Annette's Top 10 Restaurant Dishes of 2015

Warning: I like protein, though I have become a sucker for squashes like kabocha or delicata as well as the tang of labneh, the thicker, smarter cousin of yogurt.

I am filled with food opinions. For example, I think that the reason we have summer is so we can have tomatoes well as "run down your chin" juicy peaches, which ideally you slice together with those tomatoes, on greens dribbled with olive oil.

I could go on, but let's get to it. Here are my picks.

1. Lobster at Limani , newly positioned at Rock Center.

The chef at Limani was the chef at Estiatorio Milos, the formidable and expensive ("checks that rival round trip fare to Athens"-Pete Wells) Greek seafood palace which is responsible for the "fish on ice" visual that we encounter at high end Greek restaurants far and wide.

The Grilled Lobster at Limani, bathed in butter, is in a class by itself. Apparently, lobsters from colder, deeper waters are sweeter. Who knew?

The food bargain of the year is also the pre-or post theatre 3 course dinner for $39.50 at Limani where you can eat the lobster for $8 more...don't neglect the octopus which is also in a class of its own: soft, shockingly delicious.

Limani. Lobster. Near our Broadway theatres...and so it pops to my #1 dish in 2015.

2. Hawthorne and Shredded Cabbage. An odd and simple appetizer, a palate rouser, from far away, at the amazing Country Kitchen, in Beijing. Hawthorne is not a fruit we have here...kind of a cross between a plum and a sour cherry...the dressing makes the dish refreshing, and what drew us back more than once to this restaurant in the Rosewood...a food magnet itself.

3. Lamb ribs at Estela Ignacio Mattos is a genius. Next comes Altro Paradiso on Spring Street and Sixth, then Estela Breuer at the new modern art Met Breuer (where the Whitney once reigned uptown). Yes, I love strong flavors and finger food. The scent of these cumin-crusted ribs is an aphrodisiac.

4. Caesar Salad at The Breslin ...April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig, the Breslin, and Tosca Cafe in SF, among others, is another chef of strong flavors. Her Caesar is a force of nature and the chef encourages eating it, with your fingers, leaf by chilled leaf, coated with the vibrant and garlicky sauce. Yes, lick your fingers. This is intense.

5. Prosciutto at Via Carota. There are foods that should never be refrigerated. Remember that. Hummus, tomatoes, garlic and ...Prosciutto.

The dry, delicate and intensely porky, freshly sliced meat at Jody Williams and Rita Sodi's joint restaurant is what I remember after multiple meals there, despite the serious competition provided by fresh pasta with shaved white truffles and The Svizzerina.

Ah, the Svizzerina. Described modestly on the menu as a "chopped steak" this is almost a hand-chopped beef tartare crusted on top. Like no other hamburger without a bun.

It also may be Eve's #1 dish of the year.

6. Any whole fish baked in salt at Esca ...drizzled with pungent olive oil, doused in lemon,finished with flakey sea salt. Omg.

7. Our home in France on the UWS, simple, homey La Mirabelle is all bistro comfort food: for me, the standout? the coq au vin (only on Mondays) or is it the simple endive with walnut and Roquefort salad, with the traditional mustard vinaigrette?

8. Beijing Duck , lacquered perfection on paper thin pancakes with all the fixens at Decoy , in the basement of Red Farm on Hudson, the farm to table Chinese restaurant in its Village home. Or should I have chosen the shot glass of rich duck broth that accompanies it? 25 ducks a night. Awesome. All things duck. The rustic room.

9. Carbone, not for the Veal Parm, though that's no slouch but for the Veal Marsala , which is no cutlet but a steak- house size -that is, oversized- succulent veal chop, bathed in Marsala with bundles of mushrooms...lavish dish beyond words....

10. Pizza at Pepe's. New Haven. Natch. Any. Yes, the clams if available, but the fresh or canned tomatoes with extra garlic. Order pepperoni. Order extras pies. Order tickets at Yale Rep so you have the excuse to get to Pepe's. Mangia!

Buono appetito for 2015. Let 2016 begin.

December 28, 2015