And the Winner Is: Since the New Times Best of Phoenix supplement comes out next week, I thought I'd get the jump on it by putting together a personalized list of prize-winning platters. Here are my selections for the best dishes I've consumed over the past 12 months. Starters:
Chicken-in-the-blanket at Eddie's Grill--chicken sausage in mustard sage dough, with a cumin-and-pumpkinseed sour cream dipping sauce. Vietnamese crepes at Pearl of Asia--pork-and-shrimp-stuffed pancakes. Gnocchi at Avanti--ethereally light homemade potato-flour pasta dumplings. Corn risotto at Cafe Terra Cotta--fresh corn blended with Havarti cheese and jalapeo peppers. Smoked salmon quesadilla at Vincent Guerithault on Camelback--brilliant combination of flavors, including dill and horseradish cream. Foie gras at Christopher's--an exquisite morsel, garnished with truffle. Mussels at Nina L'Italiana Ristorante--tender bivalves in divine tomato sauce with scents of the Mediterranean. Lobster bisque at Chaparral Restaurant--heavenly lobster cream soup with puff pastry cap and dollop of caviar. Main Dishes:
Seafood nabemono at Mikado--eye-catching blend of seafood, prepared tableside in a subtle broth flavored with soy, sake and seaweed. Medallions of venison at Arizona Kitchen--gorgeous meat, drenched in a heart-stopping blackberry zinfandel cocoa sauce. Albacore tuna at Etienne's Different Pointe of View--perfectly cooked, macadamia-nut-encrusted slab, with mango salsa. Dol Sot Bi Bim Bob at Korean Restaurant--scorchingly hot stone pot layered with rice, veggies, beef, ground nuts and egg. Lamb agrassato at La Fontanella--juicy lamb shank, braised in Marsala wine accompanied by raisins, potatoes and pine nuts. Glendalian sub sandwich at Mike's Golden Crust--fresh-baked Italian loaf stuffed full of beef, grilled scallions, pepper, mushrooms, avocado and melted cheese. Filet mignon and broccoli at Marco Polo Cafe--meltingly tender grilled steak slices, with broccoli and snow peas, in lip-smacking hoisin oyster sauce. Rib-eye steak at Ruth's Chris Steak House--prime beef, sizzled in butter, not for the faint-hearted. Desserts: Pear tart at Rancho Pinot Grill--absolutely addicting, topped with homemade ginger ice cream.
Chocolate chimichangas at La Pila--deep-fried critters stuffed with rich chocolate, dusted with powdered sugar. Arbol chile fudge brownie at Pion Grill--intense chocolate enhanced by vanilla bean white chocolate sauce. Galaktoboureko at Greekfest--warm custard pie, baked in phyllo dough, scented with cloves and honey. B-52 torte at RoxSand--overpowering chocolate laced with Kahla and Bailey's, topped with crushed pistachios. Poached pear at Such Is Life--low-key but potent, poached in wine, soaked in tequila and triple sec, served in fresh cream.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.