As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, bloggers, and readers. We've already covered Best Standbys, Top Newcomers, the Year in One Word and Best Restaurant Town Besides Portland. Now it's time for Best Meal of 2012. Readers, please add your thoughts to the comments.
Chef Geoffroy Deconinick, Natalie's, Camden [Photo: Ted Axelrod]
Q: What was your best meal in 2012?
Nancy Heiser, freelance restaurant critic, food writer: Two tips of the hat to executive chef Geoffroy Deconinck of Natalie's at the Camden Harbour Inn, where I had a topnotch meal at his midcoast restaurant set in a stylish Victorian Inn and repeated the experience with a meal he and his staff prepared in a private coastal home as part of at Kennebunkport Festival in June.
John Golden, The Golden Dish: It's still New York. Back Bay Grill. My main course was divine: a classic red wine reduction balancing a confit of prunes as the underpinnings of a succulent roast breast of pheasant. This was fine dining on a par rarely achieved elsewhere in town.
Joe Ricchio, Food Coma TV: I have to go with the chef's tasting menu at Natalie's in Camden... and staying in the Dutch Royal Suite afterwards... unbeatable.
Natalie Ladd, columnist, The Portland Daily Sun: Nico Ristorante, 417 Hanover Street, in the North End of Boston. We went in there with a $30 off $60 Groupon and were treated like family. And I mean The Family. They somehow managed to make me a version of a cosmo with their funky restricted alcohol licensing. The table was Martha Stewart elegant, the food selection limited and interesting (granted expensive even by local standards) and timing perfect. Locally, it was What's A Jew To Do?! Night (Christmas Eve) at Kon. Both go to show the company you keep makes all the difference in an otherwise good-to-amazing meal, making it the "best."
Alex Steed, Bourbon. Beer. Portland. Politics: The honey glazed and coconut donuts at the Grateful Bread in Windham. Seriously.
Susan Axelrod, editor Eater Maine: A late-night sushi fest at the bar at Miyake with chef Jeff Landry of The Farmer's Table and his wife, Suzie. I don't remember everything we ate, because Jeff ordered and Masa just kept the food coming, but every single morsel was exquisite.