Our Final 2 Restaurant-Inspired Dishes Are Here—Pick Us a Winner

Here are the contenders for our latest contest, "Your Best Restaurant-Inspired Recipe."

April  1, 2021
Photo by Mark Weinberg

In our latest recipe contest, we asked our community to help us shine a spotlight on their favorite restaurant-inspired dishes, and they answered our call, rolling up their sleeves and creating restaurant-quality food in their home kitchens. This contest also provided us with the opportunity to share some love with an industry that brings us joy, and forms a critical part of our economy. Check out delicious recipes from our two finalists below.

It was incredibly challenging (as always) to narrow down to two finalists from a long, exciting list of appetizers, main courses, and desserts pulled from restaurant recipes across the country, but we've finally found them!

Special thanks to Liberty Bar in San Antonio, Texas, and Rasika in Washington, D.C., for inspiring these gorgeous plates. We reached out to Executive Chef Vikram Sunderam of Rasika and General Manager Craig Goldschmidt of Liberty Bar to learn what makes their restaurants so special.

Crispy Kale Chaat by Shri Repp

This flavor-packed appetizer takes its inspiration from beloved Indian eatery Rasika in Washington, D.C. Their three locations have attracted locals and visitors alike since 2005, and Group Executive Chef Vikram Sunderam won a James Beard Award in 2013 for Best New Chef: Mid-Atlantic.

Tell our community a little about your restaurant.

Between Rasika Penn Quarter and Rasika Westend, we have about 100 staff members, who come from diverse ethnic backgrounds and are all committed to maintaining the highest standards of service for our guests.

How would you describe your menu?

Our menu features a lot of small plates from the griddle and the tandoor, along with regional curry dishes, which can be shared. Our menu items are based on traditional recipes using local produce and ingredients, but the presentation is contemporary.

How has the pandemic impacted your restaurant?

Like most of the hospitality industry, we were adversely impacted by the restrictions on indoor dining, but we seamlessly transitioned into takeout and partnered with delivery companies so our guests could still enjoy our food, wine, cocktails, and even bottles of our popular sauces at home. We also extended our outdoor seating areas to accommodate guests by installing tents and outdoor heaters during winter.

What is your outlook for 2021?

We hope once most diners are vaccinated and local governments lift restrictions for indoor dining and gatherings, our patrons will regain their confidence to return to our restaurants. We look forward to seeing our dining room full, buzzing, and humming with activity.

Rasika Photo by Ashlie Levy

Sweet & Spicy Piloncillo Cheese Spread by Meredith

This delicious appetizer is inspired by the recipe at Liberty Bar in San Antonio, Texas. Liberty Bar started as a fantasy in 1984 while Dwight Hobart and Drew Allen held and catered a party in San Francisco. The food was accented by Lydia Mendoza serenading the partygoers in the other room. The event was such a success, the dream was born at 2 a.m. that very day. The doors officially opened in San Antonio at the original location in 1985.

Tell our community a little about your restaurant.

We are a family-run restaurant with an incredible staff—both front and back of house—some of whom have been with us for over 20 years.

How would you describe your menu?

Our menu reflects an eclectic balance of global recipes featuring interior Mexico, Middle East, and west Texas. All of this is through the lens of "down-home cookbook cooking." We make everything from scratch in-house: sourdough breads, sauces, pasta, pizza dough, crackers, cakes, cookies, pies, you name it.

How has the pandemic impacted your restaurant?

Our current staff is about half of what it was pre-COVID-19. We are currently on a conscious hiatus, and closed for the third time in the past year, but plan to reopen in the next two weeks with a brand-new bricked patio in our front yard. Before that, we opened with to-go service only, and for the first time, outdoor dining. It’s been a tough year for our entire industry, but we're still here and ready to see our regular customers again, with masks on, staying safe.

What is your outlook for 2021?

We’re extremely optimistic about opening our new outdoor space to provide a safe environment for our community and our regulars to feel a sense of normalcy.

Liberty Bar Photo by Craig Goldschmidt

Please join us in giving MEREDITH and Shri Repp as well as Liberty Bar and Rasika our congratulations in the comments section below! If you can, try one or both of these at home, and vote for your favorite by heading over to our contest page. You have from now until 12 p.m. ET on April 8 to tell us which recipe inspired your next dining-in adventure. We’ll announce the winner at 12 p.m. ET on April 9.

More Contest Finalist Recipes

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