In advance of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association's Winter Restaurant Week happening Jan. 20-27, the MVRA hosted a sneak peek kick-off event on Jan. 16 at the Steam Plant in downtown Dayton. ALEXIS LARSEN / CONTRIBUTING WRITER

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

Resisting a sneak peek takes resolve and will power — especially when it comes to food. 

In advance of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association's Winter Restaurant Week happening Jan. 20-27, the MVRA hosted a sneak peek kick-off event on Jan. 16 at the Steam Plant in downtown Dayton. 

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The Sneak Peek event has long been a favorite of mine. It's an affordable ticket that allows you to sample multiple dishes that will be served throughout restaurant week all at once — a task that you would have a difficult and expensive time accomplishing in the span of the week otherwise. 

This year 13 restaurants participated in the Sneak Peek. 

A large crowd of hungry guests showed up to sample a small taste of what some restaurants will be serving up this year for Winter Restaurant Week. Across the board, the food that we tried was delicious, with several dishes that rose to the top. Here are five dishes that we can't wait to try again. 

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 ele Bistro and Wine Bar 

3680 Rigby Road, Miamisburg, (937) 384-2253 

This is a restaurant that continues to impress. The duck confit salad with goat cheese, arugula, smoked cherries, cherry vinaigrette, and crispy fried leeks was light, delicious, flavorful, smoky and savory. It struck all the right notes and was absolutely delicious. 

 Dewberry 1850 

1414 S. Patterson Blvd., Dayton, (937) 586-4150 

And speaking of being impressed, here's another spot that does an excellent job when it comes to creating a food experience that works. For sneak peek, they served up braised oregano garlic chicken on smoked cheddar biscuits with jalapeño jelly. It was hard not to go back for thirds. And if that sounds good, you won't want to miss checking out their restaurant week menu. 

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 Coco's Bistro 

250 Warren St., Dayton, (937) 228-2626 

The butternut squash soup topped with a maple bourbon creme fraiche was fall in a cup, swirling with decadent flavors that somehow embraced us and warmed the air around us, telling winter to back up for just a moment. That was followed up by a creamy, delectable panna cotta topped with a berry compote that helped to complete the comfort food cycle. Heaven. 

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 Meadowlark 

5531 Far Hills Ave., Dayton, (937) 434-4750 

We had never had an "eggplant and shrimp stuffin' muffin" before, and we were very glad to have had the opportunity under the watchful eye of Chef Elizabeth Wiley herself who was there to meet with guests and chat about food. These were topped with Creole mayo and a slice of Andouille sausage. 

Carillon Brewing Co. 

1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton, (937) 910-0722 

Last year at Summer Restaurant Week when he was the chef at ele Bistro and Wine Bar, Chef José Calzada cooked confit pork loin served with brussels sprouts, fingerling potatoes and craft root beer BBQ sauce and we wrote about how great it was. This year, the chef who has joined Dayton History as the director of food and beverage, was with his team serving up coming very similar — pork loin confit with craft beer sauce made with root beer and a Carolina BBQ sauce served over brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes. It was delicious then, it was delicious now. 

 Contact this contributing writer at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com.

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