Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Best of 2009 Part 1

After reading Diana's Best of 2009, I started to looked back at some of my pictures of the food I've consumed in the previous year and figured it's a good idea to put together a list of my own. As with everything in life, everyone has different taste buds, thus this list may vary from person to person. However, these are the food I've thought about often over time. I guess this is food porn at its best!

I'll start off Kung Food Panda's Top 5 restaurants of 2009:

1) Urasawa, "the very best sushi in Los Angeles." " The sushi mecca,""the best money you could spend outside of Masa in New York City." Those were some of the words I've heard before actually trying out "The U" back in March of 2009. Outside of saying the meal was a life altering experience, I could safely say, it was the BEST sushi I've ever had in my life, and probably the BEST meal I've ever had, regardless of the type of cuisine.


Chef Hiro Urasawa, truly, an artist at work

2) Restaurant Toque!, one of the best rated restaurant in Montreal, and I could see why they earned the acclaim. Upon trying their 7 course degustation, the impeccable service, the food, the atmosphere, it definitely gave Urasawa a run for their money. Toque! was one reason I'm definitely going back to Montreal in the future. The rabbit confit was definitely a hit for me and my dining companions that night! Bravo Toque!


Restaurant Toque!

3) Au Pied de Cochon, another restaurant I tried during my trip to Montreal. I could go further with my take on Au Pied de Cochon, but why not hear from Anthony Bourdain on his Quebec episode for No Reservations?

Simple thing, do you like foie gras? If you do, don't EVER miss out on Au Pied de Cochon!

Duck in a Can

Au Pied de Cochon's famous Duck in a Can

4) Melisse, headed by owner and executive chef Josiah Citrin, offers his exceptional take on French style cooking. I had two meals here in 2009 and was impressed with both. Another restaurant I seriously need to finish blogging, Chef Citrin was able to take one ingredient I've never been enamored with (poultry), and made it one of the best dishes I've had in 2009. One of the most complete meals I've had in Los Angeles in 2009, I'm definitely looking forward to return to Melisse sometime in 2010 (especially due to the fact I received a $50 GC for attending their 10 course tasting menu).

Side view of Melisse

Exterior shot of Melisse

5) Petrossian/Ludobites (tie): I might be taking the easy way out here, but it was hard to really drop one of the above referenced restaurants. I'm truly amazed at Chef Ludo Lefebvre's innovative style of cooking and his willingness to learn and adapt to various styles of cuisine. The finished results were usually fantastic. Even as of last night, Wesley of twohungrypandas and I were still discussing the lychee creme brulee we had as the last Ludobites meal. Simply amazing!

Deconstruction of Bloody Mary

"Deconstruction of Bloody Mary" at Ludobites

For Petrossian West Hollywood, Chef Benjamin Bailly has taken what was supposed to be a specialty caviar and smoked salmon shop into one of the better finds in 2009. The previous I had there was utterly fantastic, highlighted by the truffles mac 'n cheese amongst many of the dishes that night. I'm really looking forward to my return visits there. Bravo monsieur Bailly!

Black Truffle Mac & Cheese - Orrechiette, bacon, parmesan

Truffle Mac 'N Cheese @ Petrossian WeHo

I'm looking forward to many more fine eats in 2010, but those above 6 restaurants offered me the most memorable experiences and I'll never turn down a return visits there. I am though, a bit surprised 5 of the restaurants were French influenced meals, as prior to last year, I've rarely had French style cuisine, as I tended to coil around the food around the San Gabriel Valley. Regardless, I'm looking forward to part 2 of my best of 2009, as I'll go over my top 10 favorite dishes I've had in the previous year. Until then, bon Appétit!


Diana said...

I NEED that mac n cheese.

kevinEats said...

Interesting that you mention Petrossian. I guess I do need to make it over there some time. How long do you think Chef Bailly will stay there?

Gastronomer said...

An excellent round up KFP! My birthday is coming up in February and a fancy pants dinner is definitely in order. Since Montreal is out of the question, should Vern take me to Melisse or Petrosian?

joanh said...

great list! i have yet to eat at any of them, though everyone's photos/posts about Urasawa have really got me curious, since there is a lot of fantastic sashimi/sushi in Taipei.

Kung Food Panda said...

Diana: You and me both! :)

Kevin: We should hit up Petrossian sometime this year. No idea on the status of Chef Bailly though.

Cathy: You can't go wrong with either, IMO!

Joan: I know of some of those places in Taipei, but I think Urasawa is just a step above those places. I can't see any place in Taiwan being better than Urasawa.

Pepsi Monster said...

So, it's Urasawa for both best meal and best restaurant of 2009? I don't know about that. Very good write up on this!

Kung Food Panda said...

Mike: It's hard to beat Urasawa, even after my NYC trip! Thanks man!