With a smile so wide that it can charm the most serious diners, Moroccan-born Mourad Lahlou has brought us one of the most charming, and delicious, openings of the past year. Unlike his first restaurant, Aziza, which was focused on a progressive, ingredient-driven American cuisine, Mourad is a return to Lahlou’s roots, and the menu is a tour de force of North African dishes prepared with the most advanced culinary techniques found in the West. The mouthwatering menu lists dishes such as Mourad’s take on basteeya, with the typical pigeon replaced with duck, and served with aprium, lemon verbena, crème fraîche and almond. And the 72-hour-braised short rib, served with carrots, snap peas and red ras el hanout, is a tour de force of modern American ethnic cuisine.
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140 New Montgomery Street San Francisco, CA 94105 415-660-2500 None yet
Those who are fans of Parisian-style neo-bistros, like Septime and Saturne, will quickly recognize the format that Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske have implemented at their Lower East Side restaurant. The menu changes daily – the only choice is a six-course set menu, which is available for the bargain basement price of $67 a person – and a typical day’s fare includes dishes such as scallop with nasturtium and leche de tigre; asparagus, crab and celery; and chicken, horseradish and feta. And we can’t overlook the desserts as Fabian von Hauske is one of the most talented pastry chefs working in the U.S., and reviewers find simple-sounding concoctions such as vanilla, rye and strawberries as interesting as they are delicious
Before Johnny Monis, Greek fare hadn't seen the type of advancement that has taken place in other European cuisines. But Monis succeeded where others failed, creating a version of Greek cuisine that is distinctly modern while maintaining its Hellenic soul. Dinner starts with a series of mezze, an assortment of raw-fish dishes, salads that have been deconstructed and reassembled - like Monis' "Caesar," with a single crouton encased around a liquid center that tastes of the salad - succulent pastas featuring luxury ingredients like sea urchin and foie gras, and a fork-tender, roast baby goat that comes with five dipping sauces. One reviewer described it as "a post modern trendsetter that has gotten more-wise with age, without losing any of the edge that made it special."
This restaurant’s success stems from Dan Barber’s obsession with using the “best farm-fresh ingredients," that his kitchen, "gently filters through the prism of the latest cooking techniques." Barber’s pantry is stocked with treasures that were raised on the Stone Barns property, and his tasting menus tantalize diners with various preparations of homegrown ingredients like Berkshire pig or the amazing Stone Barns chickens, which a number of reviewers say are "the best you will find outside of France." Of course the produce that the restaurant serves can’t be topped regardless of the season. Another plus is a “calm dining room where you can hear other people speak.” But the comment that best highlighted the experience suggests that diners should "arrive late to see them carrying in tomorrow's dinner, hooves and all."
For decades, Minetta Tavern lingered as a southern Italian warhorse that no one cared about. Enter Keith McNally, who freshened up the dining room with its vintage 1937 decor, and changed the cuisine to French bistro fare, including an entire steak frites menu. Featuring dry-aged, grain-fed Creekstone Farms beef, these steaks made Minetta Tavern an overnight sensation, and nowadays, it's virtually impossible to get a table. But those lucky enough to snag one can dig in to a heavily charred New York strip steak along with frites or aligot potatoes. Another option: what many reviewers swear is "the best hamburger in the country." However, watch out for a dining room called "noisy beyond description."
We are usually skeptical about restaurants opened by Top Chef contestants, but this is the second time that Kevin Gillespie has managed to overcome the odds (he was previously the chef at the successful Woodfire Grill). Gillespie’s second venture is more casual in style, and the conceit here is that the chefs cook as well as serve the food, dim sum style. The cuisine spans a number of different styles, from southern cooking to Kevin’s takes on ethnic cuisine. A typical daily menu includes dishes such as pan-roasted Springer Mountain Farms chicken with mushroom ragout and lemon grits, Vietnamese-style fried shrimp and country-fried rib eye with Duchess potatoes and red eye gravy. And let’s not forget the warm banana pudding.
Though Morihiro Onodera no longer owns this restaurant, many of our reviewers claim it is still the top sushi spot on the west side of L.A. One reviewer explains why: “Though Mori-San is gone, they still serve the same delicious house-made tofu and fish sourced from the Japanese fish market on a daily basis.” Both the rice the restaurant uses, as well as the ceramic dishes on which they serve your nigiri, are specially made for the restaurant; Mori-San himself handcrafted the dishes.
