full of sustaining beauty. To tend that fire, to encourage that long-term affection, takes time, patience, and tenacity.

When Corner Table changed hands, it seemed as if the beauty that was a divine pork dish served by the chef there would never be the same. And it wasn't; however, on our first visit Thomas Boemer served his take on pork belly and that telltale dish returned. In all the time since, Corner Table 2.0 has found its delicious groove. After a few more iterations of pork belly, it's safe to declare that this is a full-blown love for the ages.

See Also:

More »

Sweet Science's rhubarb cinnamon almond ice cream: 50 Favorite Dishes, No. 2

Courtesy Sweet Science Facebook page
After a short hiatus, 50 Favorite Dishes is back counting down the best things we've tasted this year.

More than any other dessert, ice cream seems to be the great unifier. Young or old, hungry or full, even if you're not "a sweets person" ice cream always sounds like a pretty good idea. Between Grand Old Creamery, Pumphouse, Izzy's, and Sebastian Joe's we have plenty of excellent local options, but there's a (relatively) new small batch producer that is really putting the proverbial cherry on top of the very real sundae. 

See Also:
More »

La Belle Vie's sweet pea tortelli: 50 Favorite Dishes, no. 3

Joy Summers
Surrounded by elegance and exquisite food

No matter if you're rolling in a hooptie. Step inside La Belle Vie and be transported to an opulent world where every aspect of the restaurant functions at the pinnacle of fine dining.

See Also:

More »

Harriet Brasserie's tres leches cake: 50 Favorite Dishes, no. 4

Courtesy Harriet Brasserie Facebook page
Tres leches for miles at a local competition

I once heard someone, who was obviously not a fan of this traditional Latin American dessert, describe tres leches as "cake soaked in a bunch of canned milk." That definition, though unjust, is not technically incorrect. Tres leches, or three milk cake, is one of those dishes that makes you wonder about its origins. Who was the first person to go to the trouble of whipping up egg whites until foamy, carefully folding them into the batter, patiently waiting for the cake to bake and cool, before finally turning out that oddly flexible sponge, only to go crazy on it with a fork and poke a hundred little holes in it? Probably someone as strange and wonderful as this cake itself.

As simple and conceptually sound as tres leches is, there are a lot of ways to mess it up. Too much liquid will destroy the lovely aerated texture of the cake. The wrong ratio of condensed milk to the others can make for an overly sweet dessert. Harriet Brasserie's version not only avoids these pitfalls, but improves the classic dish with a few subtle tweaks that make all the difference.

See Also:

More »

Burch's steak: 50 Favorite Dishes, no. 5

Benjamin Carter Grimes
Now, that's a steak

Oh, glorious hunk of charred beef. No matter what the health-food wonks say, there is a time and place for a primal hunk of red meat. No matter the reason or heft of your red-meat desire, Burch Steak has a cut to satisfy.

More »

Rincon 38's Pulpo: 50 Favorite Dishes, No. 6

Benjamin Carter Grimes
Fired potatoes and arms of the sea (with suction cups), together at last
When Hector Ruiz's Rincon 38 opened just a few months back on the corner of 38th & Grand in Kingfield - an increasingly popular intersection for gourmands and they restaurants they frequent - we expected to enjoy some small bites and some Spanish wines. What we didn't expect was to become such fervent fans of a plate of octopus. 
More »

The Strip Club's Tenderloin Schiacciatta: 50 Favorite Dishes, no. 7

So much flavor and texture in just one dish

When dining at the Strip Club Meat and Fish, a diner needs a strategy. It's best to bring a couple of friends, people who are good at pacing themselves, and attack the menu. Order a pile of small plates and prepare to share. A great time can easily be derailed by one fussbudget who refuses to share their food -- especially if they order the Tenderloin Schiacciatta, a perfect plate of textures and flavors that encapsulates what is so wonderful about the Strip Club Meat and Fish.

More »

Lucia's chicken pot pie: 50 Favorite Dishes, No. 8

Gianna Luci
Lucia's uses Callister Farms rotisserie chickens in their pot pie

"As American as apple pie" is the simile we're all familiar with, but when I think of quintessential American comfort food, I think of chicken pot pie. Roasted bird, humble vegetables, and creamy gravy encased in buttery pastry crust - it's all so very homey and soul-soothing. As simple as the dish seems, it's notoriously tricky to execute. Classic diner pot pie is usually heavy, chock full of overcooked, flavorless, stringy breast meat. The take-and-bake ones in the aluminum tins always suffer from the dreaded soggy bottom effect. Some (that shall remain nameless) seem to be seasoned solely with salt, and way too much of it at that. So it's a rarity when you get a pot pie, like the one at Lucia's in Uptown, heretofore known as the pot pie against which all other pot pies should be measured. 

See Also:

More »

Borough's champagne potato soup: 50 Favorite Dishes, No. 9

EU Photography
Velvety broth, black truffles, and magic in every mouthful

Like an unexpected storm of restaurant industry talent, Borough and its downstairs bar Parlour came on the scene quickly and with a head-spinning ferocity. Where was once a raw, empty building suddenly became a new and necessary-to-visit restaurant (not to mention our favorite neighborhood speakeasy stocked with craft cocktails). The kitchen is teaming with creative young cooks led by chefs Tyler Shipton and Nick O'Leary. We liked them immediately, but merely good became great once we tasted their champagne potato soup.

More »

Union's duck with whole grains: 50 Favorite Dishes, no. 10

Alma Guzman
All the flavors of the forest, on one beautiful plate
A see-and-be-seen rooftop patio complete with retractable glass ceiling and complex cocktails designed by Johnny Michaels (like the highly recommended garam masala-spiced blood orange Old Fashioned, pictured above) were the first things to grab the public's attention when Union opened this winter. The promise of being exposed to sunshine and alcohol in the doldrums of December was definitely enough to get us there, but once seated we were even more pleased to find some fantastic food.

The rich and layered chicken liver mousse with pickled quince and maple syrup still lingers in the mind as do the savory doughnut holes with cheese fondue, but the elegant dish that left the biggest mark (and got the highest ones) was the roasted duck.

See Also:
Union makes changes to dining room policy

More »