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LaBan picks his 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.


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

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.