By Gary Duff | November 28, 2017 | Food & Drink
In search of your next dinner spot? Here's where these food insiders had their best meal of the month.
Piri-piri prawns are a crowd pleaser at Joseph Johnson's Chef's Club pop-up.
"The best meal I've had this month was at Chef's Club during Chef JJ Johnson's residency. The meal was exciting, bold and astonishingly delicious. I had the oxtail dumplings, the piri piri Prawns, the con'con and the collard green salad. The atmosphere feels like a party—loved the music—and the whole experience made me really happy! Props to JJ Johnson and his sous-chef Sam Davis!" –Klancy Miller, Cookbook Author and Cherry Bombe Contributor
"The best meal I've had in the past month (or so) would be a three-way tie between the caviar and fried chicken feast that a group of us had at Momofuku Noodle Bar, my dinner with "Blue Zones" author Dan Buettner at Chefs Club to experience the exciting cooking that chef JJ Johnson is doing there, and a lunch I got in Memphis with my girlfriend and an old buddy of mine at a legendary barbecue spot called Cozy Corner—incredible ribs, Cornish hen, and a fried bologna sandwich." –Jeff Gordinier, Food & Drinks Editor at Esquire
"The month is young! I was in Seattle a few weeks back and had some excellent food. I love Edouardo Jordan's oxtails with turnips, chanterelles, preserved tomatoes and consommé at Junebaby, and I think it's fascinating that he showcases rice from a different growing region each night. That was a great meal. I also recently visited the brand new Celestine in Brooklyn. It's right on the waterfront, and the view of the sparkling river and bridge lights is astonishing—not the kind of vista you usually get from a new restaurant, but Celestine went all in. Chef Garett McMahan did these short rib manti—like a Turkish dumpling—with fenugreek, yogurt and mustard greens that were so good we ordered a second round." –Jordana Rothman, Restaurant Editor at Food & Wine
"I like to try new preparations for foie gras in the fall. The best I have had recently is the seared foie gras with pain perdue at Boulud Sud. And the foie gras tacos at Kappo Masa are always great." –Ariane Batterberry, Founder of Food Arts, and Food & Wine
Missy Robbins' black bass with salsa verde and coal roasted potatoes.
"My favorite restaurant of the moment might just be Lilia, Missy Robbins’ Italian charmer in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. On a Friday in early November, I had my latest sensational dinner there, with four of us sharing everything: those fritters; a gem lettuce salad; whole artichoke with garlic, mint, and breadcrumbs; mussels with herb butter and sea salt; three pastas; and for our mains: black bass with salsa verde and a gargantuan rib-eye. But the showstopper was a table-share starter—a whole pumpkin, carved out and roasted, with parmesan fonduta and toasted hazelnuts in the cavity, and truffles shaved over it tableside… and served with grilled bread for dunking. It was drop-dead gorgeous and just decadent enough, and I’ll be doing my level best to copy it for Thanksgiving dinner. Desserts were chocolate gelato with all the fixins and the restaurant’s signature soft-serve vanilla gelato topped with lemon ice and candied lemon zest. Just writing this makes me want to head right back and do it all over again." –Andrew Friedman, Author of Chefs, Drugs, and Rock & Roll
"I met a couple of friends for brunch in the backyard of Gristmill, and I’m kicking myself for having such a gem in my neighborhood and not taking full advantage of it before this. I’m dealing with a lot of dietary restrictions so my menu is limited right now, but the generous slab of cake-like cornbread topped with lump crab, chili oil, and herbs (that I heavily suspect were picked from a few feet away) made me feel like a functioning member of restaurant going society. Oh—and a side order of bacon. It’s from Ends Meat, and I am powerless against their wares." –Kat Kinsman, Senior Food & Drinks Editor at Extra Crispy
"I've been staying close to home lately. But since I live in Brooklyn, arguably the best borough for dining in the city, I still have plenty of fantastic options. One of my favorite places to pop in for a bite nearby is Faun. Chef Brian Leth, formerly of Vinegar Hill House, makes some of the most fantastic handmade pastas, including a killer bone-marrow cappelletti in brodo. Farther afield but still within walking distance, I adore Metta in Fort Greene, which just opened this past spring. Chef Norberto Piattoni, who cooked for years with South American rock star chef Francis Mallman, is thoroughly devoted to cooking over an open flame. His fire roasted meats—chicken, lamb, gorgeous grass fed beef—are killer, seasoned with the flavors of smoke and char. And he even bakes his own bread and whips his own butter. Plus the wine list at both places features mostly natural wines, well-chosen and reasonable." –Melissa Clark, New York Times Food Columnist
"Best thing I ate all month? Almost everything I tasted at The Loyal: Duck coated in a rubble of cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Duck fat tots. Beef shank ravioli. Heirloom polenta with broccoli, cheddar and black truffle." –Gael Greene, Food Critic
Photography courtesy Chef's Club; courtesy Evan Sung