Behold the beginning of our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2016 listicle! Every day through the publication of our Best Of 2016 issue (and sometimes, twice a day), we’ll be bringing you our favorite dishes across Orange County, leading up to the best in the land. Enjoy!
My review of Krave Asian Fusion was nearly all about the fried chicken. In it, I said:
The chicken skin wasn’t just fully rendered of its fat by the double-fry method, the hallmark of all Korean-style fried chickens; it was detached with an air gap in between meat and skin, forming a hollow, crunchy, candy shell you could rap with a spoon. We couldn’t decide whether it was like Peking duck, a crème brûlée or a combination of the two. But we agreed everything about it was perfect—this was a new level of achievement in the art of Korean fried chicken. If Kyochon and BonChon brought on the culinary trend’s renaissance, this masterpiece was its Sistine Chapel.
But in my zeal to rhapsodize about the chicken, I completely forgot to mention the garlic noodles I tried there, which were also great. I was reminded of it when a friend bragged about the garlic noodles he recently ate at AnQi.
I’ve eaten AnQi’s noodles. These are better than AnQi’s.
Heck, I would pit Krave’s dish against anything that calls itself “garlic noodles”. Perhaps its greatness comes from its subversiveness. I never saw it coming. The menu treats them like a throwaway side dish. So when I took my chopsticks to it, I was immediately floored. Here was something that reminded me of the oil-dressed noodles of my childhood in Indonesia. It had all the markings of that seminal dish—chewy, stretchy pasta that was pepper-flecked and slicked in savory-flavored oil.
Before I knew it, I’d Hoovered the entire serving, even after I ate all that fried chicken.
So let me offer this addendum to my earlier review: if Krave’s chicken is its Sistine Chapel, these noodles are its Statue of David.
83. Broccolini at SeaSalt WoodFire Grill
84. Spicy Tuna Roll at Yard House
85. Amber Roll at Orange Roll and Sushi
86. Frito Chili Cheeseburger at Burger Parlor
87. Maui Sunrise at The Original Banzai Bowls
88. Meals from The Performance Kitchen
89. Pizza-Sized Quesadilla at Los Sanchez
90. Filipino Brunch at EATS Kitchen And Bar
91. Mexican Chocolate at the Pie Hole
92. Biscuits at James Republic
93. Mushroom Flatbread with Kale and Kumquat Salad at Lemonade
94. Mexican-Style Gelatins from Santa Ana’s Gelatina Goddess
95. Hot Pastrami Caesar Salad at Bruxie
96. Jalapeño Pupusas at Las Cazuelas
97. Meatball Sliders at Fresh Brothers
98. Buffalo Cauliflower at Mead’s Green Door Cafe
99. Raindrop Cake at Sunmerry Bakery
100. Doughrito at Surfin’ Donuts
Before becoming an award-winning restaurant critic for OC Weekly in 2007, Edwin Goei went by the alias “elmomonster” on his blog Monster Munching, in which he once wrote a whole review in haiku.