LaBan picks his dish of the year

Hungry Pigeon’s salsa verde-braised chicken is Craig LaBan's dish of the year.

In a year full of fantastic flavors, debuts, and culinary acrobatics, some performances were particularly memorable. Over the next few days, I'll be sharing the Philly dining stars of 2016 I won’t soon forget.

DISH OF THE YEAR

Hungry Pigeon’s salsa verde-braised chicken. Big dish communal dining became a thing in 2016. But few centerpieces invoked the cozy comfort of sharing, or the multiculti fluency of today’s menus, like the Hungry Pigeon’s steel pan of tomatillo salsa-braised chicken with fresh pressed tortillas, refried beans, and all the fixings. Can every night be build-your-own taco night?

Craig LaBan had this to say about Hungry Pigeon in his original review:

Scott Schroeder's updated comfort food, showcased in multiple menus for the all-day service at Hungry Pigeon, is hitting another level of ambition, from the gorgeously gamey and tender pigeon with oyster mushrooms to a whey-braised goat Stroganoff tangled up in homey ribbons of egg noodles sparked with tart pickles and a fistfuls of dill, to platters served on enameled trays and iron skillets with hot pads that simply oblige diners to grab hold and share.

With a hot pile of fresh-pressed tortillas stacked over a pan of braised Lancaster chicken in tomatillo salsa with cuminy refried beans and all the fixings on the side (house-pickled jalapeños; queso fresco; radishes; guac), build-your-own taco night has never been so much fun.

Read the full original review of Hungry Pigeon here.

Looking for more of Craig LaBan's best? Buy a copy of Ultimate Dining at philly.com/store.

On Wednesday, Craig LaBan named his best new restaurant of 2016 and his chef of 2016. Look for his full Year in Bells in the Sunday Inquirer.