2009: The year in dining

By ROBERT NADEAU  |  December 28, 2009

DOUBLE-DIGIT-DOLLAR VEGETARIAN APPETIZER OF THE YEAR Roasted turnips with melted Taleggio cheese and a salad on top at Sportello, in South Boston.

SINGLE-DIGIT-DOLLAR VEGETARIAN APP OF THE YEAR Garlic soup at Con Sol, in Central Square.

BEST VEGAN APP TohuJaw, fried triangles of melts-in-your-mouth chickpea tofu, at Yoma, in Allston.

BEST FRIED CALAMARI (OF MY REVIEWING YEAR) The Local, in West Newton. It's sprinkled with green herbs and dipped in soy.

CLEAR SOUP OF THE YEAR Orange flavor with clams and Chinese parsley at Great Taste, in Chinatown.

THICK SOUP OF THE YEAR Seafood with assorted-vegetables hot pot at Jade Garden, in Chinatown.

BEST COLD SOUP (TIE) Chilled asparagus with a porcini flan at Franklin Southie, in South Boston; spring-pea and lemongrass soup at Sensing, on the Waterfront.

ITALIAN TAPAS Sicilian tuna meatballs at Ristorante Damiano, in the North End.

BEST DUMPLINGS Mu Lan Taiwanese Restaurant, near Kendall Square.

BEST PASTA (TIE) Marissa Iocco's pappardelle, gnocchi, and lobster agnolotti at Spiga, in Needham; Barbara Lynch's pappardelle and gnocchi at Sportello.

BEST PIZZA The grilled flatbread with roast pork pieces, fig jam, cheese, and fresh chopped arugula at Pairings, in the Theater District.

COMPOSED ENTRÉE OF THE YEAR (TIE) Crispy suckling pig confit at Bina Osteria; sea scallops with oxtail at Pairings.

SCROD OF THE YEAR Chatham cod with fingerling potatoes and a lobster-and-corn-chowder sauce at City Table, in Back Bay.

LOBSTER OF THE YEAR Maine-lobster-salad appetizer — a lovely pile of the meat of about one-third of a lobster, prettied up with paper-thin slices of raw choggia beet (the stripy ones), some arugula, and genuine aged balsamic vinegar — at Asana, in Back Bay.

BEST NEW SPECIES EATEN Mantis shrimp at Jade Garden, in Chinatown.

TOP GRILLAGE Shrimp in a surprising synergy with tomato sauce, basil, and tagliatelle at Panza, in the North End.

FISH WRAP Pasha salmon wrapped in grape leaves at Saray, in Allston.

BEST VEGETARIAN ENTRÉE (TIE) "Vegetable Phyllo Assemblage" with great barley succotash at ArtBar, in East Cambridge; pappardelle with carrot cream sauce, zucchini, peas, and wild mushrooms, at Rowes Wharf Sea Grille, on the Waterfront.

BURGER OF THE YEAR "Handmade Angus burger" at the Stork Club, in the South End.

BEST EGGPLANT "Sultan's Delight," mashed with cheese, at Saray.

EXOTIC VEGETABLE OF THE YEAR Shishito peppers (careful how you say that), at both Exotic Sushi and Tapas, in the Financial District, and at Pairings.

BEST MAC 'N' CHEESE Served on the Porterhouse steak at Sofia Italian Steakhouse, in West Roxbury.

MAJOR GARLIC, I PRESUME? (TIE) Lobster ravioli at Panza; white-bean dip at Gennaro's, in the North End.

EL EXIGENTE DEMANDS GREAT COFFEE French-press coffee at Tupelo, in Inman Square.

DESSERT PRESENTATION Chocolate mousse in a glass cone inside a glass cube at the Stork Club.

FUNNIEST MENU PROSE "Grilled wild swordfish" at East Side Bar and Grille, in Inman Square. Try to imagine a tame swordfish.

FUNNIEST FOOD ERROR Crème non-brûlée at the Kinsale, near Government Center. Not what I meant by a topless bar.

Robert Nadeau can be reached at robtnadea@aol.com.

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