I don’t normally cover restaurant awards because there are so damn many of them. But this is special. Bloomberg News rarely strays away from New York or Europe to name best restaurant dishes. And true to form in 2016 they pretty much stayed with their usual coverage for their 19 best dishes.
But there was a MAJOR exception this year as Austin’s Emmer & Rye on Rainey was named for having one of the best dishes of 2016. Chef Kevin Fink’s Cacci e Pepe (literally cheese and pepper) pasta dish is, in the style of the best Italian cooking, quite simple. But the flavor is nothing short of amazing. I’ve tried the dish and I concur with Bloomberg. The fact that Fink mills his own pasta and adds a bit of fermented tomato water to what Bloomberg describes as “buttery coating” on the pasta certainly can’t hurt.
But what really makes this accolade so impressive is that no other restaurant in the entire southern US was named. In fact the closest (geographically) winner to Emmer & Rye was a restaurant in Washington, D.C. called Black Pepper Pastry. Now that really makes one take pause. One more step for Austin on its way to national recognition as a major food city.