Every year, the James Beard Foundation focuses on singling out the best chefs/restaurants in a bunch of different categories across the nation (Best New Restaurant, Best Chef, Best Hilarious Writer For A Men's Interest Site...) -- a singling-out that's hitting the home stretch with today's announcement of the finalists. Check out who/what in NYC made the final cut (and opened their doors to an insane surge of reservation-making), count up how many you've been to, and check out what that number reveals about you at the bottom.
NYC JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION FINALISTS
- Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern
- Blue Hill
Outstanding Wine Program
- Bar Boulud
Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional
- Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery
- David Wondrich, Spirits Educator
0-5 Places: Please stop ordering in all the time. A little foam emulsion never hurt anyone.
5-10 Places: You like to keep abreast of the food scene. You own a French press.
10-15 Places: You brushed up against Cesar Ramirez at Brooklyn Fare once, and didn't wash your shoulder for a month.
15-19 Places: You are James Beard. No? Well, you at least have a beard.
Julie Cerick is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist, and thinks ABC Kitchen should take home every single award. Follow her on Twitter.
1. Betony41 W 57th St, New York
2. Carbone181 Thompson St, New York
3. Estela47 E Houston St, New York
4. The NoMad1170 Broadway, New York
5. Maison Premiere298 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn
6. Gramercy Tavern42 E 20th St, New York
7. Dominique Ansel Bakery189 Spring St, New York
8. Momofuku Milk Bar251 E 13th St, New York
9. Hearth403 E 12th St, New York
10. wd~5050 Clinton St, New York
11. ABC Kitchen35 E 18th St, New York
12. Jean-Georges1 Central Park W, New York
13. Blue Hill75 Washington Pl, New York
14. Bar Boulud1900 Broadway, New York
15. Brooklyn Brewery79 N 11th St, Brooklyn
16. The Spotted Pig314 W 11th St, New York
17. Del Posto85 10th Ave, New York
18. Barbuto775 Washington St, New York
19. Marea240 Central Park South, New York
Betony is a new-American, chic grubspot that's doling out fresh and innovative eats in a 35-seat bar and lounge, and 85-seat dining room.
With all due respect to Italian grandmothers everywhere, Carbone -- under the leadership of Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick -- may just have the best red sauce, ever. It's not a surprise that this Greenwich Village restaurant requires a reservation a month in advance. If you can get in, be sure to order the outstanding spicy rigatoni vodka. You can believe the Instagram hype.
From sommelier Thomas Carter, Chef Ignacio Mattos (formerly of Isa), and Mark Connell (Botanica), Estela is a tiny Houston St walk-up focusing on carefully constructed small plates like burrata with radishes, raw scallops with fennel, and beef tartare. Part-bar, part-restaurant, Estela is also known for a serious wine list.
Housed in a historic arts building, The NoMad hotel is a stylish, Parisian-inspired luxury hotel with hardwood floors and handmade rugs. Inside the hotel is a bi-level library, an opulent lounge with a mahogany bar, and an upscale restaurant. Around the corner from the hotel is the much-lauded NoMad Bar (10 W 28th St), serving refined cocktails and upscale pub fare in a hip, lively space.
This cosmopolitan city-inspired oyster bar and cocktail den is a classy Williamsburg spot where you can enjoy a stocked raw bar, and lounge outdoors on its greenery-filled patio. We suggest bringing a first date here, as the swank and intimate atmosphere & delicious menu will be sure to wow them.
This upscale, Michelin-starred restaurant from the mind behind Union Square Cafe, Blue Smoke, and Shake Shack revives the classic American tavern with sophisticated (and affordable) entrees, such as shrimp and squash stew, jerk chicken, and a chocolate peanut butter pie for two. But more popular than GT's entrees, wine list, and refined cocktails is its off-menu Tavern Burger, which is expertly made with a specially sourced blended patty (50% chuck, 25% brisket, 25% short rib), and blanketed in melted cheddar with smoky bacon strips on a house-baked bun.
Master pastry chef Dominique Ansel’s eponymous SoHo bakeshop is best known as the birthplace of the Cronut, a croissant-doughnut mash-up that attracts lines of tourists every morning. There’s a limit of two Cronuts per customer, but luckily the hybrid pastry isn’t all Ansel has in store. The shop sells bite-size fruit tarts, rich chocolate cookies, and Ansel’s other signature sweet, the kouign amann.
The original, pint-size location of pastry wizard Christina Tosi's Milk Bar serves all of her signature confections: the sugar-and-butter-based crack pie, birthday cake truffle balls, and the pretzel-potato-chip-coffee-oatmeal-butterscotch-and-chocolate-chip creation known as the compost cookie. Milk Bar's most famous outpost is arguably its cereal milk soft serve, which tastes like a creamier and sweeter version of the leftover milk in a bowl of cornflakes.
