the mafalda at elmwood in maplewood photo by izaiah johnson

Critic Michael Renner picks his top 3 dishes of 2019

Longtime critic Michael Renner dines out a lot to bring readers his New and Notable review each month. Here are the three best things he ate this year. 

1. Mafalda at Elmwood
The memory of twirling tangled strands of frilly-edged house-made mafalda noodles in a rich and hearty grilled vegetable Bolognese with a touch of cream and a fluffy snowfall of shaved Parmesan still lingers.

shima-aji sashimi at indo // photo by izaiah johnson

2. Shima-aji Sashimi at Indo
Age striped horse mackerel for five days to coax deeper flavor? Great idea. Garnish the buttery soft, silvery slices with puffed buckwheat, crimson trout roe and verdant pearls of fresh ground wasabi root for crunch and color? Spectacular.

pork steak at beast, butcher & block // photo by izaiah johnson

3. Pork Steak at Beast Butcher & Block
Massively thick cuts of richly marbled Duroc pork butt are hickory-smoked, sauced and chargrilled to a caramelized, crisp crust before getting hit with a peppery spice rub.