Though the sign outside says nothing more than Teriyaki House, teriyaki is the last thing they serve at this restaurant located a few blocks south of the Westside Pavillion. The phone number is unlisted, and even if you get hold of it, owner Kaz Oyama, won't give you a reservation without an introduction from an existing customer. Adding to the allure is a menu featuring only one thing: beef omakase whch includes various servings of domestic beef in raw form (like beef carpaccio, beef tartare and the rarely seen calf liver carpaccio), followed by an assortment of cuts that you grill over a hibachi. A committed wine-lover, Kaz has decorated the shelves of L.A.'s most unique BYOB with empty bottles of some of the greatest wines ever made.
Before they opened this restaurant, José Ramírez-Ruiz and Pamela Yung ran Chez José, one of the most successful roving pop-ups in New York City. But the duo decided it was time to settle in at one location, and they opened this counter-seating-only restaurant a short block off the entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge. Though Ramírez-Ruiz was known for turning out some excellent meat-based fare at their pop-up, they have basically abandoned any and all protein and have gone all-vegetarian at Semilla (though occasionally meat or fish makes its way into certain dishes). In addition to José’s tasty food, Pam Yung easily bakes the best bread in the city, if not the country, and offers some tasty desserts as well.
Second restaurants typically have a tough time being successful. But somehow Daniel Humm and Will Guidaris of Eleven Madison Park fame have overcome the usual obstacles, and this restaurant in the NoMad Hotel is among the most popular in the city. Among the reasons for their success is “an “excellent take on a seafood platter” and a roast chicken with truffle butter under its skin “that is to die for.” Not to be overlooked is the amazing bar scene. A difficult reservation to come by for a restaurant in this price category.
After a year of falling out of our Top 100 U.S. Restaurants list, Tom Colicchio’s signature restaurant has reemerged as one of the best in the country. Though many other chefs subsequently copied the format back when Colicchio first opened Craft in 2002, the concept – unpacking the composed plates he was known for serving at Gramercy Tavern into a series of a la carte offerings – was revolutionary. Colicchio is still sourcing some of the best ingredients in the country, and executive chef Taylor Naples still prepares them in an exemplary fashion, resulting in the veritable smorgasbord of taste and flavors that is the restaurant’s signature.
Those who are fans of New Nordic cuisine, please take note: The most authentic version of the cuisine that can be found outside of Scandinavia can be had at this simple 26-seat restaurant located behind a beer hall in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood. Chef Daniel Burns’ beef tartare – topped with a mélange of black trumpet purée, small pickled ramp capers, the flowers of fennel and coriander, sliced Sungold tomatoes and fried shishito and Padrón peppers – is a tour de force of progressive cooking. A seat at the six-seat chef’s counter is recommended so you can watch Burns prepare his interesting creations a few feet from where you are sitting.
Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson and Bobby Stuckey's restaurant is an oasis in the Denver/Boulder corridor. A French Laundry alumnus, Lachlan combines his classical training with his fanaticism for the cuisine of Italy's Friuli region, and the result is refined versions of dishes like a minestra of sweet corn with Montasio cheese and basil or hand-cut pasta alla chitarra with chanterelles. Meanwhile, in the process of featuring the wines of Friuli, Stuckey has assembled one of the most interesting lists in the country. "Terrific food and wine from a region that is traditionally unrepresented" results in what some say is "the best food in the state," with a few claiming "It would hold its own in any city in the country." They recently expanded into the store next door.
From 2000 until it closed its doors in 2010, The Hump, located in the terminal building of Santa Monica Airport, was one of the most popular sushi restaurants in Los Angeles. One of the main reasons for its popularity was Chef Shunji Nakao, who has now reappeared at his eponymous restaurant, Shunji. Along with the delicious sushi, Chef Shunji serves a series of tasty tsumami to start the meal – firefly squid with fava beans, Hama Hama oyster in a broth of potato and Napa cabbage, and bonito marinated with soy, sake and ginger.
