James Beard Foundation Picks the 15 Best Dishes in America of 2015

The James Beard Foundation picked the 15 most memorable dishes around the country from restaurants like Shaya and Pubbelly

The Superiority Burger (L) and Calamari Kari Out from RockCreek (R)

As the New Year draws nearer, you’ll be seeing a lot of “Best of 2015” roundups around the web. For food lovers and frequent diners, few memories are as important as the best things we ate all year. We entrust the ranking of America’s 15 best dishes in 2015 to the James Beard Foundation, whose editors listed 15 of the best fork-to-mouth experiences this year, many of which were featured on James Beard House dinner menus.

The Daily Meal received exclusive access to this list, which runs the gastronomic gamut, including creative, boundary-breaking, and tempting hors d’ouevres, main dishes, and desserts from across America. Here are some highlights from the list with annotations from James Beard editors about each dish’s unique qualities:

Avocado with Toasted Pumpernickel, Smoked Whitefish, and Pink Peppercorns

From chef Alon Shaya at Shaya in New Orleans: “The Holy Grail of avocado toast belongs to Alon Shaya, our 2015 Beard Award winner for Best Chef: South…. His take on the cult-favorite snack was a nod to his favorite Jewish deli order, layered with thick slabs of avocado, smoky whitefish, and bursts of piquant pink peppercorns.”

Calamari “Kari Out” with Garlic, Basil, Escarole, Red Onion, and Toasted Sesame

From chef Eric Donnelly of RockCreek in Seattle: “This starter, one of RockCreek’s signature dishes, is served tongue-in-cheek in a Chinese takeout box, complete with chopsticks…. The rings are tossed in cornmeal and mixed with a blend of sharp garlic and red onion, escarole, basil, and a drizzle of an addictive house-made sauce, thick and salty-sweet with a kick.”

Superiority Burger

An upscale veggie burger from chef Brooks Headley at Superiority Burger in New York City: “The nostalgic Martin's potato roll of my childhood squished Headley's quinoa-based burger, Muenster cheese, mustard, pickles, and iceberg lettuce into the perfect hand-held bite.”

Cavatappi with Roasted Bone Marrow, Garlic, Parmesan, Parsley, and Bread Crumbs

From chef Michael Fiorelli at Love & Salt in Manhattan Beach, California: “Southern California–based chef Michael Fiorelli combined common kitchen staples (bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, and garlic) with the ever-indulgent and increasingly trendy bone marrow.”

Sweet Corn Agnolotti with Heirloom Green Tomatoes, Toasted Hazelnuts, Black Truffles, and Ham Hock Consommé

From chef Erin Clarke at Casa Luca in Washington: “Her variations were filled with sweet summer corn, floating delicately in a gentle pool of ham hock consommé, and garnished with heirloom green tomatoes, crunchy toasted hazelnuts, earthy black truffles, and even some dainty edible flowers.”

Raw Beef with Uni, Sunchokes, Shoyu, and Ramps

From chef Jeremy Fox at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica: “The perfect balance of textures, the umami-packed flavor of the uni, the salty bite from the shoyu, and the unexpected, delicate floral notes from the spring lilies all crescendoed into the ultimate rarity: complete silence, the mark of a true culinary slam-dunk.”

French Onion Pho with Braised Brisket Dumplings, Roasted Bone Marrow, and Baguette

From chefs Helene An and Tony Nguyen  at House of An in Beverly Hills: “Presented in an elegant, deconstructed format, the chefs asked diners to engage in the fusion of the components, including uncovering vermicelli noodles tucked into a blanched onion shell, and breaking open a petite packet of brisket wrapped delicately in dumpling skin. Once blended together, the marriage of pho’s earthy, marrow-based broth with the rich depth of the alliums of French onion soup led to a memorable, deeply flavored bite.”

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See the rest of the list here.