List: My Top 10 Favorite Dishes of 2017
Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 1:09PM
The Lady Who Lunches
In no particular order, I'd like to present you with ten of the absolute BEST new dishes that I had the pleasure of eating in 2017... 
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Grandma Val's Meatballs with Smoked DiPalo's Mozzarella - Pig Bleeker, NYC
Everyone knows that New York is home to the best 'red sauce-Italian food' in the universe.  But how about a 'red sauce-Italian' staple on the menu of a Southern/BBQ-bent restaurant in Greenwich Village?  Make no mistake, folks, the best meatballs in Manhattan can be found at Pig Bleeker (the aforementioned Southern/BBQ-bent restaurant in Greenwich Village).  When it comes to the name of the dish: I don't know who this 'Grandma Val' woman is or was, but I want to hug her and give my thanks for making the most fork-tender, perfectly seasoned 'balls this side of Italia.
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Crispy Layered Potato, Beef Fat - White Gold Butchers, NYC
Have you ever had a multi-layer crepe cake?  Neither have I.  But I would say that Chef April Bloomfield's 'Crispy Layered Potato' at White Gold Butchers is akin to a savory version.  Imagine, if you will, layer upon carb-y layer of thinly-sliced potatoes cut in to perfect, bite-sized cubes before being plunged in to a pool of piping-hot beef fat and deep-fried.  Prior to service, each morsel is finished with the perfect Salt Bae-esque dusting of, you guessed it, salt.    
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Lasagna - Lucciola, NYC
This is, hands down and by far the best lasagna this side of Italy.  Why?  The pasta noodles are MUCH more delicate and thin (as compared to the dry, pre-packaged crap you buy at the grocery store) - you can literally taste the amount of love and 'simmer-hours' which go in to creating that perfect Bolognese sauce that seductively envelopes each savory layer - and the cheese is virtually molten in texture, not dry and clumpy like commercial ricotta. 
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Sausage, Egg, and Pimento Cheese Biscuit - Callie's Hot Little Biscuit, Charleston, SC
This was one of the very best sandwiches I've ever had - not just in 2017, either.  We're talking 'ever,' folks. 
The pork sausage was kissed with sage and garlic, among other savory seasonings - the freshly-cooked farm omelette remained warm and intact - and the pimento cheese was nothing short of heavenly.  How could this combination get any better, you ask?  This trinity of ingredients came sandwiched between the flakiest, most buttery buttermilk biscuit on the planet.  
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Chicken thigh (meat) - Uncle Gussy's, NYC
When I was knee-deep in the Atkins Diet last year, Uncle Gussy's chicken was my daily go-to for lunch at the office.  Whether you're on a protein-based diet or not, this is the best marinated/char-grilled poultry in town.  Don't waste your time on the breast meat; at Uncle Gussy's, it's all about 'dem thighs!  
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Braised Short Rib - Sermet's Southernterranean, Charleston, SC
I'll admit, I was a bit skeptical upon ordering the short rib; historically, I've always found it to be laden with gristle and unevenly cooked.  While dining at Sermet's for New Year's Eve, we felt a bit pressured to order this dish, as it's the restaurant's most prized plate.  To my shock, not only was it outstanding (think fork-tender and gristle-free), this once frowned upon cut quickly rose up the ranks as "one of the best beef entrees I've ever had." 
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Tied: (Faux) Cronut - The Donut Pub, NYC and The Flex Donut Collection - Flex Mussels, NYC  
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Brisket - Mighty Quinn's Barbecue, NYC
Granted, it's been a good 14-years since I've lived in Texas but, as a native, I can wholeheartedly say that Mighty Quinn's makes the best brisket in NYC.  Perfectly marbled and finished with crunchy flakes of sea salt, this local mini-chain puts everyone else's brisket game to shame.  
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Soy-Garlic BJ Wings - Barn Joo, NYC
While being a relatively new chicken wing fan, I can confidently say that the traditional American version pales in comparison to the Korean preparation.  Why?  Because KFC (Korean fried chicken) is cooked twice, resulting in a crust that virtually shatters upon each bite.  The crunch is truly extraordinary and, for someone who's never tried it before and/or is unsuspecting, quite surprising!  Now, pair all of that double-fried excitement with a pre-service plunge in to a pool of soy-garlic glaze, and you've got one hell of an appetizer.     
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Cold Sesame Noodles - Hwa Yuan, NYC
Fresh and chewy Chinese egg noodles are lightly tossed with and served atop a shallow pool of a mysteriously delicious sauce that tickles each of the five basic tastes: Sweetness (ginger, sugar, sesame and, perhaps, peanut butter), sourness (tangy, a hint of vinegar), bitterness (subtle heat from chili paste), savoriness (soy sauce, sesame oil, and a mother-load of umami), and saltiness (soy sauce).  
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Until we eat again
The Lunch Belle
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