This progressive small-plates restaurant from chef Ignacio Mattos and beverage director Thomas Carter is hugely popular with the New York food cognoscenti. Mattos will dazzle you with dishes that range from fried arroz negro with squid and romesco to lamb ribs with charmoula and honey, while Carter (who used to be the wine director at Blue Hill at Stone Barns) has cobbled together a small but superb list of cherries.
Working from a restaurant located on the 16th floor of Chicago’s Trump Hotel, Thomas Lents has been attracting a number of positive comments from our reviewers. Though Lents trained with Joël Robuchon, Jean Joho and Michael Tusk – all kitchens where the focus is on traditional cooking – he has decided on an approach that pays homage to different eras of cooking, with different courses focusing on the New Nordic movement, the molecular cuisine era and something he describes as “Mining Traditions: What Is Old Is New Again,” which features gilled lobster served with uni and coffee.
After creating a series of successful casual restaurants in quickly gentrifying downtown Los Angeles, all of which appealed to the hipsterish clientele that dominates the local dining scene, Josef Centeno decided he wanted to do something more ambitious. Orsa & Winston, the restaurant Centeno created, allows him to offer a more serious menu dominated by dishes like root vegetables (rutabaga, parsnip, sunchoke, crosnes) that he caramelizes in black sugar, and dry-aged Pitman duck with a cherry blossom mostarda. Those who want to go whole hog can reserve the special 20-plus course Super Omakase, which is available only at the chef’s counter.
After winning Season Six of Top chef (he edged out his brother Bryan, (whose Volt restaurant placed 72 on out Top 100 list) and then being the executive chef at Saam at the Bazaar, (number 14 on our Top 100 list) and the now defunct Dining Room at the Langham, Michael Voltaggio opened this decidedly more casual restaurant in the space that used to house Hamasake. But despite the cocktail lounge vibe, Volatggio is still dishing out the same delicious Modernist food which includes dishes like scallops with tofu, cocoa, black vinaigrette and a rice cracker, ocean trout with chicken dashi, chicken skin, cedar leaf and daikon radish and veal cheek, red curry, coconut rice and Nante carrots baked in salt
In the mood for a $90 Tomahawk pork chop? Or how about a 40-ounce bone-in rib eye or a 50-ounce dry-aged porterhouse for the respective eye-popping costs of $175 and $210? Well, this Italian steakhouse from Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich is the place for you. It’s also the place for our reviewers because in spite of the odds (given the prices), each and every one of them loves the place. It’s located just next door to Osteria Mozza, in the space that used to be known as Scuola di Pizza.
As opposed to opening his restaurant in Beverly Hills or the West Side, which is where almost every top sushi restaurant in this city is located, Chef Hiroyuki Naruke decided to take advantage of the gentrification going on in downtown Los Angles. After apprenticing in a number of restaurants in Tokyo and Honolulu, the chef and his wife, Kyoko, opened the six-seat Nogizaka Sushi Yuki in central Tokyo. Coincidently, the restaurant was near a large, LA-based law firm whose partners frequently ate at the restaurant. And over time, they somehow convinced Hiroyuki and his wife to close the restaurant and move to Los Angeles. The result really speaks for itself, and if you are looking for a genuine Edomae experience in the U.S., Q Sushi should be at the top of your list of places to go.
Most chefs who open their own restaurants have résumés that include experience in some of the most famous kitchens in the world. But, rather than reflecting the mentorship of a Gagnaire or a Keller, Tim Cushman draws his influence from Asia - specifically, from Japanese izakaya chefs. Cushman’s menu is a delight to read, and filled with interesting-sounding creations like small plates of hamachi with spicy banana-pepper mousse and fried Kumamoto oyster with yuzu aioli and squid ink bubbles. Larger plates include five preparations of Wagyu beef and four of Poulet Rouge chicken, as well as eggs and truffles served four different ways. Wife Nancy Cushman handles the wines and cocktails and "would qualify for the title of master of sake if there were such a thing."
Reviewers describe Josiah Citrin's restaurant by saying; "You have to go France to experience similar culinary expertise." Chef Ken Takayama's menu is loaded with luxury ingredients, with dishes like a lobster Bolognese with cappellini, black truffles and basil; a rotisserie chicken stuffed with summer truffles and a side of potatoes Parmentier; and a potato purée atop a mixture of braised short ribs and foie gras.
