1) Lamb Bolognese at Brookville. Not many people look at a rib-sticking dish like bolognese and think: “You know what this needs more of? Richness.” But, then again, Brookville has always marched to the beat of its own drum, and has never held back. In a recent addition to the “Munchies” menu, Brookville replaces the ragu’s traditional beef plate or veal with an even richer cut: ground leg of lamb. The preparation reveres the dish’s roots, as the lamb is cooked for six hours with carrots, onions, rosemary, white wine and cream. It’s then served over grits and topped with smoked Piedmont cheese and a few leafs of micro basil. In typical Brookville fashion, it’s all local: lamb sourced from Autumn Olive Farms, carrots from City Market, onions from Local Food Hub, wine from Veritas, herbs from Manakintowne, cheese from Everona Dairy, and grits from Woodson’s Mill. The result is astounding. The lamb seems a natural fit. Created by sous chef Dylan Allwood, this is one of the best things we’ve eaten all year.
2) Algerian Spiced Chicken at Bashir’s Taverna. Bashir’s has been dishing out good sandwiches on the downtown mall for so long that it is easy to take it for granted. We can remember Bashir’s in its original hole-in-the wall digs on the mall, what seems like ages ago. While we go through phases as to our sandwich of choice, one of our current favorites is the Algerian Spiced Chicken, an occasional special. Moist, heavily spiced, slices of chicken breast are served on crusty house bread. Say yes when they ask if you’d like tzatziki. It is house-made, delicious, and helps mellow the zesty spices.