Memorable Dishes in 2011

As I mentioned in my look back at 2011, this is the first time I’m doing “best of” posts. I didn’t start out with any specific numbers in mind. Just went ahead and made the lists.

This is the first of three. I would find it an impossible task to rank these dishes in hierarchical order. So, instead, they are listed chronologically. For those of you who have read The Foie Gras Queen post, you will find quite a few of those dishes here. Also note that I’ve included a few dishes I’ve had in years prior and repeated in 2011. Having never done lists in those years when they would have been included, I felt they rightfully belong here.

And so, to the list….

Arroz con Pato (For Two): Nuela
We’ve had the arroz de pato at Aldea several times, and it’s always been seriously delicious. But this version totally knocked our gustatory socks off! The inclusion of foie gras really pushed it over the edge for me. It was perfectly prepared as were all the other parts of this dish.

"Arroz con Pato"

Tandoor Grilled Lamb Chops: Tulsi
Hemant Mathur’s signature. I first tasted them years ago when he cooked briefly at Amma. Then, again, while he was at Devi.  They’ve amazed me every time.

Hemant's Tandoor-Grilled Lamb Chops

Foie Gras Seared with Kumquats and Baby Turnip: Eleven Madison Park

Duck, Honey and Lavender Glazed, Roasted, with Kumquats and Turnips: Eleven Madison Park
I have, of course, had Chef Humm’s storied duck many times before. It is for me THE best duck!



Maialino al Forno: Maialino
We had this once before.  We shared it the first time with our friend steakrules85.  This time, we shared it with J and the P.G.  Both times, we all cleaned that platter so not a speck remained.   Crispy, crispy skin and juicy, juicy meat 

Maialino al Forno

Torchon Foie Gras au Nature, Spiced Figs, Ormeasco Mostarda, Pistachios, Brioche Toast: Ai Fiori

Grilled Calves Liver with White Polenta, Sweet Onions, Sage, and White Grain Mustard: Cafe Boulud
I wrote all about this dish in this post.

Piccione: Roasted Breast of Squab, Liquid Foie Gras Croquette, Parsnip Purée, Sauce Madère: Ai Fiore
Squab, foie gras, and parsnips — three of my favorite foods on the same plate. Perfection!

Uovo: Slow Poached Egg, Lobster Knuckle, Crispy Sweetbreads, Nuage Layon: Ai Fiori
I usually don’t love dishes with poached eggs, but when combined with the lobster and sweetbreads and topped with that nuage? What can I say? Ambrosial!

80-Day Dry Aged Waygu: Roberta’s
The most phenomenal beef I have ever tasted!

80-Day Dry Aged Wagyu

80-Day Dry Aged Wagyu

Potato-Fromage Blan Gnocchi with Escargots, Wild Mushrooms, and Garlic Nage: Bar Room at The Modern
M and I split this dish. We both had the same reaction: “OMG!”

Potato-Fromage Blanc Gnocchi

Grilled Dover Sole with Mustard Sauce: La Grenouille
I had it once in 2010 and twice in 2011. The sole is superior, and as the French would say, “Le sauce moutarde c’est tout!”

La Sole Grillée, Sauce Moutarde

Foie Gras with Cinco Cebollas: Casa Mono
When my friend uhockey learned that, surprising as it may sound, I hadn’t had this dish, he said it was a mind-blowing must for a foie gras addicts. He, of course, spoke the truth.

Waygu Beef and Foie Gras “Damier” with Passion Fruit Gastrique: The Modern Dining Room
The flavors were as astounding as the design.

Wagyu Beef and Foie Gras "Damier"

Rotisserie Duck Over Rice, Ginger Scallion, Ssam Sauce, Crispy Shallot: Momofuku Ssam Bar
If there could ever be a rival to EMP’s magnificent duck, this one would be it.

Rotisserie Duck Over Rice

Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Pancetta, Pecorino, and Mint: Union Square Cafe
Spring on a plate. I raved so much, they gave me a copy of the recipe.

