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World's best modern/molecular restaurants


LPShanet
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This isn't really a New York-specific topic, but wasn't sure where to put it. I was hoping to compile a list (Top 10, Top 40, whatever) of the best molecular/modern style restaurants in the world. The first trick is, of course, deciding how to describe the places, as almost all of the chefs in the category hate the "molecular gastronomy" term. Still, we don't really have an adequate replacement. Anyway....on to the list. Submissions should be only places that you really think should be on a list of the world's best or most important. I'll start with a few obvious ones, and we can go from there. In no particular order:

El Bulli

Mugaritz

Alinea

Moto

WD-50

The Fat Duck

Pierre Gagnaire

Arzak

Alkimia

Martin Berasategui

Akelarre

La Broche and/or any other Sergi Arola restaurant (he recently left)

Others to consider:

Bras (I think this falls in the category)

maybe L'Arpege and/or L'Astrance?

Cinq Centits

Hissop

Commerc 24

Minibar

Edited by LPShanet (log)
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Z kitchen

Studio Kitchen

If Studio Kitchen was still operational I would agree. Instead, we will have to await the fruition of Shola's restaurant. I would not be the least bit surprised if it wound up here.

Another place I would throw in the mix is Mexico City's Pujol. Daniel Patterson's Coi is another contestant for top technoemotional (in lieu of MG) restaurants. There are at least half a dozen more in Spain that are not fully on the eG radar that could qualify as well. Ca Sento, for example, is on my list of top restaurants - period. Many, many restaurants are using contemporary technique without emphasizing them.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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What is the purpose of this?

Mostly to compare notes, but also to plot a trip and see if there are major spots I've overlooked. And, as usual, to provoke discussion.

An upscale Super Size Me, perhaps, to determine if one can live on chemistry alone for a month?

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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What is the purpose of this?

Mostly to compare notes, but also to plot a trip and see if there are major spots I've overlooked. And, as usual, to provoke discussion.

An upscale Super Size Me, perhaps, to determine if one can live on chemistry alone for a month?

That would be a dream vacation. Spherificate Me. Might have to be a series of journeys, though.

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I would add Cracco in Milan

...and Osteria Francescana in Modena.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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What is the purpose of this?

Mostly to compare notes, but also to plot a trip and see if there are major spots I've overlooked. And, as usual, to provoke discussion.

An upscale Super Size Me, perhaps, to determine if one can live on chemistry alone for a month?

I'm sure this is a joke and you realize this, Holly, but you illustrate a common fallacy about this style of cooking. All those who do it really well still use technique to manipulate inherently excellent product and the best do it to highlight products rather than for pure show. In a sense, the end justifies the means. The quality of product is one of the main things that separates them from the industrial food industry.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Yes it was a joke, Doc. Well meaning, too.

Perhaps I should have said science instead of chemistry. What chefs such as these accomplish is wondrous, astounding. I never envisioned an interpretation of my reference to "chemistry" to mean industrial food.

I was conjuring a month of awe with a dash of whimsy - risking one's psyche rather than one's arteries, Super Size Me style.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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I would add Cracco in Milan

...and Osteria Francescana in Modena.

I've not been to Cracco yet, but I would definitely second Francescana. Fantastic restaurant.

And while we're in Italy, also:

Uliassi in Senigallia (my favorite restaurant in Italy)

Madonnina del Pescatore in Senigallia

Le Calandre in Sarmeola di Rubano (my one meal there was not consistent with the glowing praise you can read elsewhere, though..)

Combal.Zero in Rivoli

Il Canto in Siena

(I've not been to the last two but they come very highly recommended by a friend of mine who lives essentially halfway between them. He called the chef of Combal.Zero one of the best two chefs in the Piemonte (no small praise), and the chef of Il Canto, a disciple of Marchesi, among the very best young chefs in Italy.)

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thomas keller is not happy with this list!

Not to take anything away from Keller or Kinch, but I don't think either belong on this list. Not because they are not great chefs nor because their restaurants aren't great either, but because they are not "molecular", at least not in the sense I believe the question of this topic asked. I believe that this topic is beginning to see encroachment of restaurants that don't really belong to the category, even though they may be great in their own rights.

There certainly are many more Spanish restaurants that can find their ways to this list, though. The surface has only been scratched there.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Must also add Ryugin Restaurant in Tokyo: Chef Seiji Yamamoto is not to be missed.

I've dined at Ryugin, and don't find Chef Yamamoto's food to be particularly modern or molecular. He does make use of some modern techniques, but his food still comes across as very Japanese with a French twist. Except for the candied apple, but that's just one dish.

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McCrady’s in Charleston.

O's Steak & Seafood in Denver.

That Varvary place in Moscow sounds interesting.

Whatever Richard Blais is doing at any given moment.

And let us not forget Interlude in Melbourne, and Tapas Molecular Bar in Tokyo.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Also in this month's Chicago Magazine there's a piece indicating that two restaurants -- Avenues and Graham Elliot -- now fall into this category:

http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine...paving-Avenues/

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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thomas keller is not happy with this list!

Not to take anything away from Keller or Kinch, but I don't think either belong on this list. Not because they are not great chefs nor because their restaurants aren't great either, but because they are not "molecular", at least not in the sense I believe the question of this topic asked. I believe that this topic is beginning to see encroachment of restaurants that don't really belong to the category, even though they may be great in their own rights.

There certainly are many more Spanish restaurants that can find their ways to this list, though. The surface has only been scratched there.

I completely agree with what Doc has written. I really want to keep the list on-message. There are too many great restaurants in the world, and this topic was intended to have a specific focus.

Another one that might belong, though I haven't been, is Aronia de Takazawa. Anyone here managed to get there?

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McCrady’s in Charleston.

O's Steak & Seafood in Denver.

That Varvary place in Moscow sounds interesting.

Whatever Richard Blais is doing at any given moment.

And let us not forget Interlude in Melbourne, and Tapas Molecular Bar in Tokyo.

Sean Brock and Richard Blais are clearly two of America's top chefs working within this style. Two more I would add, though they technically do not have a restaurant, are Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozawa of Ideas in Food. Their food is as good as any I have had within this medium. They also use the techniques wisely to support flavor, texture and presentation enhancements to their food rather than simply to demonstrate wizardry. I'm too lazy to go back through this entire topic, but if Tailor hasn't been mentioned, it should be.

I'm not familiar with O's Steak and Seafood. What is that place all about? The name certainly does not provide any indication of belonging on this list, but as we all know, names can be deceptive.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I will list the best restaurants that I have been to that I think qualify for this list. As such, I will not list meals that were not held in full-fledged restaurants such as those I have enjoyed from Alex and Aki and Shola Olunloyo.

In no particular order, but as they pop into my head:

  • elBulli
    Can Roca
    Arzak
    Ca Sento
    Alkimia
    Abac
    Sant Pau
    L'Esguard
    Monastrell
    Osteria Francescana
    L'Astrance
    minibar
    Cafe Atlantico
    Alinea
    WD-50
    Tailor
    Coi
    Binkley's

Most of the list above is pretty clear cut, though there might be a few that are debatable. There are a number of restaurants that I omitted, even though they may use a smattering of techniques. The preponderance of their approach is based more on the preceding nouvelle cuisine than a full scale technoemotional approach. Though currently closed, I believe L'Esguard belongs there, even though the specific techniques employed are distinct from any of the other restaurants. Nevertheless, the spirit is the same.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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