As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, bloggers, and readers. This year, we asked the group eight questions, from Meal of the Year to Biggest Dining Surprises. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of the week. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted and unedited herein.
Where Was Your Single Best Meal of 2011?
The Chowfather, blogger: Tough call thanks to some knockout meals from Michelle Bernstein (Cobaya), two from Azul (tasting menu and a Cobaya Dinner) and two from Jeffrey Brana (Wagyu & Mangalitsa tastings) but the nod goes to my birthday tasting menu prepared by Chef Fenton at Bourbon Steak. Caviar, stone crabs, white truffles, foie, Wagyu A3... check it here.
Frodnesor, blogger: Locally: Azul Cobaya dinner, December 2011. Anywhere: Le Pigeon, Portland OR, August 2011.
Ryan Roman, blogger: In Miami? A recent no-holds-barred tasting menu at Norman Van Aken's Tuyo that was masterfully executed by chef Jeffrey Brana and pastry chef Max Santiago. Outside of Miami? Asador Etxebarri in the outskirts of San Sebastian, Spain (faithful readers will remember that this was Frodnesor's favorite meal of 2010). Hard to pick between the homemade chorizo and the smoked oysters as the standout dishes of that meal.
Angelo Elia, owner/chef Casa D'Angelo:Gotham Steak at the Fontainebleau.
Aaron Brooks, chef, Edge, Steak & Bar: Momofuku Ssam Bar.... geoduck ceviche was phenomenal and the pork buns really are that good!.
Geoffrey Zakarian, chef/owner Tudor House: Pig roast at Soho House in February.
Mario Tolentino, chef de cuisine of BLT Steak at The Betsy-South Beach: Single best meal for me was ABC Kitchen in Grammercy Park, Manhattan.
Shareef Malnik, owner/The Forge: My single best meal was at “Torissi” in Little Italy; a work of art for the sake of art and a damned good place to be with the one you love.
Miguel Aguilar, chef, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar: The Setai.
Dewey LoSasso, executive chef, The Forge: Scarpetta
Ivo Mazzon, executive chef of Joey’s Italian Café:Breakfast at the Blue Heaven Restaurant in Key West.
Michael Bloise, executive chef SUSHISAMBAdromo: Area 31, 14 course tasting menu for my birthday.
Chef Jeremiah, gastroPod: Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Jonathan Lazar, co-owner Sustain Restaurant + Bar: The Publican, Chicago
Gabriel Fenton, executive chef Bourbon Steak: Cyrus in Healdsburg, CA. Crazy good over the top meal!! Seven course with wine pairing. I would put Douglas' food up there with anyone in the U.S. Better than the previous time I had a meal there five years ago. They are simply crushing it!
Louis Aguirre, anchor, Deco Drive: Miami: Michy's; NYC: Le Bernadin.
Josh Marcus, chef/owner Chow Down Grill(s): Who can honestly say they remember their best meal?
John Kunkel, owner Lime, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar: Thanksgiving with family and friends at friends home here in Miami.