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Best *new* food in 2006?

I was thinking about the best new** entries into the Boston chow market in 2006. Of course I return to my favorites, but this year I was happy to have for the first time:

- salty spicy chicken from Mulan
- pepperoni pizza from the Paddock
- Beef on Weck at ASSBar
- lavender ferns at Anise
- many new nibbles at Gargoyles' bar, most notably tuna poke
- my first try of Hei La Moon
- mutton chops at Tamarind Bay
- chicken liver crostini at Trattoria Toscana
- salade nicoise at Eastern Standard
- squid and borlotti beans at Rendezvous
- beef stew with bahn mi at Xinh Xinh
- cold noodles with asian pear at Wu Chon house

** Some of these aren't new, but they were new to me, and for that I have Chowhounds to thank.

What tickled your fancy this year?

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  1. Great topic! Here are some good ones that were new to me in 2006:

    --pepperoni pizza at Bianchi's in Revere
    --Caesar salad at Potbellies in South Boston
    --cubano at Chez Henri in Cambridge
    --arroz con pollo at Las Palmas de Cuba in Hanover
    --cheeseburger at Mission Bar and Grill in Brigham Circle
    --beef dumplings at Shanghai Gate in Allston
    --steak tips at Salem Wood Cafe in Malden
    --country pad Thai at Sweet Chili in Arlington

    The best of the best would have to be the cubano at Chez Henri...

    2 Replies
    1. re: hiddenboston

      Ya know ... I was lucky to be able to compare the cubano at Chez Henri to the one at the Plough and Stars over this past week. The P&S version is not too shabby (although they use gherkins instead of pickle strips which is a little annoying), but I'm changing my last meal request to the amazing sandwich at Chez Henri. Alert the warden. That's what I want before heading to the chair.

      1. re: yumyum

        I had the same comparison meal recently. The P&S is a decent version, but no one is de-throning the cubano at Chez Henri.

    2. -Gnocchi and shortribs at Grotto
      -Skillet cornbread at Union
      -Strawberry cream puff at Beard Papa
      -Dragon Roll at Douzo
      -Crayfish Bisque with Reuben Fritters at Gargoyles

      1. New to me this year:

        -reuben fritters at Gargoyles
        -cuban at Chez Henri
        -peking duck and those delicious homemade noodles at King Fung Garden
        -steak tips and pizza at the Paddock
        -Big Night dinner at Grotto (loved the timpano)

        2 Replies
        1. re: lissy

          Reuben fritters!! Please elaborate!

          1. re: tatamagouche

            OMG they were so good (I was the lucky one to share the order with Lissy!)
            Basically they are everything that goes on a reuben sandwich (corned beef, kraut, swiss cheese) formed into a (big) bite-sized ball and deep fried. Served with russian dressing for dipping.
            SOOOO Good! Definitely an indulgence and not for every day, but man were they good.

        2. Does Tamarind Bay really have mutton chops yumyum? How are they cooked? I've been looking for these ever since having them at a place called Keen's in NYC.

          5 Replies
          1. re: steinpilz

            Yep, they were mutton, (right Alcachofa)? Or were they just described as mutton? They were a special dish made for us because one in our party knew the owner (and hence we didn't think it was appropriate to write a review).

            My memory is a little hazy at this point but I believe they were marinated in yogurt and spices and grilled. You might call them and inquire.

            1. re: yumyum

              I'm guessing that it's called mutton but isn't really. Indian restaurants sometimes use the term interchangeably or to describe older lamb. Even Keen's no longer serves a mutton chop but a larger chop from an older lamb. The one time, I had a mutton chop at Keen's it was gargantuan and gamey tasting in a pleasant sort of way.

              1. re: gourmaniac

                Sure it wasn't goat? "Mutton" is Indian English for goat.

                1. re: gourmaniac

                  Right, a big saddle cut broiled and crispy. I also read that at Keen's it's an "older lamb" but it was clearly much bigger and more flavorful. Not sure about mutton and goat, I've never had goat actually so it might be fun (couldn't bring myself to buy any at Haymarket). I'll try calling.

            2. i LOVE the nicoise at eastern standard! that and their salmon are my two favorite things on the menu!!