GAYOT.com 2011 Top 40 US Restaurants

by André, Alain & Sophie Gayot


GAYOT.com, the internationally renowned guide to dining, hotels, travel and lifestyle, has just published its Annual Restaurant Issue, which includes the highly-anticipated Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. list. The 2011 edition also names Chef Michael Mina their U.S. Restaurateur of the Year.

 

 
Of the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. selected, 9 of them did not appear on last year’s list, and 3 of those are gracing the list for the very first time. Other lists include:
Top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S. – great places that opened in 2010
Top 40 Cheap Eats in the U.S. – good choices for the budget-conscious
5 Rising Chefs – American chefs under 30 who are making their mark
Top 10 Steakhouses in the U.S. – which celebrity chefs make the best steak?
Top 10 Hotel Restaurants in the U.S. – Only 3 remain from last year
Top 10 Insider Picks in the U.S.published for the first time, reveals where to dine for a taste of local flavor, good food and good times.
The issue also explores the major Culinary Trends for 2011, and includes exclusive video interviews with many of the winners, as the one above with chef Craig Strong from Studio at Montage Laguna Beach.

 

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Chicago’s Ria Hosting Wine-Centric Fête

Ria's plush dining room will host a boutique wine dinner showcasing its new menu. (Photo courtesy of Patricia Parinejad.)

by Jennifer Olvera


You’ve got to love a place that’s been open mere months and closes for a mini-facelift, New York-based culinary research and menu revamp, all the while riding on rave reviews. But that’s Ria for you. Celebrate its reopening early on January 22 with a luxurious wine dinner highlighting six boutique California producers: Failla Wines, Anomaly Vineyards, Realm Cellars, D.R. Stevens, Chase Family Cellars and Fischer Vineyards.


The event kicks off at 4 p.m. in the Elysian hotel’s grand ballroom with passed hors d’oeuvres and an informal wine tasting. Come 6 p.m., the soirée moves into Ria’s dining room for a six-course meal comprised of dishes from the yet-to-be-unveiled winter menu and, naturally, more specialty sips. Producers will be seated among diners and will elaborate on pours between courses and stay to talk post-dessert with those so inclined.


Participants for the tasting only may reserve advance tickets for $50, while the entire evening costs $250 per person, in addition to tax and service. Ria, 11 E. Walton St., 3rd Fl., 312-880-4400.


Keep coming back to GAYOT.com for the latest Chicago Restaurant News, Restaurant Reviews, Culinary Events and Chicago Wine Dinners.

One Church & One State

by: Sophie Gayot

A few months ago, I ran into Yassmin Sarmadi, owner of Church & State, the great French bistro in downtown Los Angeles. She mentioned to me that she was looking for a location to open Church & State #2 in what Angelenos call The Westside.


I frowned. Why? Because, based on my previous visits, there could only be one Church & State. This is a restaurant with a soul, and I did not feel it should — or could — be duplicated. A recent visit confirmed my thoughts. After a great debut by former chef Walter Manzke, the flame had been kept alive. Jeremy Berlin took over, and it was all good. Watch my exclusive video interview with the chef, and read my new review of Church & State.

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Partners in Hell

by: Sophie Gayot


Chef Mark Peel and I both appeared on the same episode of Hell’s Kitchen which aired on October 13th, 2010. We were both on the hit show working as judges, evaluating the same challenge. But when I went to The Tar Pit, his restaurant on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles, I was the only one judging what was coming out of his kitchen. Read my review of the restaurant to see if it’s worth making a stop at The Tar Pit.

Confident that his food would pass (after all, he is the chef/owner of Campanile, which has been packed since its 1989 opening), chef Peel wanted to talk about the cocktails that are being crafted behind the bar in my exclusive video interview. I guess he was right, since lots of thought is going into the libations.

Resolutions or Desserts?

Raspberry sorbet with house-made chocolate tiles
Raspberry sorbet with house-made chocolate tiles

by Tiffany Maleshefski


We’ve already described the holiday offerings at the bar and lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco. But the hotel’s new pastry chef Jeffrey Wurtz may have you postponing your resolutions to get healthy and eat right. The recent addition to the team, who has worked with Daniel Boulud, Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon, has brought with him an upscale, sophisticated dessert menu that is now in step with Seasons‘ highbrow dinner menu. Try a brioche crouton plated with caramelized apple and melon sorbet.


Wurtz also has a penchant for gold leaf, and the fancy accoutrement is seen in almost every dish he sends out. Here it is with a refreshing and light raspberry sorbet served with elegant house-made chocolate tiles (and more comforting chocolate crunchies underneath).

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