Critic’s Notebook: The Top 10 (New) Dishes of 2008

Looking back over my notes from the new restaurants I visited in 2008, I realized how incredibly well fed I am. I ate a lot of amazing food. But of all the dishes I tried this year, here are my personal top 10.

10. Navratna curry at Ekta: The vegetables in this creamy-with-a-kick cashew sauce are not overcooked or mushy — rare for Indian food.

9. Fried olives at Le Virtu: These crisp goodies are stuffed with moist and flavorful braised beef, pork and chicken.

8. The Remy Roll at Izumi: This unusual roll is filled with white fish, eel and crab, then topped with savory bonito flakes and homemade mayo.

7. Chestnut potato gnocchi at The Blue Horse Restaurant & Tavern: I’m still thinking about these light, nutty dumplings almost a full year after I had them.

6. Trout in brown butter at 10 Arts: Fresh local fish in the best brown butter sauce I’ve ever tasted.

5. French onion soup at Parc: A crock of onion soup is so often a let down. Not here — it’s everything you want it to be: A rich broth filled with sweet onions and topped with bubbly provolone and gruyere cheese.

4. Greek meatballs at Pub & Kitchen: The flavorful, seared exterior and moist pink inside are the perfect bar bite.

3. Athenian stuffed pepper at Kanella: Rarely do I clean my plate on a review meal, but I devoured every molecule of this vegetarian entrée of peppers stuffed with feta, olives, onions and tomatoes and paired with lentils, rice and yogurt.

2. Tortilla soup at Distrito: Tortilla soup is one of my favorite dishes and this one, brothy and herbaceous with tender chicken and a hint of tomato, is simply the best I’ve ever had.

1. Hummus and laffa at Zahav: If I had to commit to only one food for the rest of my life, it would be Zahav’s heavenly, creamy, nutty hummus-masbacha with fresh laffa.

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