With the clock set to expire on 2010, I can no longer procrastinate on the “dish of the year” post. I’ve eschewed vegetarianism, dieting, and cooking in large part because of these dishes (and due to my complete lack of self-control). And for whatever reason, this year’s decisionmaking process was tougher than last year.
There is a single rule: the winner is selected from items I have consumed in 2010 that are found on a restaurant menu in Miami (no one-off Cobaya dinners, no special events with fancy chefs, and no daily specials). It’s okay if it is on a paper menu that changes daily, or a flash paper menu (patent pending), so long as it is written down and can be ordered by others on occasion (and yes, the mirror at Buena Vista Bistro counts as a menu–see last year’s winner).
Winner: Honey Orange Baby Back Ribs, Sakaya Kitchen
Those addictive honey orange ribs at Sakaya are MRPR’s 2010 Dish of the Year. They are, far and away, the dish I’ve craved most over the past 12 months. After agonizing over this post for the past month, the answer was right in front of my nose (because I was in the middle of eating a plate of them). Here is my early impression back in March of 2010, which still holds true today:
I’ve spilled lots of ink on this blog about Sakaya Kitchen and how much I enjoy eating there. I don’t want to sound like a broken record so I’ll just say this: go now. If it is midnight and they’re closed, break the glass. Find a way inside and eat a honey orange rib. It will change your life like the first time you read Gabriel Garcia Marquez, like the time you saw American Beauty, like the time you weren’t looking both ways and nearly got run over by a bus. If Eve had been made from this rib, the snake would have eaten her.
And when you get to Sakaya, be sure to try the bulgogi burger (one of Frodnesor’s 10 best bites of 2010 and a Burger Beast award winner), and here’s a secret favorite: the green salad with raw honey dressing (but please don’t tell my pork nutritionist).
Runner-up: Beet and Local Heirloom Tomato Salad, Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink
Grant Achatz, a very smart man, just tweeted that vegetables will be the big focus of 2011. I thought Chicago was an hour behind Miami, but apparently it is a year behind (or maybe three). Vegetables have been the focus of Michael’s Genuine since it opened, and the standout dish of the bunch is the beet and local heirloom tomato salad, served with string beans, hearts of palm, walnut vinaigrette, and blue cheese. It’s a must order among many (crispy sweet & spicy pork belly, steak au poivre, slow roasted fudge farms pork shoulder, and deviled eggs, not to mention the desserts and the brunch menu), so travel with a posse or with backup stomachs. And it nicely exemplifies what is great about Michael’s Genuine.
Honorable Mention: Peanut Butter & Jelly Panna Cotta, Sustain Restaurant + Bar
I was just about to put [redacted] from [redacted] as the honorable mention this year, and then Sustain burst onto the scene in mid-December with a menu of hyper-local foodstuff and a killer soundtrack (heavy on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, to which I say: yeah, yeah, yeah). And while I’m still working my way through the menu (I’ve tried the 50-mile salad but not the 33-mile soup or the 10-mile Hialeah backyard roast chicken), the PB&J panna cotta was love at first bite. The panna cotta itself is pure peanut. If you’re allergic to peanuts, I suggest you risk your life and try it, it’s that good and, let’s be honest, your best days are behind you. The panna cotta is then studded with grapes, which are “jellied,” for lack of a better term. This dessert is reminiscent of the pb&j sandwich you ate every day for ten years straight and the best part is: no crust.