Osso buco of the Year – Ferraro’s
Gino and Mimmo Ferraro may not be the most inventive guys on the planet, but their restaurant delivers solid, hearty Italian classics as well as any in town. For years they’ve been famous for their osso buco, for good reason. Theirs is a fork tender, wine-infused, rib-sticking delight that has just the right among of tomato-y tang in the sauce. The nutty little side of saffron-tinged farro lightens up the dish in a way a helping of risotto Milanese would not. The whole shebang pairs so well with a deep, rich Nebbiolo you’ll think you’re in food-wine heaven. The only way to improve the dish would be with a sprinkling of gremolata, but only purists like yours truly insist upon such things, so that’s why they probably leave it out.
Overdone/Underinspired Ingredient of the Century – Scallops
Is there anything more disheartening to a true gastronome than seeing a single, basted sea scallop presented to him/her with a great ta-da! by some 20- or- 30-something chef or waitron who thinks they’re dazzling you with something special? Listen up youngsters. Scallops are about as hip as a dickey, and as cliche as shooting fish in a barrel. The reason diners like them is because they let Chuck and Cindy from Bumfudge, Idaho say: “See, we eat seafood, too!” without having to bother with something as real as a piece of fish or something slimy.
The reason chefs like them is because they’re easy to cook and give the veneer of presenting something sophisticated and “gourmet” to the diner that is, in reality, about as sophisticated as fried chicken and gourmet as a ham sandwich. (Nantucket bay scallops are another matter, entirely.)
So chefs of the world, give scallops a rest fer chrissakes. And don’t be surprised if ELV sends his back to the kitchen the next time he’s presented with one.
ZEN MENU OF THE YEAR – Zen Japanese Curry & Toppings
Ask yourself: Self, when’s the last time I ate food that improved my digestion, aided my perspiration AND deodorized me?
We at ELV can’t vouch for all of the claims made by this little gem of Japanese gourmandia on Spring Mountain Road, but we can tell you it’s damn tasty, criminally cheap, and we always feel better after a meal there.
Is this the end of the 2013 Johnnies? Far from it. But ELV and his staff have Christmas festivities to attend. Tune in daily right through the end of the year and you’ll be treated to a continuing stream of such worthy Major Awards as:
BEST SINGLE BITE OF FOOD OF THE YEAR
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF 2013
CHEF OF THE YEAR
RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
DUMBEST IDEA OF THE YEAR,
and the eagerly awaited award for:
BEST RESTAURANT THAT’S CLOSEST TO MY HOUSE.