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Top Dishes of 2010

The Taste of the Town

There was no shortage of good food in San Francisco this past year. New eateries Twenty Five Lusk, Mission Chinese Food, and Marlowe led the list of top dishes of 2010.

Twenty Five Lusk - Cauliflower crème brulée
The sleek SoMa spot showcases an inventive rendition of crème brulée. Lusk’s version is cool and savory; dressed lightly with truffle oil for a pervasive richness that is softly accented with sunchoke escabeche and vibrant arugula.

Mission Chinese Food – Dungeness crab and mapo tofu
Not afraid to be called an “oriental” duo, Danny Bowien and Anthony Myint have somehow made salt and pepper Dungeness crab even better by pouring a heaping bowl of spicy, mouth-numbing mapo tofu on top. The ground Kurobota pork shoulder classes up this typical Taiwanese dish, but I doubt you will remember your manners as you pick up your bowl to get every last taste.

Marlowe – Bone marrow
I love bone marrow, especially when it is generously portioned as is the case at Marlowe. The roasted beef bone is split length-wise then sauced up with salsa verde and dusted with fresh chervil. The result is a flavor cavern I would like to make my eternal residence. Use the side of crispy crostini to scoop up the remaining bits of fatty marrow.

Ramen Dojo – Garlic pork belly broth ramen
This hole-in-the-wall spot in downtown San Mateo is worth the trip from San Francisco. It has one of the tastiest bowls of ramen in the Bay Area. Roasted pork belly is the primary fatty culprit that accosts your palate, leaving many casualties. The arresting spice is a welcome hug on a cold day. The soft wood ear mushrooms, deep fried garlic, chives and treasure of a quail egg are just a handful of the plentiful toppings available.

Lafitte – Foie gras de torchon with pickled lychee
Walk the plank or just sit at the chef’s counter and let Russell Jackson take care of you. Jackson has a love affair with foie gras. The torchon is beautiful and luxurious, coating your tongue with rich, thick flavor. The foie perches delicately over a bright marmalade gelée and house-pickled lychee offers a balancing hit of acidity.

These five dishes come from a few oldie-but-goodie SF spots:

Spruce – Spruce burger
Gruyere, pancetta, house-pickled zucchini and a side of duck fat French fries complete the best burger in SF.

Poc Chuc – Roasted pork spare ribs
Citrus and achiote flavor up this traditional dish from the Yucatan.

Prospect – Sea urchin risotto
Seafood is a plenty with Nantucket scallops, razor clams, and crab broth.

Nopa – Sopaipillas
My go-to dessert of hot Indian fry bread pockets rolled in cinnamon and sugar and served with a side of warm caramel butter.

Oyaji – aji (Spanish mackerel) sashimi
The only place I eat sushi in the city. After devouring the sashimi, you get to feast upon the deep-fried fish bones.