Each year as we travel the country to scout out candidates for our many best-restaurant lists — whether the big national listing in the early fall or the new “best of” city lists we’ve begun rolling out — our reporters and editors eat hundreds of meals in dozens of states. Inevitably we come across that one dish that we almost wish we’d ordered two of, and wish we could find closer to home.
Some are high-concept — a Dungeness crab doughnut, for instance — while others are just perfect examples of beloved familiars like brisket tacos or fried chicken. What they have in common, though, is that months later they still jump to mind when we’re asked, “What were your favorite dishes of this year?”
And if we’re back in Denver, Seattle, Burlington, Vt., or Grand Rapids, Mich., you can be sure we’ll seek them out — and you should, too. BRIAN GALLAGHER
Fried Chicken at Tavern on State
New Haven, Conn.
I will always order the fried chicken at a promising new restaurant like this one. Its fried chicken thighs with green tomato relish and radish salad was the best of many dishes I loved this year in the growing “tavern” category — a much-needed bridge between pub grub and tweezer food. JULIA MOSKIN
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