Best Winter Dishes
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The chicken pub pie at Dublin’s Pass is loaded with mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken, carrots and peas.
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When it’s super-cold outside, there’s nothing more inviting than a piping hot bowl of soup or a steaming plate of pasta at the dinner table. After all, there’s a reason it’s called comfort food. For this indulgent, stick-to-your-ribs feature story, we found the most comforting, indulgent, warm-and-cozy dishes at local restaurants to share with you. From steaming soups and stews to plates piled with meatloaf, mac and cheese, pasta and more, these hearty dishes are sure to fill your belly and warm your soul. January might be the month of ice storms and sub-zero temps, but the dishes featured here are anything but chilly. Dig in.
$13.95 at Gem of India, 211 W. Battlefield Rd., Springfield, 417-881-9558, gemofindia.net
This filling entrée is loaded with tender hunks of white-meat chicken that are cooked with garlic, ginger, red and green bell peppers, onion and broccoli. It’s all coated with a garlicky, gingery sauce and topped with a hefty handful of fresh cilantro, making it a flavor-filled creation you’ll want to eat every last bit of. Paired with a side of rice, this dish is warm, savory and plenty filling.
$5.50–9.50 at Big Easy Grill, 3027 E. Sunshine St., Springfield, 417-832-0040
To make the jambalaya at Big Easy Grill, Shreveport, Louisiana, native Hank Visio combines chicken, sausage and shrimp with rice and a tomato-based Cajun sauce. There’s also a dirty variety that’s made with a beef base. (Ordering tip: Try a combo of the two!) The jambalaya is offered mild, medium or spicy and served with French baguette and Cajun butter, making it a Southern-style favorite.
Pasta Con Camerones y Vieyras
$28 at The Argentina Steakhouse, 1410 E. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-886-8010, theargentinasteakhouse.com
This pasta dish is made with an Argentinan alfredo sauce (imagine traditional alfredo with a Cajun kick) plus asparagus, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, penne, black tiger shrimp and sea scallops. Some argue that the seafood is the best part, and others fight for the decadent sauce. Our opinion? Just enjoy them both.
Cast Iron fried Cornbread
$5 at Metropolitan Farmer, 2144 E. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-720-1665, metropolitanfarmer.com
This classic homemade cornbread is made over-the-top delicious with drizzles of bacon drippings and maple syrup. Each order comes with two square pieces of the treat, plus plenty of whipped butter that’s made in house. There’s no better way to start a meal.
Japanese Shoyu Ramen Soup
$6.95 at Kai Sushi Lounge & Bar, 306 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield, 417-832-0077, kaiafterdark.com
Available during lunch, the Japanese Shoyu Ramen soup at Kai features Japanese ramen noodles, bean sprouts, green onion, cabbage, boiled egg and spinach all swimming in a rich pork-based broth. It’s a lighter meal, yet rich, flavorful and plenty filling.
$13.95 at Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant, 1250 Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-719-4573
This indulgent entrée includes tender slow-cooked lamb with bits of fresh onion and bell pepper. It’s served with a savory onion-based sauce and rice and is available mild, medium and spicy. It’s great served mild, but if you like the heat, go for the spicy, and go to town. It’s sure to warm you up!
Chicken Pub Pie
$9.99 at Dublin’s Pass, 2767 W. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-877-7625; 317 Park Central East, Springfield, 417-862-7625; dublinspass.com
A thick layer of homemade mashed potatoes made just like Grandma’s (with plenty of cream and butter!) acts as the base for this pub pie. It’s loaded with chicken gravy, tender chicken, carrots and peas, and it’s topped with a pastry filling and baked until golden brown. Grab a fork, and dig in.
$18.99 at Nonna’s Italian Café, 306 South Ave., Springfield, 417-831-1222; 3512 S. National Ave., Springfield, 417-890-8300; nonnascafe.com
This classic Italian dish is the ultimate indulgence for seafood lovers. Best described as a brothy seafood stew served over pasta, the cioppino at Nonna’s Italian Café combines linguine, crab meat, mussels, scallops and shrimp with a rich and flavorful broth that you’ll want to sop up every bit of. (Don’t worry, Nonna’s has great bread service for this.) It’s a lot of pasta, a lot of seafood and a whole lot of delicious.