In a city filled with so many good places to eat a serious meal, Jason Fox’s restaurant in the Mission tends to get overlooked. But reviewers in the know tell us they’ve made multiple visits. Fox’s cooking style tends toward complicated plates; a typical meal might include oysters poached in their shells, Asian pear, horseradish, sorrel and finger lime; smoked sablefish with potato, lardo, sprouting broccoli, daikon radish and citrus vinaigrette; and hen poached in almond milk, cauliflower, grapes, vadouvan, grilled leek and verjus. And comments like “a fantastic restaurant with great service and delicious, imaginative food” and “in the running for the best restaurant in SF” demonstrate why it should be on your radar the next time you visit San Francisco.
Cole Tyson's restaurant is the heartbeat of the Austin foodie scene. One of the few non-Japanese chefs operating at this level, Tyson made his mark by serving progressive fusion fare like baby yellowtail sashimi with crispy koshi hikari rice, a Ringger Family Farm egg and sweet soy broth, or what he calls Bacon Steakie - Niman Ranch pork belly that is "melt in your mouth tender" after being cooked sous vide for 24 hours before being flash-fried to a crispy crust. Meanwhile, sushi purists can order pristine cuts of top-quality fish, much of it sourced from Tokyo's Tsukiji Market. Fans talk about the "innovative, risky combinations that deliver," adding, "This is the best restaurant in Austin by a wide margin." Even critics ended on a positive note saying, "slightly pretentious, slightly more expensive, but still absolutely delicious."
Virtually unknown before he became the runner-up to his brother Michael on the television program, Top Chef, Bryan Voltaggio converted an old mansion into what is the best dining venue on the route between Baltimore and Chicago. There are three dining options: A more traditional à la carte menu is offered in the main dining room, while the chef’s kitchen gets a bit more creative with a different tasting menu each day. Then there is Table 21; eight counter seats where diners enjoy a 21-course extravaganza that includes cutting-edge creations like Chicken Parmesan - Parmesan broth noodles topped with tomato and basil dipping dots and fried chicken. The mix of cooking styles caused one reviewer to tell us, "Voltaggio’s food finds that sweet spot between creative and tasty."
Ken Oringer's sashimi bar - a few steps down from his other eatery, Clio - is literally a restaurant within a restaurant. Order an omakase and it will likely include a number of the house signature spoons - Japanese soup spoons filled with various delicacies, like the Uni Spoon which is filled with sea urchin, a quail egg and osetra caviar, or another where fatty tuna is minced with an anchovy-caviar cream. There are also cooked dishes like Shima Aji with chestnut ash, roasted Brussels sprout leaves and pickled kumquats and crunchy Maine lobster with Singapore black pepper sauce. A major benefit of sharing space with Clio is Renee Herzog’s dessert menu which offers some of the most cutting-edge sweets in the country.
Fresh from the accomplishment of helping Les Nomades land the top spot in a survey run by our competition, Chris Nugent and his wife opened this friendly BYOB in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood. Nugent has taken advantage of leaving the confines of a traditional French kitchen and has created what one reviewer called “serious, adult, carefully prepared, thoughtful Modernist cuisine.” Nugent is not afraid to incorporate techniques like gels, foams, powders and other indicia of modern cooking, but what makes his cuisine different is that “he uses those techniques in such a subtle and intricate way that you would hardly know they have been included on your plate.” One reviewer bemoaned “the lack of a wine selection,” a complaint obviously offered by someone who doesn’t have a stash of epic wines in his cellar, and can take advantage of the opportunity to drink them with this terrific food.
After making a name for themselves at the popular Neta, Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau have reappeared at this long, narrow sushi bar on East 12th Street in Greenwich Village. Similar to their former restaurant, and much different than other sushi restaurants, which are typically the most subdued of experiences, Shuko has a more contemporary vibe. The Zen has been replaced by a pulsating sushi bar/dining room that is filled with a mix of sushi lovers and people looking for a trendy experience. Kudos to Kim and Lau for maintaining such a high quality of cuisine in this environment. After all, you didn’t think they would waste all those years of training at Masa, did you?
Joseph Lenn w turns out dishes like Farmstead duck ham and pear salad with arugula, Fall pears, elderflower and rye and braised pork belly with sweet potato puree, candied pecans and collard green kim chee. "A helpful and caring staff" and "one of the best wine lists you will ever come across" make it a unique dining experience.
