1) Parmigiano Crusted Farm Egg at Orzo. Imagine an election ballot with dozens of choices. Such is the conundrum at Orzo, where chef Tommy Lasley’s new menu includes so many options that it is difficult to know which to choose. Among appetizers, pastas, and entrees, there are more than twenty-six dishes. And, that doesn’t include specials! With a menu so large, it is inevitable that some dishes will be better than others. The trick is to hone in on the standouts. That’s what we’re here for. During a recent group meal at Orzo, we enjoyed nearly all of the dishes we tried, but the winner in a landslide was the Parmigiano Crusted Farm Egg with Italian Porcinis, Crispy Broccoli Rabe, Chickpeas, and Italian Pecorino. It left some swooning, and won without running a single negative ad about the other dishes on the menu.
2) Home-style Coleslaw at BBQ Exchange. It was only a few years ago that we discovered how serious the subject of coleslaw can be. We had not realized how passionate some people are about the humble dish found at almost any supermarket deli counter. We soon learned that attention to detail is required to perfect the dish, and opinions abound as to those details. Buttermilk or no buttermilk? What about vinegar? Should the cabbage be salted and rinsed before dressing? We were converts. Food TV personality Alton Brown devotes an entire episode to the precision required to get coleslaw right. At BBQ Exchange, chef Craig Hartman has perfected it. In texture and flavor, it is the Platonic ideal of Home-style coleslaw. As with most of the food at BBQ Exchange, we wouldn’t change a thing.