Best of 2007

Mole rojo taco from Manolo’s at the Maxwell St. Market

I’ve been a little late getting this up, but I wrote a slew of best of top 5 food lists for Newcity in December. Here’s my take on the best (in no particular order within each group of 5) of 2007…

Top 5 Restaurant Openings
Sepia
Aigre Doux
Smoque
Old Town Brasserie
Nazarlik

Top 5 Restaurants We’ll Miss (actually 6)
Schwa
Scylla
Del Toro
Southside Shrimp House
Timo
Ambria

Top 5 Disappointing Restaurant Openings

Gage
Otom
Powerhouse
La Madia
Crust

Top 5 Desserts

Sweet potato beignets, Powerhouse
Sticky toffee pudding, Aigre Doux
Sweet Corn Flan, Boka
Everything, Pasticceria Natalina
Motichur or Bindi Ladoo, Sukhadias Sweets

Top 5 High-End Bites

Pork rillette with bacon pistachio brittle, Sepia
Ravioli-stuffed with four cheeses, white truffle sauce, red wine reduction, Viand
Guava foam with lime zest, Alinea
Poached shrimp salad, Aigre Doux
Hudson Valley foie gras with honey and almond cake, roasted Wisconsin strawberries, watercress and drizzled almond cream, Vie

Top 5 Low-End or Ethnic Bites

Brisket, Smoque
Blueberry pierogie, Smak Tak
Bramborové knedlíky plnené uzenm masem, Operetta
Marlin ceviche, Sol de Mexico
Tosilog, Tapsilog at Iba Pa

Top 5 Tacos

Mole Rojo, Manolos/Rubi’s
Pastor, Taqueria Uptown
Carne Asada, Tio Luis
Carnitas, Don Pedro
Arabes, Cemitas Puebla

Top 5 Annoying Dining Trends

Substandard thin-crust brick- or wood-fired oven pizzas
Gastropubs
Underground dining
Arrival of out-of-town celebrity chefs
Nouveau steakhouses, Powerhouse Primehouse, Brasserie Ruhlmann

Top 5 Cocktails

Fig and almond old-fashioned, Sepia, Peter Vestinos
Pear Nectar, Sepia, Peter Vestinos
Blue Ridge Manhattan, Violet Hour, Tobey Maloney
Citrine, Graze, Jennifer Contraveos
El Corazon with Del Maguey mezcal float, Nacional 27, Adam Seger

Top 5 Chicago Mixologists

Adam Seger, Nacional 27
Peter Vestinos, Sepia
Jennifer Contraveos, formerly of Graze
Tobey Maloney, Violet Hour
John Kinder, MK

Top 5 Mystery Meat and Vegetable Preparations

Sliced Beef and Maw (tendon) Szechuan Style, Lao Szechuan
House Sausage, Parthenon
Sweetbreads (thymus gland), Pegasus
Boudin Noir (blood sausage), La Sardine
Huitlacoche (corn smut) quesadilla, Maiz

Top 5 Local Brews

Hop Juice Double India Pale Ale, Two Brothers
Three Floyds, Alpha King
Pere Jacques, Goose Island
Summertime Kolsch, Goose Island
Heavy Handed IPA, Two Brothers

Top 5 Sandwiches

Ropa Vieja sandwich, El Cubanito
Bocadilla de la Mancha, Pastoral
Pastor Torta, Apachee Grill
Marky B, Jerrys
Banh mi, Ba Le

Top 5 New Top or Executive Chefs

Giuseppe Tentori, Boka
John Peters, Powerhouse
Shin Thompson, Bonsoirée
Kendal Duque, Sepia
Mohammad Islam and Malika Ameen, Aigre Doux

Top 5 Up-and-Coming Chefs

Tim Graham, Tru
Jeff Pikus, Greg Baxtrom, Dave Beran, Alinea
Nathan Klingbail, formerly Schwa and now Alinea
Aleksiy Shalev, Sola
Christine Cikowski, Jason Stern, Joshua Kulp, Sunday Dinner Club

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