Our Inspectors diligently ate their way across the United States and Canada in 2023. They sampled fine dining, food stalls, and everything in between. Many were noteworthy, including the seven favorites shared here. These dishes were the ones that stood out. Read on to learn which ones dazzled our Inspectors below.
This was a stunning interpretation of the classic “chat.” Yogurt panna cotta on the base, looks almost like cheesecake, topped with yogurt mousse, a very delicate weave of thinly fried chat looking like a bird's nest, and then on top and under, three chutneys (strawberry chili, mint avocado, and tamarind), and edible flowers. A colorful work of art that’s perfectly composed with refined flavors and textures.
The Wolf’s Tailor
Venison and its Diet
Venison loins with matsutake, huckleberry and bitter greens. It might sound too clever by half, but it was a clean, well-executed dish whose flavors went together beautifully.
Fish Maw and Dungeness Crab
This delicate egg custard was stocked with bits of collagen-rich fish maw as well as a chunk of sweet crabmeat. It was given a luxe embellishment with a generous dollop of caviar and accompanied by crab shell-infused red vinegar to season the dish.
Cavatelli with Jamaican Beef Ragu
These tender little dumplings are dressed with a Jamaican beef ragu sauced with reduced beef jus and spiced with Scotch bonnet pepper. The heat was noticeable but very enjoyable. An absolutely original dish that was impressively prepared. The plate of pasta was dusted with a bit of grated Parmesan. Delicious!
Restaurant 20 Victoria
Beets and oyster cream
There are so many wonderful, seasonal creations at this restaurant. The cooking is thoughtful and deceptively simple as in this dish with smoked yellow beets with oyster cream, watercress and sorrel dressed in good olive oil. The beets are tender and sweet, and then comes the cream. It's briny, umami packed, a tinge smoky — an original combination.
Fish Tempura and Pressed Mackerel Sushi Course
This unique omakase course blends sushi and tempura. A dedicated cook is in charge of the tempura, and he works in a sectioned-off corner of the open kitchen. The tempura features white fish dressed with a dab of plum paste. The neatly prepared press mackerel sushi was very flavorful, then followed by Japanese pike tempura, served in a small cup, dressed with citrus and vinegar.
A house-made “chorizo” made from shrimp and mahi mahi studded with vegetables, served on a fluffy shokupan bun made with winter squash. The snappy, juicy, flavorful sausage is contrasted by the delicate, lightly sweet bread, with a pop of acidity and heat from the relish on top making for a dish that combines the unpretentious appeal of street food with an air of sophistication.
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