An East Village mainstay for more than a decade, Marco Canora's Italian-American restaurant focuses on healthy cooking, which means good-for-you animal fats, fresh grains, and no processed ingredients. The result is a sophisticated menu where every dish feels like it's home-cooked, especially the meatballs. The restaurant feels like home too with wood floors, an open kitchen, and cozy leather banquette seating. Perhaps the most unique thing about Hearth is Brodo, its take-out window on First Ave that solely serves broth.
Wylie Dufresne's world-famous, Michelin-starred resto's dishing out innovative new American eats of the molecular gastronomy variety.
Helmed by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, ABC Kitchen serves a locally sourced, ingredient-driven menu from its space within the ABC Carpet & Home department store. The menu, though not vegetarian in the slightest, feels healthy -- an impression that probably has to do with the abundance of vegetable dishes and the use of whole-wheat flour in lieu of bleached white in individual pizzas. Both lunch and dinner are exquisite here, but it's the former that draws the power-lunching masses from the nearby offices of Park Ave South.
There are plenty of fine dining opportunities in New York City, but none of them can compare to Jean-Georges. Since its opening to critical acclaim in 1997, Jean-Georges has been known for its beautifully crafted dishes that blend French, American, and Asian cultural influences. The menu here changes seasonally and is created with locally sourced ingredients to ensure that every visitor can enjoy a truly exceptional meal.
You’ve heard of Blue Hill, maybe even of Chef Dan Barber, the brains behind the iconic restaurant in Greenwich Village, and Blue Hill at Stone Barnes, the Pocantico Hills iteration that’s situated on a Chef’s farm. You’ve also heard the term “farm-to-table;” a movement pioneered by Barber. When Blue Hill opened in the city, Chef -- along with every other chef at the time -- sought to use fresh, local, and sustainable ingredients. But at Stone Barns, he took it to a whole new level, which makes sense, because his restaurant is… on a farm. Stone Barns is also home to Barber’s research and education program wherein he works with agriculturalists to control what grows, how it grows or is raised, in turn controlling how it looks and how it tastes. So you should probably spring for a meal at either of the Blue Hills, because even though it’s a tall order for your wallet, it’s a culinary experience that might just change how you feel about eating your vegetables (and grains, and meat).
Bar Boulud is part of the culinary umbrella that's taking over taste buds in NYC left and right. Their innovative eats are surely worth the pretty penny.
Since opening in 1988 with its signature Brooklyn lager, this Williamsburg microbrewery has become one of the best breweries in New York State. The space offers reservation-only brewery tours, and the warehouse-like bar serves all of the brand’s ten-plus beers, plus seasonal pours like summer and pumpkin ales. It’s good for groups, but know that tables can’t be reserved ahead of time.
April Bloomfield's West Village restaurant and bar is a fan-favorite among celebrities, lifetime New Yorkers, and tourists, known for its bucket list-worthy chargrilled roquefort burger with shoestring fries. The British-meets-Italian gastropub famously doesn't take reservations, but it's also open until 2am nightly, so if you can't get a table during peak dinner hours, then a late-night seat at the bar is your best bet -- and probably the most quintessential New York experience.
Brought to you by Mario Batali et al., Del Posto is arguably one of the best upscale Italian restaurants in New York. On a Chelsea block near the High Line, the large, loft-like space has an elegant interior with lots of black, red, and gold decor, as well as a candle-lit marble staircase in the center of the dining room. In true Batali fashion, the menu is rich but classic in nature, featuring delicious house-made pastas (gnocchi with caviar, oxtail ravioli) and beautiful cuts of meat (seared lamb chop, braised veal).
This popular West Village eatery serves upscale American-Italian plates in a repurposed garage. The open kitchen, tucked between walls of white-washed exposed brick, hosts a culinary team helmed by celeb chef Jonathan Waxman. The dining room is lined with Italian wine-crammed shelves, vintage tin signage, and communal tables built of heavy re-claimed wood. The menu focuses primarily on small plates and antipasti, while the brick oven pizzas are made-to-order, and the entrees -- think orange-roasted duck breast over Brussels sprouts -- are equally unforgettable. The wine list is an event of its own, stretching across pages (at Barbuto, there is no such thing as too much wine), and brunch here is something of a hand-made sausage fest, well-worth attending. Last but not least, when weather permits, the window-studded back-wall of the dining room slides up, in true garage-door fashion, to make room for airy side-walk seating.
Michael White’s seafood-centric destination off Central Park aims to impress with its elegant interior and high-end Italian ingredients. The house-made pastas will have you coming back for more, like the fusilli with red wine-braised octopus and bone marrow, an elevated homage to surf-n-turf with baby octopus braised in red wine and buttery Pat LaFrieda marrow.