The Top Ten Dishes of 2007: #1

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This week I'm counting down my ten favorite dishes of 2007 -- and the absolute worst thing I ate all year.

#1. Sweetbreads at Franco

I loved the sautéed sweetbreads I had on my first visit to Franco (the RFT's and our readers' pick for Best New Restaurant 2007) so much that I tried to order them again when I returned a few days later. (They were sold out.) That was almost one year ago now, and on the first draft of this list, I had the sweetbreads penciled at No. 2. But then I decided to pay another visit to Franco (where, I must admit, they have figured out who I am) and try executive chef Justin Keimon's current sweetbreads dish.

This was fantastic, even better than the original: sweetbreads and mushrooms in a Madeira glaze between two thin layers of pastry shell and sitting atop a cauliflower purée. The composition looks an awful lot like biscuits and gravy, and the flavor is incredibly rich -- meaty, yes, with the sweetbreads' mild earthy notes and a passing sweetness from the Madeira glaze.

Franco 1535 South Eighth Street 314-436-2500

-Ian Froeb

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