$3.50 at Springfield Gourmet Taco Company, 3120 E. Sunshine St., Springfield, 417-315-8745, gourmettacocompany.com
Hatch green chiles and hominy combine to make this stew-like creation at Springfield Gourmet Taco Company, and you add beef, pork or chicken when you order. It’s all served with a quartered flour tortilla, making a delicious Mexican creation that will warm you from the inside.
Braised Short Ribs
$28 at Osage Restaurant, 150 Top of the Rock Rd., Ridgedale, 417-335-2777, topoftherock.com
Slow-cooked, tender short ribs are complimented by jalapeño-cheese grits and maple-braised acorn squash in this soul-warming meal served at Top of the Rock. The grits offer sharp and sweet tones to help balance out the rich meat, and the squash is the perfect side to eat between bites. Little in this world is tastier than slow-cooked meat, and this dish’s variety is as good as it gets.
Starting at $9 at Bambu Vietnamese Cuisine, 1338 E. Battlefield, Springfield, 417-881-9881, springfieldbambu.com
When it comes to the pho at Bambu Vietnamese Cuisine, it’s all about the broth. To make the savory concoction, they combine beef bone, ginseng, cinnamon sticks, anise seeds, coriander, fennel, cloves, green onion, yellow onion, ginger and more in a pot, and they let it simmer for 18 to 24 hours. When it’s time to order, diners have their choice of adding chicken, meatball, brisket, tendon and tripe.
Smoked Tomato Soup
$4.95 at The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks, 1 Opportunity Ave., Point Lookout, 417-239-1900, keetercenter.edu
The smoked tomato soup at The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks is made with smoked tomatoes, olive oil, onions, tomato paste, thyme, garlic, bay leaves and a little sugar. It’s smoky and a tad sweet and comes topped with freshly made whipped cream and a dab of pesto, which takes it over the top.
Red Curry With Duck
$15.99 at Thai Thai Cuisine, 1615 West Hwy. 76 Suite H-I, Branson, 417-334-9070
While the red curry with duck at Thai Thai Cuisine is served mild, you can make it spicier if you’re after a little heat. But no matter how hot you like it, this dish is sure to fill your belly with deliciousness thanks to the barbecue duck, tomatoes, bell peppers, basil and red curry sauce. It’s all served with steamed jasmine rice, so be sure you come hungry.
$8–12 at Metropolitan Grill, 2931 E. Battlefield, Springfield, 417-889-4951, metropolitan-grill.com
Beef and Spanish sausage team up to create a stellar meatball at Metropolitan Grill. Named the Brian B., the meaty treats from the appetizer menu are each served on nests of spaghetti squash and topped with mozzarella cheese, a peach and fennel compote and a wonton crisp. The squash and compote add a fresh twist to the otherwise indulgent dish.
Short Rib and Mushroom Rigatoni
$18 at Fire & Ice Restaurant and Bar, 2546 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, 417-522-7711, oasisfireandice.com
To create this dreamy pasta dish, rigatoni noodles are coated in a luscious brandy cream sauce and tossed with shallots, garlic, mushrooms and slow-braised short ribs. The brandy and sautéed shallots add a bit of sweetness that contrasts well with the pungent garlic, and the wild mushrooms provide a deliciously tender addition. As for the short ribs, each hunk is a meaty victory that will take your love of beef to a whole new level.
Chicken Ranch Alfredo Pasta
$6.99–13.49 at Big Whiskey’s, multiple 417-land locations, Springfield and Ozark, bigwhiskeys.com
Yes, this dish is exactly as indulgent and delicious as it sounds. To make the almost-too-good-to-be-true creation, rich, velvety Alfredo sauce is married with a hint of creamy ranch dressing to form a luscious creation. The sauce is swirled with penne noodles, grilled chicken and bacon and then topped with gouda cheese and tomatoes and served with garlic bread. Yes, it’s okay to eat it all.