As The Dish, a diner-about-town in search of the city’s best, I’ve experienced hundreds of plates in NYC restaurants old and new. Choosing the finest of the bunch is hard work — akin to picking a favorite child or Woody Allen movie — I do love them all! But someone has to do it in the rush of year-end recaps. I’m here for you, New Yorkers. So, after much agonizing, here are my five favorite dishes of 2013.
Beef Jerky at Khe-Yo
The flavor infused in these chewy, tangy, spicy beef strips is so potent it’s empowering, like something a carnivore superhero might eat for energy. 157 Duane St., 212-587-1089, kheyo.com
Blowfish Tails at Uncle Boons
Smoky, sweet, meaty and dangerously alluring, a dip into the accompanying chile sauce makes this delicacy a perfectly exotic addiction. 7 Spring St., 646-370-6650, uncleboons.com
Foie Gras Terrine at Alder
A brilliant pairing so expertly and precisely executed: luxuriously creamy foie surrounded by a crisp and sweet poached apple, sitting atop a sliver of an English muffin. A canapé of genius. 157 Second Ave., 212-539-1900, aldernyc.com
Quail at Juni
Beautiful to behold and even more gorgeous on the palate, this meat, artfully and smartly emboldened by a bevy of beets, made Shaun Hergatt’s return to the Manhattan dining scene extra triumphant. 12 E. 31st St., 212-995-8599, juninyc.com
Smoked Sturgeon at Eleven Madison Park
I fell in love with presentation before the fish even crossed my lips — there’s the whipping off of a glass cloche involved, for crying out loud. Multiple senses are amused at once: the eyes are entertained; the nose is filled with a smoky aroma; the silken texture of the fish, cream cheese and caviar schmear is a delight to spread on an everything bagel chip. And my taste buds sang like a chorus of smoky, salty, briny angels. 11 Madison Ave., 212-889-0905, elevenmadisonpark.com
Read more of our 2013 year-end wrap-ups here.