Here, I present to you the most memorable dishes I tasted in 2013. They may not each represent the absolute best that I ate, but they are all among the most memorable and the ones I wake up in the middle of the night dreaming.
African Restaurant in Philadelphia, PA, United States
Char-y chicken all swirling with Dijon mustard, garlic and more, bedecked with creamy, sweet onions and chased with a mouthful of peppery, oil-kissed rice of uncommon depth and expressiveness? Yeah, I’ll take more of that. Much more.
Chef Kevin Sbraga and his team have always crafted excellent food at their Broad Street restaurant. But this year, they somehow stepped up their game even further—they are right now cooking at a level that can only be described as transcendent.
Rabbit leg confit with smoked sausage and a sauerkraut-like accompaniment have no business being this transportingly magnificent. And yet, here they are: the stuff that an omnivore’s dreams are made of.
In a pig-crazy city like Philly, this dish may be one of the best around for getting your fill of swine. A confit of pork belly, a braised shoulder, garlic sausage and stuffed cabbage, all luxuriating on one glorious plate.
This uber-soulful replacement of what had been Fork:etc opened soon after I moved out of Old City—a fact that makes me inconsolably sad. Because the magic being woven here by owner Ellen Yin and Chef Eli Kulp is remarkable.
Dim Sum Garden, in its sweeping, significantly larger new digs on Race Street, is better than ever. Not only are the soup dumplings still the best in town, but they’ve added a few new treats to the menu as well.