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weinoo

25 Most Important Restaurants of the Last 30 Years

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Blackberry Farm?


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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If you're going to include something by Doug Rodriguez, I think it should be his original Miami restaurant, not Patria.

I wouldn't argue.

Yuca - that place came and went pretty quickly too.

As for Balthazar, it was definitely in my thoughts, but McNally has been quoted as saying that his inspiration for Balthazar was Stars, so...


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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If one accepts the argument that Per Se should be on there because its a 4 star, then Daniel belongs there as well. As great as Daniel is, I'm not sure it otherwise meets the criteria here. It has always been excellent, but has it ever really been ground-breaking?

What about The Quilted Giraffe? The River Cafe?

The River Cafe opened more than 30 years ago (1977); the Quilted Giraffe might just make it in under the wire...I think Barry Wine offered the first degustation in NYC.

I don't think Daniel is a pilgrimage place to out-of-town food people in the same way that Per Se is.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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What about the original Bouley or Chanterelle?


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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Or Montrachet?


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 think if you have an important and influential chef who never stuck around at any of his restaurants for the restaurant itself to be considered important and influential in its own right... well, that's too bad. I don't think it makes sense to just pick one of the chef's restaurants and put it on a list like this. If, hypothetically, a chef's body of work across 8 restaurants is important but not any particular one of those 8 restaurants individually, it doesn't belong.


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I think if you have an important and influential chef who never stuck around at any of his restaurants for the restaurant itself to be considered important and influential in its own right... well, that's too bad.  I don't think it makes sense to just pick one of the chef's restaurants and put it on a list like this.  If, hypothetically, a chef's body of work across 8 restaurants is important but not any particular one of those 8 restaurants individually, it doesn't belong.

Agreed.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Mesa Grill essentially launched Bobby Flay and even, to a certain extent, the Food Network . . .

On that basis, you'd have to include Emeril's.

Without Paul Prudhomme coming up with all of the stuff that he did at Commander's Palace, Emeril would not exist as he does today.

K-Paul's should be on the list.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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K-Paul's should be on the list.

Opened 1979. Just makes the cut! And definitely belongs on there. Is there any other restaurant that did more to bring Cajun cooking into the American consciousness?


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I think if you have an important and influential chef who never stuck around at any of his restaurants for the restaurant itself to be considered important and influential in its own right... well, that's too bad.  I don't think it makes sense to just pick one of the chef's restaurants and put it on a list like this.  If, hypothetically, a chef's body of work across 8 restaurants is important but not any particular one of those 8 restaurants individually, it doesn't belong.

Things may be more complicated than that. In the case of Pyles and Fearing it is. While The Mansion at Turtle Creek certainly is a more recognizable name at this point in history, it was not a matter of Pyles "not sticking around" at Routh Street. We were in a recession and the restaurant at The Mansion on Turtle Creek survived because, well, it was at The Mansion on Turtle Creek.

And then you can ask, influential and important to whom? My guess is that if you asked chefs in Texas which restaurant influenced them the most, it would be a tie, maybe a tilt towards Routh Street and Pyles. Nonetheless, I understand the national image and identity thing and Fearing is a skilled celebity chef who rode the southwest horse at The Mansion for a very long time. But I think he is now free to do and is doing more interesting things in his new restaurant.

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K-Paul's should be on the list.

Opened 1979. Just makes the cut! And definitely belongs on there. Is there any other restaurant that did more to bring Cajun cooking into the American consciousness?

Agreed.


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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One restaurant on your list, Mitch that I don't agree belongs there is Lupa. Good, yes. Important, not really, at least not in this context. I think more of an argument could be made for Esca, though I wouldn't recommend that either.


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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One restaurant on your list, Mitch that I don't agree belongs there is Lupa. Good, yes. Important, not really, at least not in this context. I think more of an argument could be made for Esca, though I wouldn't recommend that either.

In my opinion, Lupa defined the Italian trattoria/osteria eating experience in the United States. It took the Italian aesthetic of using excellent ingredients and preparing them simply and then serving them without any fancy tricks, and brought it here.

Platters of house cured salumi (or, Dad cured salumi), perfectly cooked al dente pasta (like they really cook it in Rome, for example), the occasional offal, secondi served without any accompaniments and a deep, outstanding, affordable all-Italian wine list were all really new experiences to diners - and once Mario hit it big, everyone just had to dine there...and they still do.

Without Lupa, I doubt we'd have restaurants like A16 or Incanto in San Francisco, Osteria in Philadelphia, or countless other riffs on the Lupa experience here in New York.

While the brilliance of Esca is undeniable, it is a much less copied restaurant, and appeals to a much more narrow constituency.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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One restaurant on your list, Mitch that I don't agree belongs there is Lupa. Good, yes. Important, not really, at least not in this context. I think more of an argument could be made for Esca, though I wouldn't recommend that either.

In my opinion, Lupa defined the Italian trattoria/osteria eating experience in the United States. It took the Italian aesthetic of using excellent ingredients and preparing them simply and then serving them without any fancy tricks, and brought it here.

Platters of house cured salumi (or, Dad cured salumi), perfectly cooked al dente pasta (like they really cook it in Rome, for example), the occasional offal, secondi served without any accompaniments and a deep, outstanding, affordable all-Italian wine list were all really new experiences to diners - and once Mario hit it big, everyone just had to dine there...and they still do.

Without Lupa, I doubt we'd have restaurants like A16 or Incanto in San Francisco, Osteria in Philadelphia, or countless other riffs on the Lupa experience here in New York.

While the brilliance of Esca is undeniable, it is a much less copied restaurant, and appeals to a much more narrow constituency.

