5 don’t-miss restaurant dishes from a year of tasting
Posted on December 25th, 2017
Vince Press Published 11:20 a.m. ET Dec. 27, 2017
Passionate feedback ran high this year. Taking on much-debated foods such as steak, breakfast sandwiches and nachos added to my usual flow of Facebook comments, texts and emails—and brought good fodder for this annual selection of great dishes I missed or that hit menus after embarking on a particular taste test.
Everyone has a neighborhood fave or sleeper pick—many of which I’m hip to and appreciate (like the signature breakfast sammie at Hart’s Local Grocers or the quesadillas at La Casa). I sure had my fill of finds this past year and continue to be surprised by our maturing food and drink scene.
We still have room to grow. Compared to other northern cities like Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Minneapolis-St. Paul, we’re still lacking a widespread commitment to inventory, staffing, hours of operation and risk-taking.
Is your server or bartender seating customers? You’re in for trouble. Only doing Bloodys on Sunday? That’s a bloody shame. Still using those thick, freebie Bud Light pint glasses (or any pint glass, for that matter)? Throw them in the blue bin. Scattering limp jalapenos on your pizza, nachos or noodles? Time to graduate to any number of other chili peppers.
More places need to add bone marrow and head-on shrimp to their menus, and get with the in-house pickling trend that’s already years old. Lose the Parmesan shakers, though (Ugh!), and make sure customers aren’t seeing more wood than edibles on your charcuterie and cheese board.
Soapbox set aside, I do love the uptick in new-normal offerings such as locally sourced everything, intricate sauces, house-cured meats, cocktail garnishes, crudo and octopus everywhere. Exciting newcomers include the imminent Bar Bantam at the Metropolitan, and ethnic is hot as ever with the rising of Red Sun Chinese Cuisine, Thai by Night, Bitter Honey and Taisho Bistro. And we still can’t get enough of wine and craft beer—witness our first urban winery, Living Roots Wine & Co. on University Avenue, and Young Lion Brewing Company in Canandaigua.
It was a tasty year—thanks for joining us at the table.
Portico by Fabio Viviani
Del Lago Resort & Casino, 1133 Route 414, Waterloo; 315-946-1777. www.dellagoresort.com/dining/porticobyfabioviviani
26-oz. Ribeye; $55
Count on unequaled quality, consistency and service on any trip to celebrity-chef Fabio Viviani’s Portico restaurant at the del Lago Resort & Casino. Many ingredients are native to the FLX region, but the steaks are sourced from acclaimed Buckhead Beef. The hand-selected, choice Angus ribeye, one of three cuts on the current menu, is wet-aged for 28 days. It’s simply seasoned then seared to order in a high-temp broiler. After a naked first taste, don’t be afraid to get saucy with a number of condiments guaranteed to amp up an already stellar flavor. Choose from a velvety béarnaise, gorgonzola fondue, truffle butter or zesty chimichurri. Plenty of thoughtful wines and sides will round out the meal.