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Boston Restaurant Blog >> 2012 archives >> December, 2012 >> blog entry

Boston Restaurant Blog -- December, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Favorite Dining Spots (and Dishes) of 2012 from Restaurant and Media People

The end of the year is quickly approaching, and a few "best of" lists for restaurants and food have already come out (including a "best dishes of 2012" and a "best restaurants of 2012" from us). In keeping with the spirit of things, we are compiling a list of favorite restaurants--and specific dishes--as picked by folks in the restaurant biz and the media. Below is a running list, which will continue to be updated over the coming days, so keep checking back for updates.

Dave Andelman
(The Phantom Gourmet)
If the governor is going to fry me at midnight like a French Fry, my last meal would be the pan roasted lobster at Jasper White's Summer Shack...with a side of fried chicken.

Kara Baskin
(Editor of New York Magazine's Grub Street Boston)
Taqueria el Amigo, Waltham; Winsor Dim Sum, Chinatown; Flo's Hot Dogs, York Maine (a bit of a haul, but ever so worth it...); The Helmand, Cambridge; Trade, Boston; Christina's Ice Cream, Inman; TW Food, Cambridge; La Posada, Arlington

Jacqueline Church
(Independent Writer/Private Cooking Instructor,
Favorite dishes that stand out from this year:
Oysters at Mare Oyster Bar - selection that's hard to beat, perfectly shucked. Cassoulet at Les Zygomates - just wonderfully rendered version of this home-style dish, the tagines are pretty terrific, too.
Sichuan dumplings at New Shanghai. The Sichuan chili oil defines tantalizing. Ramen at Pai Men Miyake - okay it's in Portland, but it takes less time to drive their than it does to wait on line at any top ramen spot in Boston. The Soba is possibly even better than the ramen and the yakitori is cooked over binchotan coal. Dreamy food, raised by the restaurant owner himself.
Red Wattle heirloom pork and barley dish at Russell House Tavern. An off-the-menu item that is worth asking for.
Clams at Enzo in Newburyport - off the chart umami, a perfect marriage of sustainable, local ingredients, contemporary preparations of traditional Ligurian dishes.

Aaron Cohen
(Founder of Eat Boston)
This year was when I first had the Tasty Burger chicken nuggets and I LOVE them. Love them so much I put them on my list of 10 favorite things of the year.

Michelle Collins
(Local Food Writer, Blogger at The Economical Eater)
Journeyman in Union Square was one of my favorites! We had the 5-course vegetarian menu when we dined there. Every single bite was worth the extra money - it was a very memorable meal.

Steve Garfield
(Boston Food Blogger and Founder of Boston Media Makers, Off On A Tangent blog)
Turkey and Cranberry grilled cheese sandwich at Cheeseboy Boston was one of my favorites. Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale is a great bar for beer enthusiasts who are also hungry. They have a great selection of beers on tap, and for food I enjoyed a a grilled cheese and turkey sandwich. See a pattern here? Best treat? The Original Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins at Jordan's Furniture, no longer confused with Jordan Marsh.

Susan Holaday
(Editor and Publisher, Foodservice East)
Definitely a favorite this year was the guacamole at El Centro in the South End! For new places, JM Curley, BoMa, Cinquecento, Sip Cafe & Wine Bar.

Aaron Kagan
(Editor at Eater Boston)
The one cocktail that most stood out for me this year was a pisco sour mixed by Brother Cleve himself during his stint at First Printer. Sure the taste was superb, but it was the thick, creamy texture that made it the most memorable drink I had in all of 2012. Runner-up: the Sister Mary at Brick & Mortar.
The best burger I had all year, in a burger-mad year, was at Strip-T's. If clouds could be made out of beef, this is what they'd taste like. It was also one of the best dishes I had at Strip-T's period, which is saying something.
As a Sichuan fiend, I'm still flagellating myself for not having made it to Chilli Garden in Medford sooner. This was my favorite restaurant "discovery" (to me, anyway) of the year, it was the best ma po tofu I had all year, and I think their take on that dish is the finest in the area.
The award for most profound depth of flavor goes to a special I had a few months ago at Coppa. The pigs head rilletes with horseradish had utterly bottomless, almost unfathomable umami. I think one of the great separators between home cooks and pros is depth of flavor, and this dish had it in scores.

Leah S. Klein
(Blogger at Pearls and Oysters)
Most frequent and delicious meal out for our family is Little Q Hot Pot in Arlington. I'm also always a huge fan of the mezze at Sofra, my standby falafel at Fordees, and the corn at The Painted Burro.

William McAdoo
(Blogger at The Boston Foodie)
My favorite dish would have to be the S'more Verrine at West Bridge in Cambridge: Chocolate, Marshmallow, Miso and Graham.

Michael Moxley
(Salty Pig)
Well...if I didn't say the Roast Beef 1000 at Cutty's in Brookline I'd be lying. It's a great sandwich. I enjoyed the overhaul at The Oak Bar as well. They did a nice job and the flatbreads are tasty. JM Curleys are the newest kids on the block and their staff is top notch....but their burgers keep me coming back again and again. Glad they are here. Finally...the Brisket Hash at Eastern Standard. A Must have....oh...and the new Karl's Sausage Kitchen with the beer garden. That place rocks.
Happy New Year Everybody!

Luke O'Neil
(Journalist [Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix, Boston Metro, etc.], PTSOTL and @lukeoneil47)
Being someone who covers the industry, people ask me all the time what my favorite restaurant and bar is, and I have to say I honestly don't even think I have one. The problem is, any free night I have to go out to dinner or drinks it has to be somewhere that's just opened, or somewhere I'm specifically going to do a story on. It's a lot like how I ruined my enjoyment of music by becoming a music critic years ago; now every time I go out to eat it's work. I think my only next logical course of action is to become a football player porn star now so I can ruin the only other enjoyable things in my life.
That said, there are a couple places that have caught my eye that I would like to go back to. Kitchen, in the South End, has a good cocktail program, and I was pretty impressed with the menu.
Puritan and Company looks like it's going to be a stand out for the year's openings as well.
And I've gone back to Park and Hawthorne multiple times for cocktails over the year, so that's probably a good sign. I'm also really excited for the restaurant at the Sinclair to open, particularly since they've got a sort of all star lineup of bartenders I've liked from around the city for years.

Walt Perkins
(Sports Director, WBZ News Radio 1030)
Some of our favorites include Romaine's in Northboro. We were very happy that the food and service was at the same high level we enjoyed several years ago.
We also love Bullfinch's in Sudbury. Much like Romaine's, excellent food and top-notch service.
Two other places we have tried and enjoyed are Lotus Blossum and Lavenders, both in Sudbury.
There are still more we need to visit but we both like to cook and usually enjoy as good a meal at home as we could find at a restaurant.

Henry Santoro
(News Director/Morning Presenter at RadioBDC)
Here are a few of my fave dishes from the year: The Lobster Roll at James Hook & Co., The Curried Meat Pies and Sausage Rolls at KO Pies, The Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner to go from The Summer Shack, and my new fave - the Duck Confit Spring Rolls at The Publick House.

If you are in either industry and would like to tell us your faves, send us a note over on Facebook or Twitter, thanks!


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