Last week I wrote about my favorite burgers and sandwiches in 2015. This week it’s appetizers. Or appetizers as a main course! I find that the appetizers are often the most imaginative and flavorful part of a restaurant menu. If I’m not excited by anything on the main course side of the menu, instead I’ll order a series of appetizers.
Topping my list of favorite appetizers this year has to be the shortrib meatball appetizer at Pazzo! on Fifth Avenue South. What a perfect combination! I always love shortribs and I find them hard to resist when they are on the main course menu. These not-so-little tasty nuggets are served classic meatball style smothered in tasty tomato sauce and melted cheese.
A few blocks down the street at Osteria Tulia is probably the most delicious pate I’ve ever tasted. I crave this pate on colder nights when the restaurant’s Tuscan farmhouse style is so warm and inviting. Chef Vincenzo creates a smooth, very savory chicken liver pate that he tops with a fried egg and pancetta and serves with chunks of house-made toast. Spread the pate over the toast and then dip it into the runny egg yolk…..it’s the perfect hearty appetizer.
My newest surprise favorite soup as appetizer is any soup on the specials menu at Jimmy P’s fabulous new restaurant Charred. The steak and potato
soup that is always on the regular menu is creamy and chunky and delicious, but the chef often makes special soups that are outstanding. If you’re a soup person (and I am) these are not to be missed. Butternut squash bisques served in little pumpkins was a recent fall treat that was one of my favorite all time soups to look at and especially to eat. But be forewarned, this restaurant is very popular and as it enters it’s first season, reservations will be a must.
And finally, one of my all-time favorite appetizers is a plate of the Moreton Bay Bugs at Preston’s Steakhouse. Small lobsters from Australia, they are sweet tender little morsels served completely out of the shell with drawn butter and a side of rice. The flavor is delicate and the texture is like the finest lobster you’ll ever have.
Pazzo! Italian Cafe
853 5th Avenue South
466 5th Avenue South
1833 Tamiami Trail N.
109 Tamiami Trail South