2012 was a big year for Teague Moriarty and Matt McNamara’s place: A number of our reviewers reported that the restaurant took a big step toward becoming one of the best dining experiences in the country. A ranking of 66 in our 2013 survey reflects that sentiment, as well as how our reviewers feel about the exceptional produce the duo grow on their one-acre farm in Los Gatos, items that turn up in dishes like roasted baby beets with vadouvan and fresh tarragon, and New York steak with hedgehog mushrooms and a potato mille-feuille. One reviewer called it “one of the more exciting restaurants in the city,” and another said it is “delivering on its promise of lightness, modernity and cleverness.” Others described it as “an emerging star” and “a restaurant that is poised to take another step forward in 2013.”
Given Portland's status as one of the country's premier commercial fishing centers- its wholesalers supply many of the top restaurants in the country - it's somewhat surprising that it wasn't until Masa Miyake moved here from New York City that the city could claim to have a top-flight sushi restaurant. Miyake's résumé includes slicing fish at Nobu and working in Oceana's kitchen, and he combines the best of the local catch with fish imported from Tokyo's Tsukiji Market. But "sushi is only part of what makes Miyake special": Masa's cooked dishes, like sea eel wrapped around a mixture of miso and brown butter or pork intestine slow-braised in sake and soya, make the omakase menu a unique experience. We suggest you reserve one of the six counter seats and go with the letting-the-chef-choose-your-dinner option. Miyake is located in a converted corner store at the edge of the West End. They don't have a liquor license, so make sure to bring your own.
Back in 2011, Phillip Foss traded in his popular Meatyballs Mobile truck for a 13-seat dining room in one of Chicago’s most deserted neighborhoods. But the surroundings aren’t the only thing Foss changed. The meatballs have been replaced by contemporary-styled dishes like peas with buttermilk, coppa and lavender, and sweetbreads served with ramps, hazelnut and licorice.
Brad Kilgore made a name for himself while running the J&G Grill at the St. Regis Hotel in Bal Harbour, Florida. [[But when Jean-Georges jumped ship the newly opened Faena Hotel in Miami Beach, Ardent, ]]a bunch of investors backed Kilgore and opened this bustling restaurant (with attached cocktail bar) in Miami’s Wynwood District. Serving what is easily the most progressive cooking in Miami, Kilgore’s menu features dishes like sea scallop espuma with chive, truffle pearls, gruyere and Ossetra caviar, grouper cheeks with black rice, shoyu hollandaise and sea lettuces, and duck breast flavored with cardamom, cashew-lime, Tom Kha risotto and a broccoli stem. Kilgore is definitely a talented young chef who should be watched.
After Danny Meyer and chef Tom Colicchio parted ways, Mike Anthony was given the task of maintaining the high standards this restaurant had always been known for. Though it took him a while to adapt the subtle style of cooking he was known for when he cooked with Dan Barber at Stone Barns to the more full-flavored style that Gramercy was known for, reviewers say that dishes like grilled sturgeon with broccoli, beans, leeks and oysters and a duck breast and confit leg with sunchokes, quince, Brussels sprouts and wild mushrooms, "are on a par with what they serve at any of the top restaurants in the city." The same terrific Danny Meyer service team and a well-stocked wine list complement the food.
Gerard Craft’s restaurant is the hands-down winner for best restaurant in St. Louis. Featuring what was described as "hearty and soul-satisfying farm-to-table cooking," Craft's menu tantalizes diners with offerings like a foie-gras banh mi with carrots, radishes, cilantro and jalapeno; lasagna stuffed with truffled béchamel, wild mushrooms, fontina cheese, a farm egg and sage brown butter; and a crispy pig trotter stuffed with a mixture of leg meat and chanterelle mushrooms.
We applaud TV chef Curtis Stone for deciding to open a serious restaurant. Stone has come up with a unique concept: Each month, he creates a new menu based on an ingredient or group of ingredients that are in season. So a visit to the restaurant during April will feature a menu based around asparagus, while October’s menu will feature apples. Stone pairs the concept with some “pretty precise cooking,” served in a low-key storefront restaurant that is “on the wrong side of Wilshire Boulevard,” which in this instance is a good thing.
