The best dishes we had at the Sneak Peek to Restaurant Week

It’s clear that this year’s Winter Restaurant Week is going to be packed with great dishes and exciting flavors.

After sampling dishes from 15 local restaurants at the Miami Valley Restaurant Association’s Sneak Peek to Winter Restaurant Week event held on Jan. 15 at the Steam Plant in downtown Dayton, it left us wanting more.

>>WINTER RESTAURANT WEEK: Complete list of participating restaurants

Winter Restaurant Week, happening Jan. 19-26, presents an opportunity to sample the best that local restaurants have to offer in the form of three-course meals priced at $20.19, $25.19, or $30.19 at a variety of restaurants all over town.

Hundreds of hungry guests showed up at the sneak peek to sample a small taste of what some restaurants will be serving up.

Here are five dishes that we can’t wait to try again.

>>  WINTER RESTAURANT WEEK: 6 menus that caught our eye

🍽 Calypso Grill and Smokehouse

1535 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs or 937-767-9000

Yellow Springs is no Jamaica, but food done well has the power to transport you from a table or booth, and one of my very favorite restaurants to open in 2018 has just the kind of food to do it. Housed in an old KFC adorned with bright Caribbean colors, Calypso Grill and Smokehouse is a little gem in the Dayton area restaurant scene that deserves attention. Their dish was a local beef brisket from South Charleston rubbed and marinated in jerk sauce and smoked over pimento wood until juicy and tender. The meat masterpiece that emerged was served on a bed of local organic collard greens cooked with coconut milk, rum and aromatics accompanied by creamy mac n cheese made with fresh sweet corn and fire roasted bell peppers.

>>MORE: This DREAMY Caribbean food at Yellow Springs grill will help you escape winter 

🍽 elé Bistro and Wine Bar

3680 Rigby Road, Miamisburg or 937-384-2253

Last year’s sneak peek featured a duck confit salad with goat cheese, arugula, smoked cherries, cherry vinaigrette, and crispy fried leeks. It struck all the right notes and was absolutely delicious. This year a warm mushroom salad with mascarpone, pancetta and toasted hazelnuts on a bed of arugula was completely different and just as good. They do great things with food and it was a treat to have them present.

🍽 Basil’s on Market

Basil’s Dayton: 312 N. Patterson Blvd., Dayton, 937-818-4390

Basil’s Troy: 18 N. Market Street, Troy, 937-875-2068

Basil’s Mason: 5650 Tylersville Road, Mason, 513-445-4637

Beautiful cuts of sesame crusted seared ahi tuna served on top of a fried wonton on a bed of sautéed vegetables drizzled with Asian dressing were as beautiful as they were delicious. Light, refreshing and flavorful, it was a real treat and executed well at the event thanks to quality product and talented staff.

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🍽 Salar Restaurant and Lounge

400 E. 5th St., Dayton or 937-203-3999

Pan seared strips of filet mignon with sautéed onions, tomatoes, yellow Peruvian peppers and spices tossed with French fries over Jasmine rice. The double carb load of the French fries and the Jasmine rice were a bit much, but the filet strips were fantastic. When it comes to adding flavor to a meal Salar knows what it’s doing and does it well.

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🍽 Tavern at the Greene

920 W. Dayton Yellow Springs Road, Fairborn or 937-203-3343

Tavern at the Greene brought their A-game to this event. Their set-up was the best by far and consistently had the longest line likely due to what was being served — a bourbon chocolate ganache campfire ice cream. The creamy chocolate ice cream topped with a bourbon chocolate ganache graham cracker, chocolate bar and a toasted marshmallow seared with a kitchen butane torch was well executed, pretty to look at and absolutely delicious.

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