Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The 10 Best Dishes of 2015

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2015 at 6:01 AM

Page 2 of 2

The "L.A. style" ribs at Seoul Q. - MABEL SUEN
  • Mabel Suen
  • The "L.A. style" ribs at Seoul Q.

6.  Keema Samosas
Aroma Indian Grill, 7541 N Lindbergh Boulevard, Hazelwood; 314-830-7810
Pierce the flaky shell of one of the keema samosas from Aroma Indian Grill, and a fragrant plume of steam perfumes the air with the scent of cardamom and cloves. The large fritters, filled with potatoes, lentils and aromatic herbs and spices, make this Hazelwood restaurant live up to its name.

7.  Fish Stew
Chef Ma’s Chinese Gourmet, 2336 Woodson Road, Overland, 314-395-8797
Don’t be fooled by the exterior — Chef Ma’s Chinese Gourmet may have been a Taco Bell at one point in time, but now it is a bastion of authentic Chinese cuisine. Though the restaurant boasts both Americanized and Chinese menus, it shines brightest when Chef Ma is given free rein to come up with customized dishes based on his whims. If he’s taking requests, ask for is fish stew. The delicate, spring onion infused broth teems with filets of flaky whitefish, pork meatballs, assorted vegetables exotic mushrooms — one of them, a high-altitude fungus with a light umami flavor and silken texture, looks like an eggplant-hued sea creature. It’s an unexpected treat at an unexpected gem of a place.

8.  Pork Steak
Beast Craft BBQ Co., 20 S Belt W, Belleville, IL, 618-257-9000
If you are content with your current idea of pork steaks, do not go to Beast Craft BBQ Co. Enjoy your thin, Maull’s-covered piece of meat in peace without the knowledge that, about twenty minutes across the river, there exists something so mind-blowing it will shatter your pork steak worldview. Beast’s version is no less than three times the thickness of the traditional cut, giving it the feel of a double-cut Delmonico ribeye. There’s no sauce to be found here — just a glaze of fat, spice rub and char that glistens over the fall-apart meat. This is barbecue perfection. 

9.  (Mild) Hot Chicken

Southern, 3108 Olive Street, 314-531-4668 
Without a dunk in the hot chili oil, Southern’s fried chicken is outstanding — textbook-perfect seasoning, juicy meat and crisp exterior. Once dipped in the signature spicy sauce, however, it becomes so flavorful you can’t stop eating it in spite of the pain it causes. Beads of sweat form on the brow, hiccups ensue, the nose starts to run. Yet you find yourself so mesmerized by the combination of spice and subtle sweetness you keep going back for more — and this is the mild version.

10.  L.A. Style Short Ribs
Seoul Q, 6665 Delmar Boulevard #100 A, University City; 314-925-8452
David Choi isn't serving up Texas-style brisket or Memphis ribs, but his L.A. style short ribs show why Korean barbecue belongs in the pantheon of great grilling traditions. His version of traditional kalbi features ribs that are cut across the bone and flattened so they cook quickly. It also allows the deliciously sticky soy and brown-sugar marinade to coat more surface area so that every edge caramelizes. The result is equal parts bitter char and sweet candy — and some of the best barbecue in town.

We are always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at cheryl.baehr@riverfronttimes.com.

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