While a shortage of women who are in charge of top kitchens is a problem in every dining culture, the situation might be most severe in the kitchens of Japanese restaurants. Well, this restaurant is an outlier, as N/Naka is short for Niki Nakayama. Kaiseki is Nakayama’s specialty, and her “artistic and carefully crafted menus” have become a mandatory dining experience for both locals and visitors to Los Angeles. The typical meal is an 11-course affair and includes dishes like Nakayama’s modern take on sashimi, which features kanpachi served with bell pepper and jalapeño gelee; steamed unagi with foie gras and daikon; and spaghettini with abalone, pickled cod roe and Burgundy truffles.
Few states can offer a cuisine as varied as Wisconsin’s, where a significant portion of the state’s population are descendants of German and Polish immigrants and many people grew up on farms. Justin Carlisle, who was raised on a farm in Sparta, Wisconsin, is committed to recapturing the flavors from his early years, and he combines ingredients sourced from Wisconsin farms, including beef his father raises, with a progressive approach to cuisine. A typical tasting menu includes Carlisle’s unusual takes on local favorites, like a dish simply called Milk, which is house-made bread, a slice of Muenster cheese and hand-churned butter, as well as a personal take on a cannibal sandwich – steak tartare topped with deviled egg and bone marrow.
Though he was in charge of the kitchen at this beautiful restaurant in the Museum of Modern Art for ten years, our reviewers never fully warmed up to Gabriel Kreuther’s cooking. Enter Abram Bissell, formerly chef de cuisine for Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park, and the tone of the reviews we have been collecting have begun to pick up. Bissell has abandoned the Alsatian influence the restaurant was known for during Kreuther’s reign for a more straightforward New American cuisine featuring dishes like turbot roasted on the bone and Du Puy lentils and truffle sauce.
Though only 46 years old, Gabriel Kreuther has spent the past 20 years as an integral part of the New York City dining scene. Beginning in the kitchen at La Caravelle under André Jammet in 1996, Kreuther moved on to Jean-Georges’s kitchen before being tapped to run The Modern by Danny Meyer in 2003. Now, after 12 years there, he has opened this eponymous restaurant on 42nd Street. Kreuther was known for his contemporary Alsatian menu at The Modern, and his recipes have now made an 11-block journey downtown. On a typical evening you will find dishes like a sturgeon and sauerkraut tart with a mousseline of American caviar and a croustillant of squab and foie gras with seasonal vegetables and a jus of bay leaf.
If there is any city in the U.S. where fine dining is a mismatch for the local food scene, it would be Austin, Texas. And in Austin terms, Bryce Gilmore’s restaurant – with a menu filled with shareable small plates that cost less than $20 – is considered a fine dining restaurant. Described as “innovative and fun,” Gilmore’s seasonal menu revolves around dishes like a chilled peach soup with chèvre and fennel; pig skin noodles with hot sauce, almond and shrimp dumplings; and fried chicken with spicy fish bone caramel and pickles. There’s a no-reservation policy and a 10-course tasting menu priced at a mere $85, so we suggest you get there when the restaurant opens at 5:30 to avoid the long lines.
One of the best revampings in recent years is this Old City offering from Ellen Yin and Eli Kulp. A veteran of a number of high-level New York City Italian restaurants, such as Del Posto and Torrisi Italian Specialties, Kulp’s menu includes creations like cauliflower and cheddar soup with pickled cauliflower florets and long green chili, fennel pappardelle with pork ragu and pollen, and grilled lobster with John Cope’s polenta, dandelion and chicory. A contender for the Top 100 list in 2016.
One of the benefits of the globalization of cuisine is that the culinary scene produces chefs who have trained in a diverse group of locations. Val Cantu is a product of that dynamic, having spent time in Mexico City working at Pujol under Enrique Olvera. After returning to San Francisco, Cantu worked as the sous-chef at the popular Sons & Daughters and then decided to open this restaurant in the city’s Mission District. Cantu’s wife, Carolyn, designed the attractive dining room, while he designed the menu, featuring dishes such as Mandarin-quat aguachile of smoked buri and sablefish poached in olive oil.
