This is a list, in alphabetical order, of some of the best dishes I had in 2006. WHAT WERE YOURS?
Arthur’s Landing, Weehawken (201-867-0777)–Pan roasted halibut with a roasted eggplant patty, baby arugula salad, cherry tomato-toasted pine nut vinaigrette and the mocha mousse “cappuccino” with cocoa nibs and Bailey’s anglaise.
Basilico, Millburn (973-379-7020); BYO–Tri-colored salad with artichokes, roasted red peppers, avocado, hearts of palm and tomatoes and all of Pastry Chef Donna Sardella’s desserts such as her raspberry soufflé or fresh cherry tart.
Blu, Montclair (973-509-2202); BYO– Sesame crusted mahi with scallions, napa cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, and a spicy sesame sauce; hake with asparagus, roasted red beets, and an orange-vodka sauce; cod with cauliflower puree, cured black olive-almond gremolata: and anything on the menu that incorporates salmon but especially the sake marinated salmon topped with tapioca and surrounded with cucumbers and wasabi. For dessert the fresh strawberry soup with yogurt sorbet and almond crisp as well as the coconut tapioca pudding with mango and papaya.
Chimichurri Grill, North Bergen (201-453-2345)– All of their steaks and homemade rice pudding tower.
Copeland, Morristown (973-451-2619)–“Tuna fish” sandwich made with seared tuna sashimi served open-faced on focaccia accompanied with marinated tomatoes and arugula; and their tasting menu.
Corso 98, Montclair (973-746-0789); BYO–Chitarra (pasta) Bolognese.
The Dining Room, Hilton Short Hills, Short Hills (973- 379-0100)–Milk fed porcelet tasting of sliced loin, slow roasted shoulder, and braised fresh bacon with caramelized Seckel pear, fig compote, and kale.
Di Palma Brothers Restaurant, North Bergen (201-868-3005); BYO– Eggplant rollantini and grandma’s meatballs.
Fascino, Montclair (973-233-0350); BYO—Venison and any fruit torta made by Pastry Chef Cynthia DePersio.
Girasole, Bound Brook (732-469-1080); BYO–Lobster bisque
Grain House, Basking Ridge (908-221-1150)—Turducken.
Highlawn Pavilion, West Orange (973-731-3463)–Creamless wild mushroom soup with asparagus tips; homemade duck ravioli; veal osso buco; and day boat halibut with ragout of baby vegetables and syrah sauce.
Lorena’s, Maplewood (973-763-4460); BYO– Fava bean ravioli with lobster, chervil and parmigiana-truffle cream; Maine sea scallops, with melted napa cabbage, potato gnocchi, pancetta, and chive beurre blanc; and the lemon tart, with sour cherry compote.
The Manor, West Orange (973-731-2360)–Butter braised Maine lobster with quinoa, and a tarragon-infused lobster emulsion.
Moksha, Edison (732-947-3010); BYO–Eggplant and lima beans with peanuts and the lamb tossed with browned onions and coriander.
Piquant Bread Bar and Grill, New Brunswick (732-246-2468); BYO–Seasoned mango soup and the caramelized carrot pudding.
Roots Steakhouse, Summit ((908-273-0027)–cowboy steak.
Silver Oak Bistro, Ridgewood (201.444.4744); BYO–Mac and cheese.
Sonsie, Atlantic City (609-345-6300)–Roasted rack of lamb with grilled fall vegetables.
Tomo, Little Falls (973-837-1117); BYO—Every sushi offering and their miso soup.
Trattoria Fresco, Caldwell (973-226-8800) BYO; Thin crusted pizza topped with oven roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil; lasagna; pistachio gelato sandwich made with crispy chocolate biscotti cookie and surrounded by strawberry marmelatta.
Varka, Ramsey (201-95-9333)–Grilled octopus and the Greek yogurt topped with honey, finely chopped nuts, and dried reconstituted sour cherries