Of the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. selected, nine of them did not appear on last year’s list, and three of those, The Mansion Restaurant at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Michael Mina and The Willows Inn, are gracing the list for the very first time. Six that made Top 40 lists in earlier years are making a comeback: Bacchanalia, Bouley, CityZen, Corton, Georgian Room and The Restaurant at Meadowood. That means that nine from last year’s list did not make the cut: Cyrus, The Herbfarm, L’Espalier, Masa’s, Michel Richard Citronelle, Patina, Restaurant Eugene, TRU and Twist by Pierre Gagnaire.
UPDATE 9/17/12:Only a few more days of patience for the fans of Spago before the restaurant reopens!
Even if you are an A-list celebrity or know one of the owners, über-chef Wolfgang Puck or designer Barbara Lazaroff, there is no way you will get a table at Spago in Beverly Hills tonight… or even for the next few weeks. Just look at this photo. The restaurant had announced that they were undergoing a renovation, but it looks like we are going to get a totally new Spago.
For those who are familiar with the space, they will be happy to learn that the olive trees adorning the patio have been saved by Lazaroff and will be replanted soon. Smaller ones will also be added. The bar and the open kitchen will remain, while the private room will be enlarged. How the rest of the restaurant will turn out is a total mystery. You will have to wait until mid-September to see how Spago has been transformed.
When Alinea owner Nick Kokonas came to my table for dessert, after I had already sampled seventeen dishes from chef Grant Achatz, I had to share with him my thoughts: “Your restaurant should not be called a restaurant.” Yes, there is food, but it’s nowhere close to what one could ever experience at other dining venues. Achatz’s creativity is without limits, and tolerates no restriction, so expect the unexpected. What should it be called? Hmm… considering the homage and respect he pays to food, I can not say “food entertainment,” maybe an “ode to culinary invention.”
On Saturday, April 22nd, 2012, I was invited by The Bikini Chef Susan Irby to appear on her weekly radio show Bikini Lifestyle that airs in Los Angeles on AM 790 KABC. Irby and her co-hosts Denice Fladeboe Mock and Steve Valentine kept trying to make me reveal the name of my favorite restaurant. Only one other person knows the answer: my son Alexandre who was also in the studio. But he cannot tell, as I have sworn him to secrecy!
Watch this exclusive video with chef Jean Joho to find out why we just named him the 2012 Best Restaurateur in the U.S. It may be somewhat long, but you can bet that the chef who has earned the prestigious title of best restaurateur has a lot to say.