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Dining out: Utah’s best restaurant dishes of the year

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(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Top Utah dishes of 2013: Shanghai Fat Noodles with beef and vegetables at Boba World Shanghai Cuisine at 750 S. Highway 89 in Woods Cross.

By Heather L. King

and Stuart Melling

Special to The Tribune

First published Dec 24 2013 08:08AM
Updated Feb 14, 2014 11:49PM

During the past 12 months, it’s been our job as Salt Lake Tribune restaurant reviewers to visit new restaurants and tell readers if we think the experience is worth their time and hard-earned cash. Some places were hits; others missed the culinary mark.

As the year comes to a close, we look back at the standout dishes of 2013.

Best breakfast for dinner

Chicken and waffles ($9) • This dish is as common on menus right now as a twirly moustache is on a hipster. I can forgive faddiness when a dish is executed with this level of excellence, though. The version at Avenues Proper Restaurant & Publick House is a decadent delight. The small-plate dish starts with a waffle resting on thyme-infused maple syrup. A house-made chicken sausage comes next, and a sunny-side-up quail egg finishes the creation with perfect panache.

Best landlocked seafood dish

Manila clams ($12) • The Grand America’s Garden Café is featuring this foreign treasure. A play on clam chowder, this appetizer delivers fresh steamed clams in a broth of white wine and a touch of cream along with potatoes, bacon lardons and crusty grilled bread for dipping.

Best soul-satisfying noodles

Shanghai fat noodles ($8.75-$9.25) • Whether you choose from chicken, beef or shrimp, I guarantee the Shanghai fat noodles from Boba World will rock your world. Hearty, chewy fat noodles, created in-house at Boba World, are soul satisfying in a way that few dishes can match in these cold winter months. The noodles are simply finished with soy sauce and crisp veggies and the moment your finish the plate, you’ll be dreaming of ordering the next.

Best Mexican pizza

Spedelli’s carne asada pizza (14-inch $18, 16-inch $20, 18-inch $22) • Served piping hot, this pizza has a thin, crispy crust offering up fresh pico de gallo, ample carne asada and a peppery sauce with green chile kick. Add the guacamole sauce from the salsa bar for a creamy, cool avocado finish.

Best sloppy Joe

Feldman’s Deli sloppy joe ($12.50) • This sloppy joe bears little resemblance to the dish you might otherwise expect. The name is merely a warning sign for the impending gloriously messy and meaty sandwich. The half-pound behemoth is built from NYC-imported pastrami and corned beef held in place by three slices of quality Jewish rye. Slather on Thousand Island dressing and oodles of creamy slaw and I dare you to not make a mess while you devour this monster.

Best Peruvian ceviche

Del Mar al Lago’s tasting sampler ($21) • This dish introduces you to a sampling of three Peruvian ceviches delivered on a flaming platter. Begin with the classic ceviche (Cebiche Clásico) with potatoes and large-kernel Peruvian corn, next the Cebiche Chifa with crisp tortilla strips and corn nuts and finally, for a spicy kick, the Cebiche aji Amarillo (a Peruvian chile pepper) that gives this ceviche a yellow/orange hue.

Best spicy steak

Indochine’s chile spiced flank steak ($12.95) • My love for Bò Xào Så Ot at Indochine Vietnamese Bistro is only just eclipsed by my inability to pronounce it. With the help of the incredibly friendly team, I’ve tried to get to grips time and again, but you’ll usually find me asking for chile spiced flank steak. Tender steak is sautéed with garlic, onion, red chile, lemongrass and curry powder. Served with rice, the result is as flavor-packed as it is aromatic.

Best punchy salad

Taqueria 27’s butter lettuce salad ($3.50 small/$7 large) • Taqueria 27 serves the excellent butter lettuce salad topped with pears and pumpkin seeds and an amazing green chile Gorgonzola dressing. The pungent bleu cheese and the spicy chile deliver an incredible punch on top of simple, crisp butter lettuce. It’s a fresh complement to any T27 taco.

Best carnivore plate

R&R Barbecue three-meat plate ($14.99) • Even those with small appetites will be dismissing punier portions in favor of the three-meat plate at R&R Barbecue. The simple reason is that everything that brothers Rod and Roger Livingston cook is so darned good. For sides, don’t miss the spectacular fried okra or the legit hush puppies. I’m going to petition for a five-meat plate in 2014.

Best gastropub dessert

The Annex by Epic Brewing’s warm porter gingerbread ($5) • This dessert from The Annex by Epic Brewing is a moist, spicy holiday cake accentuated by a rich caramel sauce made with Epic’s Big Bad Baptist, then topped with cool whipped cream. Not too sweet, it’s the perfect dessert to share around the table.

features@sltrib.com

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