Born in a small town in northern India, Jessi Singh decided it was time to see the world when he reached his early twenties. While visiting San Francisco, he met Jennifer, a nice Jewish girl from Brooklyn. They fell in love and for a time made Australia their home, running a series of Indian restaurants in Melbourne. In 2015, Jennifer felt it was time to come back to the U.S., and they opened this “amazingly cool” Indian restaurant in the East Village. Jessi’s cooking is best described as farm-to-table Indian cuisine, featuring dishes like a hung yogurt croquette spiced with ginger and green chili and a duck curry featuring Crescent Duck Farm duck leg in a spicy and tangy shallot and ginger curry.
Along with chefs like Philadelphia’s Michael Solomonov and London’s Josh Katz and Tomer Amedi, Alon Shaya is part of a burgeoning group of Israeli-born chefs who are revolutionizing Middle Eastern and Jewish cuisine. A veteran of John Besh’s kitchens at August and Domenica, Shaya was known for sneaking the occasional Israeli dish into Domenica’s Italian menu, until he decided to go it alone and open Shaya. Similar to other contemporary Israeli restaurants, all of the dishes are for sharing; they include mouth-watering combinations like hummus with curry-fried cauliflower, caramelized onions and cilantro, and slow-cooked lamb with whipped feta, walnut and pomegranate tabbouleh.
In business since 1984 and known as George's by the Cove for more than 20 years, perceptions changed when Chef Trey Foshee started offering diners the opportunity to eat at Table Three. While the table offers lovely views of the Pacific Ocean, the special tasting menu that Foshee serves the table, which is filled with treasures sourced from the legendary Chino Farms (they supply produce to Chez Panisse and Spago, among others), like a peach, prosciutto and burrata salad or an ancho chile-grilled pork chop with creamed corn and peppers, is even better than the vistas. Other dishes revolve around locally sourced sea food such as sea urchin or swordfish. Located in the heart of La Jolla Village, the combination of "solid food" and "an exceptional view" make it "the best restaurant between Los Angeles and the Mexican border."
A fine dining location set inside a more casual restaurant is not so unusual these days. Trent Pierce decided to employ that model, constructing the intimate Roe in the back room of the boisterous B & T Oyster Bar, where along with Chef de Cuisine Patrick Schultz, Pierce turns out multi-course, seafood-centric tasting menus. The menu varies from week to week, but depending on the season it will feature dishes like lobster roe tucked into Parisian gnocchi, butter-poached lobster and golden char roe, along with many dishes that have an Asian influence, such as butter-poached Hokkaido scallops with wasabi-kosho tapioca, smoked grapes, and lemon balm, in a citrus brown-butter dashi.
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3113 SE Division St Portland, OR 503-232-1566 roe-pdx.com
After causing a sensation in the food world at his Mexico City restaurant, Pujol, Enrique Olvera decided it was time to conquer New York City. But instead of opening a formal place like Pujol, Olvera opted for something more casual, with a New York vibe that revolved as much around the restaurant’s cocktail list and bar scene as the food. Olvera’s cuisine is best described as “creative, modern Mexican cuisine.” Dishes such as scallop with aguachile, poached jicama and fresh wasabi-cucumber-lime; mushroom and squash barbacoa, chilpachole and hoja santa; and duck carnitas with onions, radishes and salsa verde exhibit the touch of a first-class kitchen.
Iliana Regan’s serves what she describes as “new gatherer cuisine,” which basically means that she combs various woods and forests, gathering wild fruits, vegetables, mushrooms and herbs. There is also “an element of science” going on in Regan’s cooking (an obvious nod to her days as a server at Alinea,) but reviewers say the ingredients “are used in such a thoughtful way that you barely notice.”
Because so many of the top restaurants in the country are in the Bay area, this one – located in the oldest part of Palo Alto – can easily be overlooked. But reviewer after reviewer sings its praises, and we hope that the leap in its rank, all the way from number 90 in 2012 (it’s our third biggest mover), will inspire more of our readers to schedule a visit. Bruno Chemel describes his cooking as “French cuisine moderne with a Zen touch.” The result can be a dish of leeks, Burgundy truffle Gigha halibut and shiso, or lantern scallops with lichee, lilikoi and chocolate. One could argue that this is the most underrated restaurant in the country, but those who have had the good fortune to eat Chemel’s cooking say things like, “molecular gastronomy-informed dining that tastes great and is filling