RICHMOND, Va. — You’d think it would be tough to get the people who have their hands in all manner of foodstuffs to talk about their favorite food from 2017.
The award-winning chefs bringing you the good eats are more than willing to dish (sorry!) on their favorites. And who better to tell us where to go and what to eat than the people that love it/live it everyday?
What were your favorite chef’s favorites in 2017? Six of the best from the best (+1 for good New Year mojo).
1.) THE HOME RUN
It’s a home run. The pizza at Galley Go-To (We told you about it a month or so ago) is heralded by more than a few chefs. Lee Gregory, owner and chef of Southbound and the Roosevelt, loves it. So does his chef de cuisine, Craig Perkinson. Jason Alley, chef/owner of Comfort and Pasture, states “that stuff is dope.” The secret behind the pizza is “fermentation and biga” states Guistino Riccio, the man making the pie. “Biga is a method of pre-fermenting the dough used in Italy, especially Naples,” Riccio said.
EAT OF THE WEEK: Pizza lovers! We have a new contender for best pizza in Richmond. Sliced Potatoes and rosemary? Cacio e Pepe? Fried Chicken Skin? All specials at the new Galley To-Go. All pizza. Seems Guistino Riccio, songwriter and timbal player for Richmond’s salsa band Bio Ritmo, is not only musically talented. Riccio is the mastermind behind the exceptional pie coming out of this month-old spot in Stratford Hills. Word on the street is Riccio’s been working on his dough recipe for a year. And it shows – he’s obsessed with the “cornicione”, the raised rim of the pizza crust. Follow @giustinoriccio to watch his mouth-watering progress. ~ @callmerobey, food correspondent (PHOTO: Constantine Giavos)
2.) TINY DYNAMO
Brittanny Anderson, chef/owner of Brenner Pass, Chairlift and Metzger is in love with Dinamo’s chopped liver crostini. Dinamo lives under the radar near Virginia Commonwealth University. The quasi-little sister of Mamma Zu’s and Edo Squid’s is co-owned and operated by Mya Anatai and Brad Wein. Wein/Anatai fries the chopped chicken liver with rosemary and sage, then hand chops the liver with hard-boiled eggs and plenty of schmaltz (rendered chicken fat). She serves it with buttered crostini and red onion.
3.) PERF ‘EGG’ TION
David Shannon, owner and chef of L’ Oppossum, is a fan of the perfect egg at Dutch and Company.
“Michael and I just took a visiting friend from San Francisco to Dutch & Co. Everything is always spot -on, but the perfect egg really is a perfect dish,” Shannon said.
The Perfect Egg is a rye-encased soft egg served with a beautiful pink cured salmon over a bright yogurt from the minds of Chef Caleb Shriver and Chef Phillip Perrow. Shannon also mentions a Sunday drive treat to Charlottesville’s Alley Light.
“Ask for a low table or the club chairs in the window,” directs Shannon. Get the foie gras mousse with a brûlée’d crust.
4. BEST BRAISE
Michelle Williams, owner/chef at/of Richmond Restaurant Group (the restaurant group responsible for The Daily Kitchen in Carytown and Short Pump among multiple others) has little time to eat out. But when she does, one of her favorite dishes is at Edo Squid’s near Virginia Commonwealth University.
Williams lauds the braised fennel at the little eatery on Harrison Street. Braised then baked with Parmesan, the fennel is a staple at Edo’s. Cooked till tender and covered in Parmesan, it gains a deep sweet and savory quality.
5. SERIOUS SHRIMP
Mike Ledesma, chef of Kabana Rooftop and the soon-to-open Perch in Scott’s Addition loves Shagbark and not just one dish.
Shagbark, in Midtown, was opened last year by Walter Bundy formerly of Lemaire at the Jefferson. The restaurant has a micro-focus on Virginia’s (and the surrounding area) local bounty.
“I love everything at Shagbark,” Ledesma said. “It’s so well-executed and the cocktails are spot on.” Ledesma’s favorite is their head-on prawn dish, a Roanoke Sound Greentail shrimp and grits. The shrimp dish featured smoked bacon, roasted shallots and benne seeds.
6.) FULL KEE FOWL
Andrew Manning, one-third of the group behind the soon-to-open Longoven, loves Full Kee.
Full Kee opened in the late ‘90s with a menu heavy on Chinese classics and a weekend dim sum. “It still remains for me the best food in this city,” Manning said. His choice is the sautéed clams with fermented black bean sauce and the soy ginger chicken.
The chicken is precisely cooked with fresh ginger and a cilantro scallion sauce.
+1 DREAMY DESSERT
Alex Graf and Chris Fultz are gearing up for ZZQ to open in Scott’s Addition momentarily. The two behind the stand-in-line-for-hours authentic Texas brisket are enamored with the panna cotta at Saison. The dessert made its appearance over the summer and the two describe it as “heavenly.”
Adam Hall, owner and chef at Saison, recounts it as a chamomile panna cotta with honey comb, honey powder, and coriander honey “glass” brittle.
“The dish comes with a little honey sweetened cream and is by [sous chef] Thomas Owens,” Hall said. “It might swing back through when we can get hyper local honey and fresh chamomile.”