10 Dishes We Loved in 2018

From new restaurants to an old favorite, these were the dishes we couldn’t stop eating last year.

Gougères at UnWined80 Rte 6, Baldwin Pl; 914.519.6190Small-plates dining was a big trend in 2018. This wine bar from the owners of UnCorked Wines & Spirits embraced it with an entire menu of sharing plates, including these almost-custardy Gruyère cheese puffs that are the perfect salty snack to pair with a glass (or three) of wine.Related: Small Plates Are the New Big ThingRuss & Daughters Cinnamon Babka French Toast at Polpettina102 Fisher Ave, Eastchester; 914.961.0061
147 Larchmont Ave, Larchmont; 914.341.1460
We did brunch at Polpettina for the Italian-inspired twists on classics like cacio-e-pepe-style scrambled eggs and porchetta BEC sandwiches. But our favorite dish was actually this French toast made with thick slices of cinnamon babka from NYC’s Russ & Daughters, drizzled with lots of miso caramel.
All the Hot Dogs at Walter’s937 Palmer Ave, Mamaroneck; 914.500.5029
186 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains; 914.397.9406
With expansion into trucks and the opening of a second stand in Stamford, followed by a sit-down location in White Plains, could Walter’s maintain its quality? The answer is a resounding yes, and with the split, griddled dogs available outside of Mamaroneck, we ate even more of them in 2018.

Mandarin Pork Shank at O Mandarin361 N Central Ave, Hartsdale; 914.437.9168Intricately carved décor, soup dumplings, and traditional Peking duck are just a few things we love about this Hartsdale restaurant. Added to the list in 2018: this braised, Flinstonian pork shank, spiced with plenty of peppercorns, that’s don’t-even-need-a-knife, falling-off-the-bone tender.
Duck Agnolotti at Único10 N Central Ave, Hartsdale; 914.607.3363Hartsdale scores another spot on this list with one of our favorite openings of 2018. While the menu at Chef Brian Sernatinger’s restaurant is an eclectic mix of international flavors, these agnolotti, with a smooth duck-confit-and-ricotta filling, shiitake mushrooms, and marsala-cream sauce, were easily the best pasta we had all year.
Meat and Cheese Board from Graze New YorkWhen this New Rochelle-based business dropped by our office for a shoot back in February, we fell on this board of assorted meats and cheeses like a pack of ravenous wolves. It doesn’t hurt, either, that each one of these party-read platters (there are also colorful vegetable and breakfast options) are beautifully presented.

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Lasooni Gobi at Little Drunken Chef36 E Main St, Mount Kisco; 914.242.8800We saw lots of cauliflower — roasted florets, rice, whole heads, shaved salads, and more — in 2018. Despite all the creative treatments, this traditional Indian dish of deep-fried florets in a sticky, garlic-chili sauce was our favorite iteration.
Melanzana at Rafele Rye26 Purchase St, Rye; 914.481.8417 Maybe it’s nostalgia that swayed us, but it wasn’t Chef Raffaele Ronca’s best-in-America cheesecake (according to Food & Wine) that won us over as much as this delicate eggplant parm. Slices of sweet eggplant (no breading in sight) are layered with just-acidic-enough tomato sauce and milky buffalo mozzarella for a superlative version (that’s just like the one my grandmother used to make).

Oyster Taco at TRUCK391 Old Post Rd, Bedford; 914.234.8900 Of the 50+ tacos we ate for our August issue, we loved the authentic birria at Restaurant Tecalitlan in New Rochelle, the tacos arabes at Yonkers’ Tacos El Poblano, and the chorizo tacos from Las Brisas and the pork chile verde at Taco Shack, both in Port Chester. But the taco that surprised us most was this briny, slaw-topped fried oyster version — served with a seasonal Margarita, of course — from hyper-local TRUCK in Bedford.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara at TVB by Pax Romana171 E Post Rd, White Plains; 914.831.3303More than a year after the first location closed due to a landlord dispute, Pax Romana reopened in White Plains, and we’re happy to report that the carbonara is still on the menu. Made with eggs, cheese, pepper, and guanciale, the creamy sauce coats each strand of fresh spaghetti in the most satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs way imaginable.
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Photo by Samantha Garbarini

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