Best Toasted Ravioli - 2005
When it comes to hometown favorites, toasted ravioli is the Cardinals baseball of local culinary specialties: extremely near and dear to the hearts of many, and something to be taken very seriously. To which the folks at six-month-old restaurant Finale say: Lighten up! The T-rav is but a trifle, a bar-food-level amuse bouche, and as such it is as deserving of a little ribbing as Tony La Russa's goomba hair or Ray King's prodigious belly. Finale simultaneously pays homage and flips the bird to the toasted ravioli with its toasted chocolate ravioli, available on the dessert menu. It's a fantastic -- and fantastically funny -- trompe l'oeil: cocoa powder-spiked dough shaped into T-rav shells, filled with milk-chocolate ganache and sprinkled with Cocoa Krispies "bread crumbs." Rounding out the delicious joke, a shallow bowl of raspberry sauce stands in for marinara, white chocolate flecks take the place of grated Parmesan and mint-leaf shavings sub for a sprinkling of oregano. As an end to dinner, it really does make a grand finale -- and a great punch line.