s a food editor, I am frequently asked, “What is your favorite restaurant?” It’s a difficult question to answer, one that frequently changes given the number of impressive new restaurants cropping up across the country. I may never be able to pick an all-time favorite, but I hopped on a plane (or, well, several planes) to answer, “What are your favorite restaurants that have opened since January 1 of this year?”
I ate well beyond 100 meals -- sometimes three in one night -- over the span of a few months to see what’s out there. Along the way I found some of the best milkshakes ever made in Philadelphia, life-changing cacio e pepe in Los Angeles, and a bowl of fried rice I didn't know my life was missing in Kansas City. I also ate playful versions of South Indian favorites in Portland, more hearty plates of Hungarian comfort food than I could ever have imagined in San Francisco, and met not one, but two chefs changing the perception of Mexican food in America.
I couldn’t pick just one new restaurant to name as my favorite, but I could nail down 13 -- the Prime 13 -- that I believe represent the best of what American restaurant culture has to offer in 2017.