10 Decadent Dishes to Eat Before the End of 2015

By Alia Akkam  |  December 22, 2015
Credit: Samantha Egelhoff

Soon, well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions vowing to down green juice instead of whiskey and replace cheeseburgers with grilled salmon will be forged. Before that challenge arises, cave into temptation (at least) one more time with a restaurant rendezvous. These dishes from around the country, all hits in 2015, are decadent send-offs into a leaner 2016.

  • Credit: Greg Rannells

    St. Louis: Duck Confit Gnocchi at Randolfi’s

    St. Louis chef Mike Randolph had a busy 2015 opening both Público and Randolfi’s. At the latter, a convivial Italian joint, one of Randolph’s sophisticated pastas is his arugula-strewn gnocchi. Heightened by tender parcels of duck confit, it’s brightened by tangy orange supreme and olive.

    6665 Delmar Blvd.; 314-899-9221

  • Chicago: Monkey Business at Bar Toma

    Typically, monkey bread takes the form of a hard-to-resist dessert. At Bar Toma, Tony Mantuano’s recently re-opened Chicago pizza lair, the gooey confection inspired the Monkey Business, a savory appetizer. Never mind the jalapeño-pineapple pizza that follows, carb loading is a must when there is pull-apart garlic-Parmesan bread waiting to get plunked into marinara sauce.

    110 E. Pearson St.; 312-266-3110

  • Credit: Geoffrey Smith

    Seattle: Foie Gras Royale at Seven Beef

    A septet of grass-fed, dry-aged meats steals the show at Seven Beef, the Vietnamese steakhouse from Eric and Sophie Banh. But there are other rich surprises here like the French Foie Gras Royale, in which a dense sphere of the French delicacy is sandwiched between a drizzle of pistachios and snappy green beans.

    1305 E. Jefferson St.; 206-328-7090

  • Boston: The Campfire Torte at Outlook Kitchen and Bar

    The sexy Envoy Hotel, on Boston’s waterfront, is home to Outlook Kitchen + Bar, where pastry chef Kim Darisse conjures yesteryear with her Campfire Torte. The chocolate ganache, roosting in a graham cracker crust, is topped with marshmallow, charcoaled salt and crunchy hazelnut lace, and is accompanied by brûléed meringue. Cracking open the jar of housemade marshmallows beside it unleashes the aroma of adolescent nostalgia.

    70 Sleeper St.; 617-338-3030

  • Savannah: Seafood Boudin at The Grey

    Boudin, Cajun country’s beloved sausage, gets a seafood spin at Savannah’s hit bus-terminal-turned-restaurant The Grey. In this version chef Mashama Bailey melds distinctly Southern crawfish, shrimp and Carolina rice and serves the plump links alongside crackling prawn chips. Springing for an order shouldn’t deter one from having the pork shank to boot.

    109 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; 912-662-5999

  • Los Angeles: Spaghetti Alla Chitarra at Union

    Soon Bruce Kalman will open Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market in LA’s Grand Central Market. In the meantime, his homemade pastas spun from locally milled flour tempt carb lovers at Union in Pasadena. One example: a seemingly simple coil of spaghetti alla chitarra amped by a union of Fresno chiles and San Marzano tomatoes grown by a Central Coast farmer.

    37 E. Union St.; 626-795-5841

  • New York: The Basque Dog at Huertas

    Over the summer, Huertas became even more popular when it started serving an upscale hot dog through its take-out window. The Basque Dog now graces the dinner menu at this shrine to Northern Spanish cooking, and it’s easy to see why the specialty is such a smash. Executive chef Jonah Miller makes from-scratch chistorra sausage, aïoli and piquilla mostardo and nestles it all together in a Martin’s potato roll.

    107 First Ave.; 212-228-4490

  • Credit: Samantha Egelhoff

    Madison: Catalan Paella at Estrellón

    Prolific chef Tory Miller opened his latest Madison venture, the Midwestern-meets-Spanish Estrellón, with a few paellas on the menu. Along with a seasonally roving market interpretation, there’s his carnivorous Catalan riff, which combines local roasted rabbit, shrimp, mussels, clams and chorizo with bomba rice and Wisconsin’s own nutty SarVecchio cheese.

    313 W. Johnson St.; 608-251-2111

  • Credit: Jannie Huang

    Portland: The Coquine Cookie at Coquine

    Coquine, Portland’s much-buzzed-about restaurant opening this year, serves of-the-season dishes like squash and pomegranate laden roasted whole chicken and carrots with sprouted fenugreek and peanuts, but it’s the Coquine Cookie that has a cult following. Crispy outside, chewy inside, these chocolate chip beauties are elevated by the addition of smoked almonds and salted caramel. They sell out so quickly that chef Katy Millard now bakes at least three batches a day.

    6839 SE Belmont St.; 503-384-2483

  • Credit: Bajo Sexto Taco

    Nashville: Sopa de Huachinago at Bajo Sexto Taco

    Bajo Sexto Taco, Jonathan Waxman’s unlikely Mexican spot inside Nashville’s legendary Country Music Hall of Fame, is the destination for its namesake dish served in organic hand-pressed masa tortillas. It’s also the place for a bowl of hearty sopa. Chef Kaelin Ulrich Trilling’s rendition features a guajillo-spiked snapper broth, Tex Mex–like corn calabacitas and an additional fiery burst of serrano peppers.

    216 Fifth Ave. S.; 615-577-7717