- Rabbit Three Ways at Glasserie
- Beef Tartare at Estela
- Lamb and Green Squash Dumplings at Tianjin Dumpling House
- Shrimp, Pork, and Watercress Wontons at Noodle Village
- Dan Dan Noodles at Han Dynasty
- Fried Lagman at Chayhana Salom
- Khachapuri Adjaruli at Oda House
- Sake Kasu Challah with Raisin Butter at Shalom Japan
Not Photographed But Still Delicious
Vietnamese-style Boudin at Nightingale 9: I must give credit to the master, John T. Edge, for alerting me to the presence of this dish on HIS Garden & Gun "best bites of 2013" roundup. And he's right. Chef Rob Newton ties his Southern roots to the flavors of Southeast Asia beautifully in this dish, a thick sausage stuffed, as is traditional, with rice and pork, but also ground shrimp, too, and fish sauce and cilantro. The finished product is surprisingly light and brightly flavored, served smartly with a heap of fresh herbs meant to be eaten, not admired. It's a ballsy cross-cultural experiment done right.
Tuna Milanese at Perla: We've swooned plenty over Michael Toscano's pastas, and holy mother of god, are they good. Definitely get pasta at Perla. But I had a fleeting special there this year that lingers, too, though it seems to be lost and gone from the menu at the moment: tuna Milanese. Instead of chicken or veal, the kitchen pounds a gorgeous ruby-red raw tuna steak thin enough to cover the entire dinner plate, then sears one side of it for a hot second, topping the raw half with a coat of breadcrumbs, fried artichokes, and plenty of lemon. It's an unexpected and wholly delightful update of a red-sauce classic, and proof that Toscano can handle protein just as skillfully as pasta.