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 the city's Best Dining Neighborhoods. 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.
Phuc Yea! [Photo: Food For Thought Miami]
What was the biggest dining surprise in Miami in 2011
The Chowfather, blogger: Abrupt closing of American Noodle and relocation of Naoe.
Frodnesor, blogger: Downtown?! Great to see underutilized turf put to good use for more offbeat ventures like the Phuc Yea! popup, neMesis, smaller scale places like Little Lotus, second outlet for Sakaya Kitchen.
Ryan Roman, blogger: The biggest surprise is that 9/10ths of the food trucks are still in business and not sitting on bricks in a front yard in Kendall. The most pleasant surprise was the success of Phuc Yea, a pioneering pop up. Here's hoping it starts a new trend.
Aaron Brooks, chef, Edge, Steak & Bar: For me the popularity of food trucks.... people go nuts for those things.
Geoffrey Zakarian, chef/owner Tudor House: That there were so many great options from a year ago.
Shareef Malnik, owner/The Forge: I am always surprised at how perfect lunches are at ABC Kitchen in ABC Home in NYC. If I had to eat lunch at the same restaurant every day, for the rest of my life, it would be here.
Miguel Aguilar, chef, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar: Makoto.
Dewey LoSasso, executive chef, The Forge: Eating local goat cheese in the Redlands area , then going to Schnebly Winery, then Robert Is Here for shakes.
Ivo Mazzon, executive chef of Joey’s Italian Café: The Midtown boom!
Richard Hales, chef/owner Sakaya Kitchen et al.: Pork is still making people giddy.
Michael Bloise, executive chef, SUSHISAMBAdromo: Little Lotus.
Chef Jeremiah, gastroPod: American Noodle Bar (opening / closing).
Jonathan Lazar, co-owner Sustain Restaurant + Bar: Certainly was not in Miami, definitely in Chicago and it was at The Girl and the Goat.
Gabriel Fenton, executive chef Bourbon Steak: Azul. We went for our anniversary the last two years, my first time eating Joel's food, so different than Clay Conley, but very surprised at the textures, flavors and teqniques. Amazing!
Louis Aguirre, anchor, Deco Drive: Yardbird- very ballsy concept. A southern restaurant on SoBe?! The land of tuna tartare, beef carpaccio & celery sticks? Never thought the concept would work.
Josh Marcus, chef/owner Chow Down Grill(s):How do you get surprised at a meal?
John Kunkel, owner Lime, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar: Explosion of food trucks.