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Friends of Eater Recall Their Single Best Meals of 2014

As we put a cap on 2014, Eater surveyed a group of critics, writers, and all around experts for their take on the past year. We asked them eight questions: from Top Standbys to Top Newcomers, from Best Meals to Restaurants Broken Up With. All answers will be revealed—cut, pasted, unedited and unadulterated—by the time we pop the cork on 2015.

Many people reported great meals at 42 Grams in 2014
Many people reported great meals at 42 Grams in 2014
Marc Much

Q: What was your single best meal in 2014?

Mike Gebert, Reader: 42 Grams back in March. Admittedly a tasting menu does have more chances to wow in a single night than, say, Parachute or The Radler.

Melissa McEwen, Chicagoist: Upriver Trenchermen dinner with Hog & Hominy.

Penny Pollack, Chicago MagazineSo many.

Sarah Freeman, Zagat: Dinner at 42 Grams (the summer menu, to be specific, that featured an incredible interpretation of tacos al pastor) takes the prize this year — Jake's food is elegant yet approachable with an emphasis on un-muddled flavors.

Amy Cavanaugh, Time Out ChicagoIn Chicago, 42 Grams was the right combination of delicious, surprising and fun. Out of Chicago, I adored Rose's Luxury in DC.

Chris LaMorte, UrbanDaddy: Elizabeth, spring menu.

Chandra Ram, Plate: In my fantasy life, I live next to Buvette's in the West Village, and eat their steak tartare and carrot salad daily.

Michael Nagrant, RedEye: Dinner in The Office at Aviary. I worked on the Alinea cookbook back in the day. I know Nick, Grant, Chris Gerber, Dave Beran Charles Joly, Brochu etc. They know me. That being said, I don't try to ask those guys for special treatment. That being said, these guys being the classiest restaurant concern around always take care of me whenever I drop by. It's the only place in Chicago this happens, and of course, I stopped writing about them professionally years ago as a result. So full disclosures and humblebragging aside, I arranged to drink with my best friend and his wife one night at Aviary, and apparently Achatz told Gerber and Chef Brochu to "bury me." Indeed, they left me 6 feet under with the whole kitchen table menu from Aviary in addition to the foie terrine, oysters and other stuff I ordered, including everything from an unbelievable cucumber and buttermilk salad to a seafood walking taco to the frozen foie gras snickers dessert, plus some punches and a cocktail inspired by Doc Brown's Cel Ray soda (one of my faves) from Joly. I have rarely eaten better.

The Aviary

955 N. Morgan St & W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 Visit Website

42 grams

4662 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640 Visit Website