As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, bloggers, and readers. We've already covered Top Standbys, Favorite Newcomers, 2012 in One Word, Best Neighborhood, and Biggest Surprises. And now it's time for the single best meals of the year. Feel free to add your own answers to the comments.
[Photo: Facebook/Blue Room]
Q: What and where was your single best meal in 2012?
MC Slim JB, restaurant critic, The Phoenix: Always hard to pick one, but I had a memorable multi-course dinner at Thai North, which features the rare-in-Boston cuisine of Thailand's Chiang Mai province, though you'll only taste it if you order off the specials board. I went with a bunch of my food-geek friends, and we went to town, though the check didn't crack $20 a head with a nice tip. Highlights included dressing fish, duck larb, khao soi, and mango sticky rice. A criminally overlooked place.
Marc H., Boston's Hidden Restaurants and Boston Restaurant Talk: Tough one, but I'd have to say that in the Boston area, my first dinner at jm Curley in Downtown Crossing would take the prize. Extraordinary food all around, including braised beef cheek gorditas, crispy fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and baby octopus. Oh, and squash hush puppies with turkey neck gravy. Outside of the area, my night at L'Antica Trattoria at St. Bart's Club in the hinterlands of southwest Providence was one for the ages; imagine a restaurant within a 100-year-old Italian social club on a side street in the middle of nowhere with scratch-made Italian food. Yeah, there aren't enough adjectives in the English language to describe this place.
South End blogger BosGuy: L'Espalier (that was easy).
An anonymous industry insider who we'll call Litchi Bear: Joe Beef, Montreal — details are hazy, meat-strewn, and deep-fried.
Aaron Kagan, editor, Eater Boston: I feel fortunate to think that this is a difficult question. I'm going to have to go with Coppa: ostriche, salumi board, spaghetti alla carbonara, gnocchi, pizza, and pigs head rilletes. Runner-up: S&I Thai To Go.
Rachel Cossar, ballet dancer with the Boston Ballet and food blogger at foodista on pointe: There were too many! But the most recent was undoubtedly, West Bridge, this past Tuesday.
Tom O'Keefe of BostonTweet: The grand charcuterie board at The Blue Room in Kendall Square - it took up an entire table for six!
Jacqueline Church, local food writer: Several singular dishes standout (Cassoulet at Zyg's; the jm Curley burger, the off-the-menu Red Wattle fat barley at Russell House, pheasant at Craigie, vegetarian plate at Trade) but a meal from beginning to end, where even dairy-free dessert didn't take a back seat to dinner and each dish sang with local flavor? Enzo Restaurant in Newburyport.
Damien S., community manager for Yelp Boston: In three courses: marinated yellowtail and yellowfin, licorice roasted Muscovy Duck and a deconstructed pumpkin pie at Clio. Oringer, Rodrigues and Glass should start a barbershop quartet because they've got this food thing down. Need a fourth? Call meh.
Audrey Giannattasio of Boston Foodie Tours: Easy! Bondir's special dinner inspired by Maria Speck's cookbook, Ancient Grains. Jason Bond hit it out of the ballpark big time. I always recommend Bondir to our tour guests. Chef will never disappoint.
TJ Connelly, DJ for the Red Sox and founder of onthebar : I traveled a lot this year, so part of what made up some of my favorite meals this year was the company I shared while dining. I don't think I could pick one specific experience, but those that stand out were Strip T's, Island Creek, No 9 Park, Guchi's Midnight Ramen, and finally making it to Peach Farm.
Jennifer Che, blogger at Tiny Urban Kitchen: Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo - It was fascinating to be personally served sushi made by the 86-year old master himself. I shall never forget it.
· All coverage of Year in Eater [~EBOS~]