Sugar Snap Pea Salad

The rest below the fold…

Anatra e Ciliegie: Pecan Duck Breast and Leg, Brooks Cherries, Turnips, and Spinach: Lincoln

Anatra e Ciliegie

Foie Gras Terrine with Strawberry, Yuzu, and Black Pepper: Eleven Madison Park

Giannone Chicken for Two Cooked in a Clay Pot: Ciano
So fantastic the first time M and I shared it, we ordered it “for the table” at a family dinner the day after Thanksgiving. No crisp skin but meat that is incredibly juicy and succulent.

Giannone Chicken For 2

Giannone Chicken For 2

Organic Scottish Salmon “En Croute” with White Asparagus, Pickled Red Onions, and Red Wine Reduction: The Peacock Inn
The gorgeous presentation knocked me out. A fantastic dish, one of the best salmon dishes I’ve ever had.

3rd Course:  Organic Scottish Salmon "En Croute"

Chicken Roasted with Farro, Sweet Corn, and Chanterelles: Eleven Madison Park


Clambake: Eleven Madison Park
A blast!


Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms, Parmesan, and Parsley: Eleven Madison Park (Visiting Chef Mauro Colagreco)
Chef Colagreco envisions this dish as representing the forest floor. It certainly floored me!


House Cured Terrine of Foie Gras, Roasted Black Mission Fig, Rhubarg and Riesling Gelée: Tocqueville

1st Course:  Foie Gras

Foie Gras “A la Plancha,” Caramelized Pears, Toasted Hazelnuts, Spaghetti Confit: La Silhouette

White Truffle Tortelli with Fontina Val d’Aosta, and Chestnuts: Eleven Madison Park
An orgasm on a plate!

White Truffle

Bimbin, Tomato, Arugula Sorbet: Jung Sik Dang

1st Course:  Bibim

Chestnut Velouté, Crispy Sweetbreads, Black Turnip Purée, Black Truffle: Um Segredo Truffle Dinner

Chestnut Velouté

Duck Bun: Wong
The bun had a fantastic crispness, the duck between its covers was incredibly juicy and flavorful, and the celery and cucumber added just the right touch of crunch.

Duck Bun with Chinese Celery and Cucumber

Wild Striped Bass, Salsafy, Foie Gras Ravioli: Um Segredo Wild Game Dinner
The perfectly prepared fish was so moist and flavorful, and the foie gras oozing out of the ravioli put this dish over the top.

Wild Striped Bass

Seared Venison, Red Rice Purée, Leeks, Arugula: Um Segredo Wild Game Dinner
While I’d had small bites of venison when M has ordered it, this was my first time actually eating a whole portion. I had feared it might be too gamey, but it turned out to have a very pleasing flavor in addition to being extremely tender. The accompaniments were fantastic. So, altogether, a fantastic dish.
Seared Venison

Next up: Memorable Desserts


4 Responses to “Memorable Dishes in 2011”

  1. effingdericious Says:

    despite living across the country from you, it is nice to see there is some overlap between my soon-to-be-published “best of” list and yours 🙂

  2. thewizardofroz Says:

    Hi, D.!

    Obviously, the Colagreco dish (glad you found your photo of it). And even before reading your email, I would have guessed other overlaps would be from EMP. 🙂

  3. Heidi Pohle Says:

    HI Roz,

    I really enjoy reading your blog. Your posts on Chowhound pointed me over here. I’m taking my sister to Eleven Madison Park for her 50th birthday. It’ll be our first time there. I have never dined at a Michelin starred restaurant. Do you have some guidelines for proper tipping?

    Sorry to be posting this off topic!


  4. thewizardofroz Says:

    Hi Heidi,

    No apologies necessary. it’s always nice to hear from another Hound. I’m very pleased that you enjoy reading my blog.

    Re: tipping. 20% on food and beverages is very acceptable. We never include the tax when tipping in restaurants.

    I hope that when you made your reservation, you mentioned that this will be for a special occasion. The staff really does love to have this information. If you haven’t already done so, when you receive your confirmation call, you should mention it then.

    Happy 50th Birthday to your sister! I hope this will be a memorable experience.

    P.S. Feel free to contact me at any time via my blog email.

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