Food Flash

2019’s Best Dishes of LA

Power Blogger, Yelper Extraodinaire, and World Wide Restaurant Adventurer, Ron Winters, picks the best plates of the year from his home Turf. (Selections from Santa Ana and Santa Anita Racetracks strictly Prohibited)

Ask twenty people at the mall “Who makes the best pizza?” and you will get twenty two different answers.

Opinions on food are highly subjective and filtered through your own personal background, interest, exposure and culinary chops.

The following represents the highlights, of the best that LA’s professional chef’s can create.

Nightshade in LA, is helmed by Chef Mai Lin (Top Chef Winner Season 12) offers an amazing Koshihikari Congee with XO Sauce, Crispy Shallots, and Pork Floss. A fairy tale in a bowl. Go ahead, mix it, mash it, and savor it.

Half Dry Aged Duck served at Bavel in LA. Chef Ori Menashe has this duck dish down. It is a Moroccan spiced Duck Confit with a row of Duck Sausage coins, a cup of Zhoug, (Green Fire from Tunisia), Pickled Celery, Turnips, Onions or whatever looks like it needs some pickling that week

Ocean At Main in Laguna Beach makes two special plates which both deserve to be on this list. The Baby Spinach Salad with Calamari Fritti, Chile slices and a Caesar-esque dressing. Can a salad be truly exhilarating? This one can. The Baby Spinach is ultra-fresh and crunchy and the Calamari is as good or better than anything Tempura Fukamachi in Tokyo or Piperno in Rome can crank out.

Follow that with the Boneless Short Rib long braised in Green Thai Curry and settled on a mound of Black Forbidden Rice. The meat is plastic spoon tender and juicy without being the least bit greasy.

The Chicken Parmesan at Dear John’s in Culver City has no equal and may be enough to bring Frank Sinatra, who used to hang here, back from the beyond. This Chicken Parm is cross between Chicken Kiev and Pollo Milanese Involtini. The tender breast is stuffed with Black Forest Ham, Provolone and Parmesan Cheese, and is flash fried to a grease free golden brown. It is served with a cup of House made Marinara on the side, and a lemon wedge. Celeb Chef Hans Rockenwagner and Josiah Citrin have loveingly recreated this Rat Pack Dive Bar for a limited run until 2021. So that gives you adequate time to try it.

Poached Marble Fish shows up only at Angler in LA. A serious restaurant with an attention getting price tag and worth every dime. The filet of sole was as soft as a puppy’s tummy and way tastier. A few drops of obscenely expensive Olive Oil and Lemon was understated in making an assertive big statement. The delectable flash fried fish bones and skin remaining after the filet makes for an extraordinary presentation. This dish was so good it would have pleased any of the worlds great Chefs of the last 100 years. Now mere mortals can enjoy it.

n/naka serves a 13 course Omakase. Only 26 lucky diners per seating can thrill to what this kitchen can create. If you are double lucky you may encounter Chef Niki Nakayama’s favorite dish, Abalone with Pickled Cod Roe and seasonal White Truffles. Now it may be easier to get Trump on the phone than to get a table here, but should you succeed you will surely revere this fabulous dish.

Ceviche is simple right? Try the version at Gem Dining in Fountain Valley, Orange County, CA. The question is how can something so simple be so complex? Ask it’s maker. There is nothing like icy cold, just from the sea, Shrimp, Scallops, Snapper and/or whatever was just caught and caught Chef Viet Nguyen’s eye. This Ceviche has the right amount of Chili kick and as an added bonus it comes with two house baked Sour Dough Baguettes and two large coins of Cajin Butter.

House cured Gravlax at CdM in Corona del Mar, Orange County, Calif. cures your disappointment at having this elsewhere. The magnificent Salmon slices are fanned out next to a Quenelle of Whipped Cream Cheese rolled in Everything Bagel Toppings and two mini Bagels serve as the perfect platform to build your own construction. You will never get anything this good at Aquavit or Barney Greengrass. Go ahead have breakfast for dinner and be a winner.

There you have it, 2019’s greatest hits in bites and bits. I am ready to hit the ground crawling in 2020…as I am still too full from this year.                      

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: