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From fresh, Southern-inspired fare in the modish Arts District to the handsome nighttime counterpart of a breezy all-day café in Santa Monica, there’s a lot going for Los Angeles’ latest restaurants.
Image Courtesy of Manuela.
Birds & Bees
Located in the historic core of Downtown Los Angeles — and, fun fact: housed in a space that previously functioned as a gym for the LAPD — this mid-century modern speakeasy takes inspiration from the 1950s. Enter through the hidden door and make your way underground, where seasoned bartenders craft excellent cocktails. Book now at Birds & Bees.
Located in Silver Lake at Sunset Junction, Bowery Bungalow operates out of a charming cottage. The homey restaurant features modern Mideast cuisine, a bar pouring craft beer and select wine, and a wood patio for al fresco dining. The menu, which draws inspiration from the food that owner George Abou-Daoud’s mother and grandmother used to cook, pays homage to some of the world’s most ancient flavors. Book now at Bowery Bungalow.
A pioneer of the new wave of Highland Park dining, Cafe Birdie is an ideal neighborhood hangout. It’s big, bright, and airy; it has a marble-topped bar serving craft cocktails; and its food menu has plenty of easy options suitable for any given night, including salads, Moroccan-spiced fried chicken, steak frites, and several pastas. Book now at Cafe Birdie.
Charcoal Venice is inspired by the backyard BBQs that its Michelin-starred chef, Josiah Citrin, hosts on weekends for friends and family. At this inviting neighborhood joint, everything is cooked over live fire, and the food is best enjoyed family-style. Specialties of the kitchen include cabbage, baked in the embers, and kampachi, lightly smoked over the coals. Book now at Charcoal Venice.
Chef Nick Barainca, formerly of Liason and Mélisse, is at the helm of this pop-up dinner series at Santa Monica’s OP Café. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, enjoy a five-course tasting menu for $47. Menu highlights include black garlic bread and pork collar cooked over almond wood. Book now at Gargantua.
Affectionately considered the “handsome” dinner counterpart to its neighboring sister restaurant, Lunetta All Day, both restaurants are owned and operated by chef Raphael Lunetta in Santa Monica. At Lunetta, the charcoal-colored walls are accented with leather banquettes, cozy lounge seating complete with a fireplace, and a brass-topped bar. Best of all, enjoy elevated American fare, like grilled chopped salad and steak & fries. Book now at Lunetta.
Manuela brings Southern charm to the culinary landscape of Los Angeles’ Arts District. Executive chef Wes Whitsell, who has teamed up with Iwan and Manuela Wirth, channels his Texas upbringing by applying artisanal Southern techniques to his food (think in-house smoking, fermenting, preserving, and pickling). Fun fact: the restaurant also houses an on-site chicken coop, home to 12 rare-breed birds. Book now at Manuela.
Chef Maycoll Calderón of the acclaimed Mexico City restaurant, Huset, has set up camp in Silver Lake. And the space does justice to al fresco dining: the vast majority of its 120 seats are located outside, at wooden tables surrounded by lush greenery and hanging lights. The seafood-centric menu showcases the chef’s signature “cocina de campo” (country kitchen) style of Mexican cooking and wood-fired fare, like seabass tostada and roasted red snapper. Book now at Tintorera.
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Tres Leches at Ariete.
Those who are in-the-know, know that this time of year is Miami’s best – even with the summer heat – thanks to Miami Spice. The two-month dining extravaganza offers discounted lunch, brunch and dinner specials ($23 for lunch and brunch, $39 for dinner) at more than 200 restaurants around town. This Hit List is your guide to the city’s finest Miami Spice offerings.
5/db Bistro Moderne
7/Beaker & Gray
8/Lobster Bar Sea Grille
9/La Mar by Gastón Acurio
Because enjoy a taste of Cuba without leaving the Grove. Start with a yucca salad, then dive into Ariete’s famous pepitas-topped frita chorizo burger. For a perfectly sweet ending, opt for the tres leches cake. // Coconut Grove. Book now on Resy.
Because Bazaar Mar is the place to see and be seen. This ultra-swanky Jose Andres seafood spot highlights whimsical favorites on its Spice menu – like lobster croquettes, tuna-topped air breads (filled with spicy mayo!), oyster ceviche, and the most creative key lime pie in town. // Brickell. (305) 615-5859.
Because this Mediterranean stunner boasts an impressive Spice menu, and neither its food nor its scene can be beat. The fabulous dinner feast on offer includes lamb ribs, spicy shakshouka, short-rib kebabs, sweet and tangy jeweled rice, and a pistachio ice cream pizzelle. // South Beach. Book now on Resy.
Because unlimited wine makes Spice twice as nice. After 8:30 p.m., and for just $20 more, add unlimited vino to your carnivore-friendly meal of seafood charcuterie, filet mignon, wagyu brisket pastrami, and coconut cake. Cheers to that. // South Beach. (305) 340-3333.
5/db Bistro Moderne
Because if you haven’t already enjoyed Daniel Boulud’s decadent French classics, now is the time. Indulge in his signature dishes, like steak tartare, coq au vin, and steak frites. The entire table will be saying, “Oui, oui!” // Downtown Miami. Book now on Resy.
Because in Miami, ceviche always reigns supreme. Use that as your starting point and then spring for delicious entrees, like garlic-rubbed ribeye or chanterelle-dotted risotto, and, for dessert, the Nutella mousse (natch). // Wynwood. Book now on Resy.
7/Beaker & Gray
Because what’s better than a cookie butter sundae? Not much– especially when it’s served after a meal of Spanish octopus and melt-in-your-mouth short-ribs. At Beaker & Gray the sundae is the cherry on top of a fantastic meal. // Wynwood. Book now on Resy.
8/Lobster Bar Sea Grille
Because when is lobster not a good idea? The coveted crustacean is the star of Lobster Bar Sea Grille’s Spice menu. Start with the lobster bisque and follow with the signature stuffed lobster, with all the fixings. Vanilla profiteroles with dark chocolate sauce and sugar-roasted almonds complete the meal. // South Beach. (305) 377-2675.
9/La Mar by Gastón Acurio
Because dinner with a seaside view is just what date night calls for. Don’t miss the banana leaf-wrapped paiche (topped with bacon for the perfect amount of smoke) or the La Pina dessert, which is just the right amount of sweet. // Brickell Key. (305) 913-8358.
Because brunch deserves the same love as dinner, and Bakehouse offers its popular take for Miami Spice. Start with the signature quiche before delving into croissant French toast and, finally, the flourless chocolate tart. It’s oh-so worth it. // South Beach. (305) 434-8249.
Resy is a reservations platform for the best restaurants. This list is our regular update on where to eat in Miami. To get it via email, download and register for Resy today.
Image Courtesy of Dante at Genuine.
What’s the best way to beat the New York City heat? Air conditioning and cocktails. The spritz is having its moment (psst: Dante at Genuine offers several iterations), and restaurants throughout the city have upped their bar game; the offerings are plentiful and spot-on. From Mediterranean-inspired cocktails on tap in a Brooklyn backyard, to a fine glass of rosé in a chic Midtown hideaway, this list covers the latest and greatest in food and drink [to help you survive the NYC swelter].
1/Dante at Genuine
2/Mifune and Sushi Amane
4/Air’s Champagne Parlor
9/Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
1/Dante at Genuine
Because the only thing better than the city’s best Negroni is the city’s best Negroni flowing from a self-serve fountain. Zero in on the beverage menu’s “Summer of Spritz” section, and don’t overlook the sourdough flatbreads, house-made pastas, and tiramisu (served tableside). // SoHo. Book now on Resy.
2/Mifune and Sushi Amane
Because it’s not every day that two Michelin-starred chefs, from completely different parts of the world, band together. Upstairs, enjoy upscale Japanese-European cuisine at Mifune; downstairs, savor a masterful omakase at Sushi Amane. // Midtown East. Book now on Resy.
Because it’s a delight to dine at a restaurant that doesn’t try too hard, yet brilliantly succeeds. As Pete Wells writes in his glimmering two-star review, “What Ms. de Boer and Ms. Shadbolt offer is not a wild vision of new ways to cook but a solid vision of how to eat.” // West Village. Book now on Resy.
4/Air’s Champagne Parlor
Because this salon’s mission to re-position bubbly as an everyday libation is admirable. Take note: An impressive selection of sparkling wine is offered alongside snacks like oysters and caviar, all within a pleasingly affordable price range. // Greenwich Village. Book now on Resy.
Because Israeli food is on the rise across the country, and this newcomer offers some of the best in New York City. The outdoor garden at Miss Ada is a pleasant locale for sipping cocktails on tap and snacking on hummus masabaha. // Fort Greene. Book now on Resy.
Because the revamped old-school interior is suave, and the bar stocks 100 whiskey varieties. Nosh on elevated classics, like oysters Rockefeller and a patty melt– best enjoyed while perched atop a velvet barstool, or tucked into an emerald green banquette. // West Village. Book now on Resy.
Because the whimsical Greg Baxtrom has debuted his very own soft-serve, and you can have yours cased in a magical chocolate shell or topped with freeze-dried berries. Flavors like sour cherry and vanilla violet are crafted from ingredients grown in the restaurant’s famed backyard garden. Delightful. // Prospect Heights. Book now on Resy.
Because we crave oysters on hot days, and here they’re served with playful accoutrement-filled droppers. Speaking of playful: barman Damon Boelte’s spot-on summer cocktails are inspired by his favorite Gilmore Girls episodes. // Boerum Hill. Book now on Resy.
9/Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
Because there’s no better place to sip rosé than Le Bernardin’s wine bar counterpart. A rotating list of 40 wines by the glass and 200 by the bottle is complemented by affordable eats from chef Eric Ripert and team. Don’t miss the daily #9PMPOUR, which features a special large-format bottle chosen by Aldo himself. // Theater District. Book now on Resy.
Because if you can’t make it out of the city, this charming Red Hook mainstay will provide just the respite you need. With its elevated comfort fare and strong, tasty cocktails, Fort Defiance serves its haven of a neighborhood quite well. // Red Hook. Book now at Fort Defiance.
Because this beloved pizza restaurant is closing its doors Aug.20 after nearly 15 years on Flatbush Avenue. Franny’s paved the way for a new generation of destination-worthy Brooklyn restaurants, and it will be sorely missed for its trailblazing farm-to-table ethos, impressive wine list, neighborly atmosphere, and above all, its delicious, delicious pies. Grab a seat before August 20th. // Park Slope. Book now on Resy.
Resy is a reservations platform for the best restaurants. This list is our regular update on where to eat in New York. To get it via email, download and register for Resy today.
From one of the world’s finest temples of seafood-based cuisine to Keith McNally’s newest swanky bistro, a 3-star yakitori omakase experience, and an all-day Mexican eatery serving healthy, of-the-moment fare, New York’s latest restaurants boast some serious gems. Read more and grab a seat.
Image Courtesy of Le Bernardin.
Air’s Champagne Parlor
At Air’s Champagne Parlor, sommelier Ariel Arce aims to make French sparkling wine (and the lavish fare it’s typically paired with) a little more accessible. Affordable bottles of bubbly and caviar service grace the menu, along with a picture-perfect cheese cart, and other wine-friendly snacks. Add to that a charming, Art Deco-inspired space and it’s almost too good to be true. Book now at Air’s Champagne Parlor.
Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
Named after the genius longtime sommelier of Le Bernardin, this wine bar is a notable counterpart to the revered fine dining restaurant. The stunning, yet relaxed space includes high top tables and comfortable couch seating. Guests can enjoy lunch specials with pairings, rotating tasting flights, and the famous daily 9pm pour — when a special large-format bottle selected by Aldo Sohm himself, flows. The fabulously affordable food menu, crafted by chef Eric Ripert and his culinary team includes charcuterie, cheese, share plates and more. Book now at Aldo Sohm Wine Bar.
An all-day restaurant from the notable Mexican chef and restaurateur Enrique Olvera and his partner, Daniela Soto-Innes, ATLA is the place to be any time of day. You can order flax seed chilaquiles or split pea tlacoyo off the breakfast menu until 4pm and arctic char tostadas and fish milanese off the lunch and dinner menu from 8:30am onwards. The all-day game isn’t one that many restaurants play, but in the airy and playful space that is ATLA, it makes perfect sense. Natural light pours in through giant windows, and there’s a pleasant, relaxed vibe, whether you’re enjoying a mezcal or a café con leche with coconut milk. Book now at ATLA.
Augustine is the latest and greatest from a certain downtown restaurateur who needs no introduction. In typical Keith McNally fashion, it’s a seductive bistro designed with Paris in mind —although at this point, the style is distinctly New York as well. Vintage mirrors and flowery tiles adorn the walls, dark leather banquettes and white tablecloths fill the room, and, in Pete Wells’s words, “impossibly warm” lighting sets the space aglow. Wells insists: “It’s a space that makes you feel, as Holly Golightly put it, as if ‘nothing very bad could happen to you there.’” The food is classic French, so expect lots of meat — from rotissterie to grillades — and a different specialty served each day of the week. If that doesn’t give you reason enough to come back often, note that Augustine is located in The Beekman Hotel and serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, late lunch, and dinner. Book now at Augustine.
With only 8 seats, Bar Uchu operates as an exclusive den for whiskey and Japanese-food devotees. The kaiseki style tasting menu, which incorporates the freshest seasonal ingredients (including produce from the restaurant’s rooftop garden), is driven by Samuel Clonts, formerly of the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare. Bar manager Frank Cisneros, who spent a year honing his craft at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, hits a high note with an impressive selection of rare whiskeys and artisanal cocktails. Book now at Bar Uchu.
The foremost destination for seafood-centric cuisine, Le Bernardin is a restaurant worthy of the most special occasions. Chef Eric Ripert’s flawless flagship restaurant has three stars from Michelin and four from The New York Times
. The service is exquisite, as is the wine list, crafted by expert sommelier Aldo Sohm. And the food? French technique is executed to perfection (hint: sauce), flavors from all over the world are sprinkled across the menu, and the desserts are intricate and delicious. This jewel is the kind of place where you choose to not hold back, and never once regret it. Book now at Le Bernardin.
Named after a century-old tree located in nearby Prospect Park, Camperdown Elm is the debut restaurant of Chef Brad Willits (formerly of Agern and Atera). His menu of refined New American fare is ever-evolving and both locally and seasonally-focused. Dishes like grilled cucumber, ikura, and smoked buttermilk; octopus and mocilla with tomatillo and smoked potato; and beef with brassica and Camperdown steak sauce are complemented by an eclectic wine and beer list. And in typical Park Slope fashion, the casual space is warm and welcoming. Book now at Camperdown Elm.
And so the story goes: Chumley’s was resurrected– not as the hideaway dive bar it once was, but as a meat-centric, swanky restaurant with Alessandro Borgognone and chef Victoria Blamey running ship. Located behind an unmarked door in the West Village, it still feels like a secret worth stumbling on, except now the treasure is the gastronomical fare. The “impressively satisfying” burger — a favorite of New York Magazine
critic Adam Platt — comes with two patties, melting bone barrow, and crispy shallots; the bar offers a series of scotch and soda variations; and framed vintage photos of old, famous regulars line the walls. Book now at Chumley’s.
Emily West Village
Maybe you’ve been to Emily and Matt Hyland’s original location in Clinton Hill, where excellent Neapolitan pies are served alongside well-known, dry-aged burgers. Or maybe you’ve enjoyed the duo’s second, Detroit-style pizza spot in Williamsburg, Emmy Squared. Now, the husband-and-wife pair have ventured into Manhattan to inhabit the former Blue Ribbon Bakery space, and they’re serving a menu of typical Hyland-style eats, including round pies, grandma pies, a “lammy burger,” and a pressed duck sandwich. Book now at Emily West Village.
Tucked into an unassuming corner of Red Hook’s Van Brunt street, Fort Defiance exudes the vibe of the neighborhood in which it lies. A local’s paradise, it’s cozy and quirky, with friendly service. A lot of attention is paid to the beverage program, from brunch drinks to after-dinner cocktails. The Southern-influenced food offerings range from brunch to dinner and feature satisfying fare, like Creole red beans on toast and chicken liver paté with bacon-onion jam. Best of all, specials are taken seriously here: burgers on Mondays, dollar oysters on Wednesdays until 11pm, and “a weekly celebration of all things tiki”– otherwise known as The Sunken Harbor Club – on Thursdays. Book now at Fort Defiance.
While not quite a full restaurant, Grand Army is far more than a nice place to drink; and what it does, it does well. The oyster selection is always top-notch, as are the snacks and small plates, like deviled eggs, charred octopus, charcuterie, and seared scallops. The bar program, which is run by the seasoned former Prime Meats bar director Damon Boelte, includes a bevy of craft cocktails. Book now at Grand Army.
This chic Upper East Side bistro from Chef Xavier Monge, a Minetta Tavern alum, draws a local crowd. The environment is welcoming, and the contemporary French fare is creative, yet comforting. Try the specialty of the house– a whole Normandy duck flambé for two, served with Asian spices, summer greens, and poached pear. Book now at Little Frog.
Vietnamese-born chef and owner Don Pham has been working in premier New York City sushi restaurants for over 17 years. At his solo debut, Sushi Ishikawa, on the Upper East Side, Pham offers innovative omakase in a modern and inviting space. Each guest is treated to a personalized sushi experience — customized by Pham himself. Sit back and enjoy the show. Book now at Sushi Ishikawa.
Yakitori Torishin Select Counter
Praised by The New York Times
(3 stars) and the Michelin Guide (1 star), Yakitori Torishin is a stellar Japanese restaurant focused on high-quality yakitori meals. The Select Counter offers a skewer-based omakase meal (influenced by the styles of kaiseki, kappou, and robatayaki) plus appetizers comprised of seasonal ingredients (including the finest seafood carefully selected from the Tsukiji market in Tokyo). Best of all, the chefs serve each course right off the Kishu Binchotan grill behind the counter. Book now at Yakitori Torishin Select Counter.
Image Courtesy of Kismet.
Celebrate summer the right way– by snagging an al fresco table at one of the city’s hottest restaurants. New kids on the block are popping up from Hollywood to Pasadena, along with tried-and-true classics. Bring on the spritz– the Resy Hit List LA is up.
3/EP & LP
5/Friends and Family
Because maestro Evan Funke’s pasta will have you feeling felix! When the primi piatti are divided by Italian regions, you know the food is legit. Two types of in-house bread will direct your voyage – and all roads lead to Rome – so don’t miss the Cacio e Pepe. // Venice. Book now at Felix.
Because Food and Wine’s Best New Chefs know how to serve summer on a plate. Cool off with a crisp white, then dig into the clams with red peppers and confit lemon. Pro-tip: extra bread to soak up the sauciness is a must. // Hollywood. Book now at Kismet.
3/EP & LP
Because how do you make a cocktail even better? Add boba. Dine downstairs with Chef Louis Tikaram’s “Asian eating house” menu (which happens to be gluten-free), then head to the rooftop for a cocktail to finish the night on a high note. // WeHo. Book now at EP & LP.
Because “against all odds, Michael’s feels alive again,” says Jonathan Gold in his LA Times review. Share-plate dining is the idea, and the Pork Milanese is not to be missed. // Santa Monica. (310) 451-0843.
5/Friends and Family
Because Thai town has a brand new addition, and…. Cooks County fans rejoice: chef duo Roxana Jullapat and Daniel Mattern have opened for daytime service, and dinner is on the horizon. Expect tasty za’atar spreads, the Hippie Sandwich with – you guessed it – smashed avocado, and plenty of killer baked goods. // Hollywood. Walk-ins only.
Because are you really doing summer right if you’re not sipping a cocktail on a rooftop while the sun sets? Hollywood’s latest watering hole, Filifera, offers poolside drinks, small bites (charcuterie and the likes) and an It-crowd, 22 stories above the city bustle. Cheers to LA living. // Hollywood. Book now at Filifera.
Because this family-owned Southeast Asian spot dishes out innovative riffs on Indonesian cuisine from mashup-master Chef Tjahyadi (his food truck “phorrito” fused pho and burritos). The menu delivers with dishes like ube gnocchi with duck confit, apricot cubes, and roasted mushrooms. // Pasadena. (626) 795-5702.
Because it’s “Mexican food with a different point of view,” according to Jonathan Gold, and now it serves brunch. The quintessential esquite corn is topped with toasted chapulines (yes, grasshoppers) and the lamb barbacoa melts in your mouth. // Pasadena. Book now at Maestro.
Because let the summer sake flow. Daily specials of wild-caught fish are offered as sashimi and braised whole nitsuke style, and happy hour means tonkatsu sandwiches Tuesday through Friday. Pro Tip: the gyoza are on point. //Echo Park. (213) 900-4900.
Because Japanese food in a mini mall means you’re in for the real deal. Every plate is picture-perfect, and omakase is the only option. So sit back, relax, and let Chef Jonathan Yao take the lead. // Sawtelle. (424) 535-3041.
Because when Nonna’s tagliatelle al ragu’ bolognese is on the menu, you know what to order. Chef Steve Samson grew up spending summers in Bologna (in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy), where tortellini in brodo reigns supreme. Qui si mangia bene – you’ll eat well here! // Downtown. (213) 749-1099.
Resy is a reservations platform for the best restaurants. This list is our regular update on where to eat in Los Angeles. To get it via email, download and register for Resy today.
Resy: How does New Orleans’ geography affect what you serve?
Alon Shaya: We are always influenced by our location, and look to what’s nearby [to cook], and the season and geographic location have so much to do with it. So, in New Orleans, we are influenced, of course, by the amazing seafood that we have– shrimp, crab, trout, flounder – all of these great things that we get to include in everything we cook. We have all this great crab, you just want to use it; so we make corn-and-crab bisque, crab ravigote, soft-shell crab po’ boys, and crab cakes.
You are cooking in pop-up dinners throughout the country, how do your preparations change by location – what would you serve in New York, for example?
When we go to places like New York, we take notice of what New York has that we can really embrace. So [while we are in New York], it’s going to be right in the summertime – when our summer in New Orleans gets a little too hot, and the great vegetables that we love to cook with die down a bit. In New York, that’ll just be kicking off. So, we are really looking forward to cooking with fresh eggplant, using fresh heirloom tomatoes from the markets, and allowing the produce that’s growing around New York to drive our menu.
Can you tell us what influences are incorporated into your cooking style?
My life story. That’s kind of how I cook. So, I go from being born in Israel to growing up in Philadelphia, to moving and embracing and falling in love with the South. And so, all of those things touch on everything I do and how I cook. There’s no script to it, it’s just a matter of everywhere I go, I’m influenced by where I was born, by where I live, and by what my mother and my grandmother cooked for me. I’m also influenced by what I see at markets when I travel, or at restaurants in different places when I visit… All of it adds up to this crazy algorithm that will never be solved.
What’s your process for recipe development?
For recipe development, the first thing I ask myself is ‘What’s in season? What do we have locally?’ Then I take all the ingredients I want to cook [for the dish I’m preparing], and I lay out twice as many ingredients as I may actually need to make that dish. So, if I’m making Shakshuka, I might have some green chillies, red chillies, ginger, garlic, shrimp, snapper, tomatoes, and eggs. I’ll lay all those things out and I’ll weigh everything to the gram and I’ll cook. At the end of making the dish, when I have it where I want it, I’ll weigh the remainder of the ingredients and the difference is the recipe.
In spite of Shaya’s success, what have been the biggest challenges?
You know, the biggest challenge is staying still for a little bit. There has been so much going on – a lot of attention – but we have to remember what’s most important: being here with our guests, cooking food, teaching our chefs. So, time management has been a challenge and finding ways to balance life and our success with our reality. The reality is that we have 500 people a day showing up and they’re going to be hungry, so that is our biggest priority.
What’s been the most surprising discovery along the way?
I think the biggest surprise would be how much people have really kind of embraced what we do here – not just the guests, but the servers and cooks, too. We have such an amazing team– they love this food, they love the style of service, and they’ve been very excited about it. To me, it was awesome to see so many people really embrace the story (and make it their own), and create something they’re really proud of selling.
How do you stay inspired?
I stay inspired by surrounding myself with people that are smarter and better-looking than me (laughs) – people I really admire, respect, and learn from. I travel a lot and get to see a lot, and it’s always really inspiring eating at restaurants you’ve been studying or reading about, or even exploring a new city. I was recently in Mexico City and it’s incredibly inspiring down there. It’s a completely different culture, a completely different cuisine, but so much of it felt right to me – so much of it felt familiar.
What would you like to try next?
I don’t necessarily have any plans to do anything other than focus on what Shaya’s doing right now, and how we can continue to improve, but I enjoy having some fun by going and doing [the pop-up dinner] events like the Food Lab at the Seaport and the partnership with Resy.
Five ingredients you can’t live without:
I can’t live without: extra virgin olive oil; a good, fresh-milled flour (to make bread, of course); burrata mozzarella (laughs); Louisiana shrimp, crab, and oysters; and Sriracha hot sauce – it’s my guilty pleasure.
First food memory:
My first food memory was my grandmother roasting peppers and eggplant over our gas stove, when she would come from Israel to visit us in Philadelphia, and I was about five years old.
Are there cities you are inspired or enchanted by?
There are several cities that have affected my life. One of those cities is Tel Aviv; I think the energy there and the creativity is a growing organism – like it hasn’t even reached infancy yet, and there is so much more there that is going to continue to happen. Mexico City was really inspiring for me, because of the beauty and the simplicity of the food. A fresh corn tortilla could be so complex, but also so simple. Barcelona has always been a city that has stood out as having a great strong story and food culture. Bergamo, Italy in Citta Alta (the old ancient part of Bergamo) is where I first kind of experienced real Italian food. Then, of course, Parma, Italy – where I staged and apprenticed – had so much influence on everything that I do.
How do you motivate and inspire your staff?
I motivate and inspire [my staff] by allowing the conversation to keep going. We work together as a team, and I like to look at it like a community table. When I sit down with our executive team, we bounce ideas off each other, building and improving on each other’s ideas, and never settling. We are always finding ways to do things better and I think that is motivational and inspirational in its own right; you never get bored and there’s always something else to do.
Tell us what’s on the horizon this year:
One thing that I’m really excited about, when we’re in New York with the Seaport pop-up, is to start talking about a book that I’m about to release in March of 2018 (pre-sale is on now). It’s my entire life story, and it’s called Shaya: An Odyssey in Food, My Journey Back to Israel. It’s 26 short stories throughout my life that chronicle my identity crises, the mentors and the people I had along the way who lifted me up, and how food played in the central part of each of those moments, pivoting me from one place to another. All of the recipes just kind of organically flow from these short stories. I hope that people will find it interesting and find the connection to the food that they’re cooking, and be able to relate it to a story in their own life.
Can you tell us about a pivotal moment in your career?
There are so many moments, but one of the most important moments in my life was cooking through Hurricane Katrina. I was here in New Orleans right after the storm – days after – cooking red beans and rice for people who had been stuck on top of their houses, or people who had been rescuing other people who had been stuck on their houses. The city was destroyed. I was wearing jeans I had been wearing for a week, standing in the parking lot of a Walmart with a propane tank, cooking vegetarian red beans and rice. There was no meat and no produce, so it was all it could be.
It wouldn’t be the way that I would make red beans and rice today – when I have access to the food around me – but then there was nothing available and that was one of the most important meals that I’ve ever cooked in my life.
And it reminded me why I began cooking – which was to put a smile on people’s faces and to bring comfort to people and I kind of reconsidered the entire trajectory of my career at that point.
That’s when I decided that I needed to go and apprentice in Italy and learn from grandmothers who have been perfecting the same dish their entire life. I wanted to simplify everything I knew about food at that point. So, after a few years rebuilding the city, I went to Italy to apprentice and came back to open Domenica restaurant. It was all because I had that moment during Katrina that reminded me what it was about food that I loved so much.
Taste it for yourself. Grab a seat.
From July 30th-August 12th, Chef Alon Shaya will be bringing his James Beard Award-winning cooking to New York for Seaport District NYC Food Lab pop-up. Purchase tickets here.
Disruptor, purist, forager – one could use any of these words to describe Chef Jeremiah Langhorne of Washington, D.C.’s The Dabney, but “visionary” is perhaps the most fitting. After all, it’s one thing to cook Michelin-star food; it’s another to build a local ecosystem around sustainable ingredients in the process. Together with business partner Alex Zink, Chef Langhorne has shaken up the D.C. dining culture – one hearth-cooked meal at a time.
Image courtesy of The Dabney.
Chef Langhorne says that his philosophy on cooking has always been that “[i]f you are passionate about what you are doing, and you really enjoy and believe in it, then that’s enough. And if it’s right, if it’s the way things should be, it’ll work out in the end.” And with Chef Langhorne, it’s definitely right. As a young line cook keen on cultivating his craft, Langhorne frequently looked to industry veterans for inspiration. He tells us that he read Chef Sean Brock’s blog each day before starting his shift; the famed chef would later become a pivotal figure and mentor in Langhorne’s career. [And it was the experience of cooking for him that inspired Langhorne’s credo – a “desire to make something as good as it possibly can be.”]
After apprenticeships for Chef Brock – at Charleston’s McCrady’s – and Rene Redzepi – at Copenhagen’s Noma – an opportunity emerged for Langhorne to chart a new course with his own restaurant; this time, in D.C.
The Dabney’s concept was a break from convention: from the location, in an obscure alleyway in the up-and-coming Shaw neighborhood, to the year spent procuring the best (and, oftentimes, most obscure) local ingredients, and finally, to forgoing a traditional gas line in favor of a hearth as the centerpiece of the kitchen, little of Langhorne’s operation fits a playbook.
Image courtesy of The Dabney.
“For the year leading up to the opening of the restaurant, my sous chef and I spent all of our energy visiting every single farm and purveyor that we could – really getting to know them, seeing how they treat their animals, how they raise their vegetables, understanding what practices they use. We have a fishmonger who will wait on the dock, waiting for a satellite call from the fishermen out at sea about what they’ve caught, so we get some of the most incredible fish literally three and a half hours off the dock. And I think that is the foundation of what we do: great relationships with all of the people in this community that make it what it is.”
It’s this notion that a local ecosystem is the heart of great food that led to the discovery of one of The Dabney’s signature dishes: sugar toads. This seemingly unknown small puffer fish with a sweet flavor was largely ignored by consumers and fishermen alike until The Dabney made a name for it. Langhorne takes pride in creating demand and popularity for little-known – but abundant – local ingredients like these: “We try to take anything where a farmer or fisherman says, ‘This is really abundant here, but nobody wants it,’ and see if we can turn it into something. Then, hopefully, like what’s been happening with sugar toads, if we make it popular, people will come in and see it, and other chefs will ask, ‘Can we get some?’ And that’s how you create a fishery for something.”
(Above) Jeremiah Langhorne cooking at the Franks’ Backyard Chef Series.
(Below) The Dabney’s signature “sugar toads.” Photo credit: Meredith Jenks.
Langhorne notes that for both consumers and purveyors there’s a reset that has to take place.
“I think we have such a broken food system – in the way that we eat, buy, and source things. It’s so completely out of whack for me… I get into arguments with people who are buying salmon at Whole Foods; there are so many things just outside our backyard.”
Perhaps this sentiment is a relic from Langhorne’s earlier years spent staging in Copenhagen. “I think people often miss the point with Noma; it was never about the ingredients that are in Scandinavia, as much as it is [Rene’s] philosophy and his mentality.” He goes on to say, “The most important thing I took away from [Noma] was not so much that Scandinavia has really cool ingredients, but that everywhere has really cool ingredients. If you focus on your own home and your own region, you can discover some really exciting things that you previously didn’t know existed.”
Chef Langhorne’s asparagus with Maryland crab meat, smoked peanuts, wild mint, and oxalis. Photo Credit: Meredith Jenks.
And then there’s Langhorne’s cooking style, which could arguably be boiled down to simply ‘not overthinking things,’ He combines the most delicious local and seasonal ingredients with a precise set of standards, time-honored cooking techniques, and pairings that are outright delicious. “We focus on ingredients – that’s our number one priority at all times,” states Langhorne. This focus, combined with Chef’s expansive fine dining pedigree, has paid off: in its first year, The Dabney earned a coveted Michelin star and eager revelers fill its 52-seat dining room on a nightly basis.
But lest we assume his story has been filled with serendipity, Langhorne’s precise cooking standards, devotion to sustainable ingredients, and pseudo-Samurai code for his kitchen staff, would lead one to think otherwise. “Recently, when we won the Michelin star, people asked ‘What did you do [to win]? What did you focus on?’ And it’s funny, because there wasn’t one single lineup or meeting to say this is what we’re going to do to win this. We just do what we do every single day and I think we have a strong platform of beliefs and things that we focus on that allow us to move forward.”
Chef Jeremiah Langorne (front center) pictured at Resy & Frankies Spuntino Present Franks’ Backyard Chef Series.
Focus, it turns out, plays a big part in The Dabney’s success: “We have easily one of the most dedicated kitchen staffs I’ve ever worked with in my life, it’s really a joy to see,” Langhorne says. But “focus” doesn’t mean rigidity. “We kind of joke about being the anti-kitchen kitchen: we have a book club on Thursdays at 11am, where everyone brings in their favorite cookbook and we talk about what inspires us.”
So how does the relatively young Michelin-star chef, who once took to educating himself with Ping Island Strike keep his cooking fresh, so to speak, and continue to chart the path forward?
“[Being the leader] is a completely different place to be. Instead of saying, ‘I want to be like him,’ you have to look at yourself and say, ‘Well, what do I want? What do I buy into? What do I train people to be like?’ It’s a huge struggle, so that’s what turned me onto the vintage cookbooks.”
Langhorne is affectionately referring to the Colonial cookbooks he frequently considers for inspiration. “I find a lot of inspiration, not just in old cookbooks, but cookbooks in general of all different kinds. And it’s funny because when I was a younger cook, I used to turn to the flashy books that were glossy and big and all about technique. Now it’s much simpler, I turn to books like Fiddle (which I absolutely love). That and trying to get back out in nature as much as possible. If I can get out on a farm or go foraging or I can get out with one of our oystermen or go crab fishing, that’s a huge jolt and a really good source of inspiration… it serves the same function as getting up each morning and checking [Chef Brock’s] blog to see what he posted (laughs).”
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Image courtesy of Kemuri Tatsu-ya.
It’s time to take advantage of those long, slow, Texas summer days. Hit up some of the city’s hottest new restaurants– (with company, of course), and cool down with delicious eats and ice-cold brews. And don’t worry— we have it on good authority that these places crank the AC to arctic. It’s time for the Austin Hit List; grab a seat.
4/Juliet Italian Kitchen
7/Don Japanese Kitchen
Because the food here goes way, way beyond fusion. Born in Japan and relocated to Texas as a kid, chef Aikawa developed his izakaya-influenced smokehouse grub as an endearing form of biographical cooking. The (standout) result is brisket smoked alongside non-traditional meats, delicious smoked fish, and lots of it—mackerel, eel, and fish collar. Kemuri takes its flavors beyond the smokehouse, too, with takoyaki doused in chili cheese sauce, sticky rice tamales, and yuzu pecan pie. //Holly. Book now at Kemuri Tatsu-Ya.
Because fresh off a sky-high 9-out-of-10 review from the Statesman’s Matthew Odam, Phil Speer and company are killing it with their French riff on the all-American diner. Come for the pommes rosti; stay for the banana split profiteroles. And don’t skip the burger. //Allandale. Book now at Bonhomie.
Because the name doesn’t lie. This restaurant is one gorgeous buildout from Greig-Percy Collaborative, and the food’s not too shabby either. Chef Max Snyder riffs on Texas favorites, including chicken (fried and barbecue), smoked beef rib, and more. (They also do breakfast.) //Holly. (512)494-4593
4/Juliet Italian Kitchen
Because this Barton Springs favorite has a whole new vibe. After a brief hiatus for light renovations, Juliet has been reborn as Juliet Italian Kitchen, with an emphasis on Italian-American cooking. Entrees are available in family-sized portions, so grab the whole gang. //Barton Springs. Book now at Juliet Italian Kitchen.
Because the historic Celis Brewery is back in Austin, thanks to Christine Celis, daughter of the celebrated late brewer Pierre Celis. The star of the show is the beer, including the famous Celis White, but the bar – converted from a giant copper kettle – is a close second. //North Central. Walk-ins only.
Because it’s the latest entry into Austin’s quiet tapas boom. El Chipiron is light, bright, and serves a tapas prix-fixe menu with a side of gin and tonic. Salud, South Austin! //South Lamar. (512)945-8157
7/Don Japanese Kitchen
Because the favorite food truck has gone brick-and-mortar. After the truck attracted a steady stream of revelers willing to queue for Don Japanese’s donburi bowls (before they sold out!), its expansion is more-than-welcome. //West Campus. Walk-ins only.
Because the oldest operating beer garden in Texas has a fresh new menu. Frankly—pun intended—there’s no better match for revamping the German-ish cuisine at Scholz than local sausagery Frank; think brats, schnitzel, burgers, and more. //Capitol area. (512)474-1958
Because more pizza and beer is always a good thing. New York-style slices and pies are on the menu, as are Italian comfort favorites like eggplant Parm, baked ziti, and deli sandwiches. Try “Nonna’s Spaghetti-O’s”– packed with meatballs, cheese, and tiny o’s of anelletti pasta—much nicer than the canned stuff. //Round Rock. Walk-ins only.
Because that sushi goes right round, baby, right round. Austin’s only conveyor-belt sushi is great for a lark—and the sushi’s a steal for the price. But don’t get too distracted by the never-ending sushi train—the hot food, ordered on a screen, hits the spot, too. //Crestview. Walk-ins only.
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From inventive interpretations on Mexican food to quirky feel-g00d eats, and a one-of-a-kind Korean eatery, Portland’s latest restaurants boast something for everyone. Read more and grab a seat.
Image Courtesy of Han Oak.
Joshua McFadden is the chef and now owner of this stellar trattoria with Roman inspired eats. The motto is “Locally Sourced. Aggressively Seasonal,” which means the best local produce and meats raised by Pacific Northwest farmers make their way into a menu of antipasti, giardini, hand-made (down to the house-milled flour) pasta, secondi, and contorni. To experience Ava Gene’s in all its glory, order family style, and succumb to the chef’s selection of delicious, Italian-esque plates for all to share. Book now at Ava Gene’s.
Chalino is inspired by Mexico, but not too entrenched in tradition. Chef Johnny Leach – a Momofuku empire vet – churns out creative ceviches and tostadas, proudly veering away from authentic Mexican cuisine. Tequila, mezcal, and a superb michelada can be thoroughly enjoyed on the seasonal patio. Pro tip: indulge in the off-menu fried chicken pibil– it’s sensational. Book now at Chalino.
Named for Korea’s traditional homes, this self-proclaimed “family restaurant” – operated out of chef Peter Cho’s home – specializes in prix-fixe dinners and casual dumpling and noodle meals served four nights a week. At $45, the four-course tasting menu offers innovative, American-influenced dishes using traditional Korean ingredients and flavors. Among the highlights are sweet-and-sour sweet potatoes with toasted sesame, hand-cut kalgooksu noodles in egg drop chicken broth, and koji-marinated, slow-roasted pork belly with rice cake, pickled daikon, and scallion salad. The minimalist, light-filled interior – accented by hip-hop jams – makes for a delightfully relaxed setting that’s hard to leave. Book now at Han Oak.
If you thought Jacqueline was the name of the owner, you thought wrong. It’s a nod to the Wes Anderson film “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” and both the décor (“a romantic aesthetic with a nautical flair,” as the restaurant puts it) and the food (seafood) fit that mold. Enjoy oysters with house-made mignonettes, yellowtail crudo, charred octopus, and the like; and look out for Bill Murray– he’s there somewhere. Book now at Jacqueline.
This quirky restaurant is outfitted almost entirely in wood and decorated with pots and pans, hanging lights, and chandeliers. A wood-fired oven is the only source of heat in the kitchen, producing flavorful dishes that highlight seasonal ingredients procured from a variety of local suppliers. Specialties include Oregon sole and mushroom duxelle with potato, sunchokes, and gremolata, and Cattail Creek lamb with charred bruss, smoked onions, lime yogurt, greens, and spices. Book now at Ned Ludd.
Xico is not your standard Mexican restaurant. Chef Kelly Myers grinds the corn in-house, transforming it into just-perfect tortillas. Local ingredients shine in dishes like salad tacos and roast chicken for two. The bevy of mezcal-based cocktails – which are made with rare varieties – are best enjoyed on the back patio. Book now at XICO.
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From delicious eats al fresco at quintessential SF eatery, Al’s Place, to fresh-baked breads and seasonal staples at Outer Sunset’s Outerlands, and a jaunt over the bridge to Oakland for Japanese-inspired American classics at Hopscotch – San Francisco’s latest eateries do not disappoint. Read more and grab a seat.
Image courtesy of Al’s Place.
From the artful, vegetable-focused plates to the sunny patio seating, there’s little left to be desired at chef Aaron London’s place. Nothing you’ll eat here is like anything you’ve had before. Take the fries — brine-pickled and served with smoked applesauce — for example. If you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of the chef himself, recognizable by his slick-as-ever man bun. Book now at Al’s Place.
This intimate neighborhood restaurant offers authentic Sicilian fare best experienced through one of three daily-changing tasting menus. Start off with a Negroni or a spritz from the distinctly Italian beverage menu, and expect dishes spanning from hot and cold antipasti, to house-made pastas and pizzas, and hearty mains. Pro-tip: The lunch menu offers arancini and panini, both of which are very worthy of a midday visit. Book now at Dopo.
An upscale diner serving American food with a Japanese spin, Hopscotch is an eclectic little spot in Oakland focused on seasonality and sustainability. Chef Kyle Itani’s unique fare is both creative and comforting: there’s a yonsei oyster with sea urchin, salmon roe, and citrus soy; soba bucatini in a spicy tomato sauce topped with herbs and pecorino; and a burger with griddled beef tongue, pickled onions and sesame aioli. His partner and GM Jenny Schwarz runs the beverage program, which offers expertly crafted cocktails and hops & scotch pairings. Book now at Hopscotch.
This New American restaurant located in the East Bay boasts an impressive patio, outfitted with heat lamps for colder days and umbrellas for sunnier ones. It’s a decidedly relaxed place for any occasion, offering quality fare with a focus on local goods — think fava bean bruschetta, lobster mac & cheese, and miso-glazed black cod. Grab a seat.
Nobu Palo Alto
Nobu’s first NorCal location provides the Silicon Valley set with typical Nobu fare, plus locally inspired dishes and signature cocktails. It’s a fierce addition to Palo Alto’s lunch and dinner scene; now the tech sector can get down to business over yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño and black cod with miso. Book now at Nobu Palo Alto.
Understood as an ideal neighborhood restaurant definitive of San Francisco’s Outer Sunset, Outerlands is still very much a restaurant worth traveling for. The walls are made of reclaimed driftwood, the atmosphere is always easygoing, and the food is both fortifying and delicious. Enjoy house-baked bread with house-made ricotta or steak with sunchoke and broccoli, only a stone’s throw away from the sea. Book now at Outerlands.
This Parisian-inspired wine bar and oysterette from restauranteurs Anna Weinberg and James Nicholas (Marlowe, Park Tavern, The Cavalier, Leo’s Oyster Bar) is an ideal (and leisurely) gathering place. Chef Jennifer Puccio oversees the menu, which includes (but is not limited to) a varied selection of oysters, cheese and charcuterie, tartare, and toast. The wine list, which benefits from sommelier Mark Bright’s expertise in French grapes, has many fantastic bottles to choose from. Book now at Petit Marlowe.
Chef/owner Adam Tortosa boasts solid sushi chops, having honed his craft under Los Angeles master sushi chef, Katsuya Uechi. Now, he’s bringing his own spin on contemporary Japanese – with local and sustainable omakase – to Hayes Valley. Other reasons to visit: the stylish interior, hip-hop soundtrack, and pretty ceramics made by local craftsmen. Book now at Robin.
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