I think that you already have that on your list with Babbo. Having both is redundant much like TFL & Per Se. I realize that Babbo and Lupa are not exactly clones, but they are still too similar to have both IMO. I'm glad that you didn't include Del Posto! :raz::laugh:


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 think that you already have that on your list with Babbo. Having both is redundant much like TFL & Per Se. I realize that Babbo and Lupa are not exactly clones, but they are still too similar to have both IMO. I'm glad that you didn't include Del Posto! :raz:  :laugh:

While I'm pretty sure that a restaurant like Lupa was hard to find before it opened, the Babbo type experience was surely around...in places like Felidia (which maybe should be included), San Domenico and others. But their respective service models, menus and price levels are so different that I felt the inclusion of both necessary.

If I was to leave one of the two off, it would probably be Babbo, because I think Lupa is more ground breaking.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I think that you already have that on your list with Babbo. Having both is redundant much like TFL & Per Se. I realize that Babbo and Lupa are not exactly clones, but they are still too similar to have both IMO. I'm glad that you didn't include Del Posto! :raz:  :laugh:

While I'm pretty sure that a restaurant like Lupa was hard to find before it opened, the Babbo type experience was surely around...in places like Felidia (which maybe should be included), San Domenico and others. But their respective service models, menus and price levels are so different that I felt the inclusion of both necessary.

If I was to leave one of the two off, it would probably be Babbo, because I think Lupa is more ground breaking.

If any of Batali's restaurants was groundbreaking, it was probably the largely forgotten Po. Maybe because I grew up in that tradition in Brooklyn, I don't see any of them to be truly novel, however. What Batali did do was bring offal to people who previously never would have approached it.


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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If any of Batali's restaurants was groundbreaking, it was probably the largely forgotten Po. Maybe because I grew up in that tradition in Brooklyn, I don't see any of them to be truly novel, however. What Batali did do was bring offal to people who previously never would have approached it.

While the memories of our youth are quite compelling (I'm pretty sure that the Chinese food I ate in Forest Hills circa 1960 has not been equalled to this day), that's just you and me. For the many others who didn't grow up in Forest Hills or Brooklyn, Lupa was and is undoubtedly an eye opener, and I'm sure could be thought of by those same people as truly novel.

And while Batali did indeed bring some of those aspects of dining you mention above to Po, I don't think the entire formula came together until Lupa, with its food, quartinos of wine (did you ever see a restaurant serve a quartion of wine before that, or wines from every region of Italy?), a wine list 300 deep with bottle prices starting at $20, house made pastas, offal, house cured meats and fish, etc.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I like Lupa more than Babbo, but it would be hard for me to argue that Lupa is more important than Babbo.

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Lola in Cleveland

Pizza Bianco in Phoenix

Blue Hill in NY

Craft in N.Y. (over Gramercy Tavern)

McCrady's in S.C.

Vetri in Phily

Guy Savoy in Vegas

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in N.Y. or Vegas

Providence in L.A.


Edited by toddw8877 (log)

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Lola in Cleveland

Pizza Bianco in Phoenix

Blue Hill in NY

Craft in N.Y. (over Gramercy Tavern)

McCrady's in S.C.

Vetri in Phily

Guy Savoy in Vegas

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in N.Y. or Vegas

Providence in L.A.

All excellent restaurants, but I don't see how they qualify for this list over other restaurants. McCrady's may be the most intriguing candidate, but it hasn't been around long enough yet or been influential enough yet to qualify


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 like Lupa more than Babbo, but it would be hard for me to argue that Lupa is more important than Babbo.

Is there an argument for Babbo being more important than Lupa?

Yes. I would say that Babbo started the movement in this country of Italian restaurants in America (as opposed to Italian-American restaurants) that create and serve dishes frmo an Italian aesthetic but don't attempt to imitate actual Italian dishes from Italy. I heard Batali once say that, in constructing the menu for Babbo, he decided to think of New York as though it were another region of Italy and to proceed from that viewpoint. This means incorporating local ingredients and taking account of the preferences and practices of the local populance and making a "NYC Italian cuisine" much in the same way that Bolognese cuisine is different from Milanese cuisine. This resulted in dishes such as his "fennel dusted sweetbreads with sweet and sour onions, duck bacon and membrillo vinegar" which is a dish that does not exist in Italy, but is reflective of a certain NYC-informed Italian aesthetic to the extent that most any Italian would recognize it as congruent with their culinary tradition in a way that an Italian-American dish such as "veal parmesan with spaghetti and red sauce" is not.


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Lola in Cleveland

Pizza Bianco in Phoenix

Blue Hill in NY

Craft in N.Y. (over Gramercy Tavern)

McCrady's in S.C.

Vetri in Phily

Guy Savoy in Vegas

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in N.Y. or Vegas

Providence in L.A.

I just realized that Blue Hill at Stone Barns is not on the list. That should be there. It raised Farm to Table dining to a new level on the East Coast.


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 like Lupa more than Babbo, but it would be hard for me to argue that Lupa is more important than Babbo.

Is there an argument for Babbo being more important than Lupa?

Yes. I would say that Babbo started the movement in this country of Italian restaurants in America (as opposed to Italian-American restaurants) that create and serve dishes frmo an Italian aesthetic but don't attempt to imitate actual Italian dishes from Italy. I heard Batali once say that, in constructing the menu for Babbo, he decided to think of New York as though it were another region of Italy and to proceed from that viewpoint. This means incorporating local ingredients and taking account of the preferences and practices of the local populance and making a "NYC Italian cuisine" much in the same way that Bolognese cuisine is different from Milanese cuisine. This resulted in dishes such as his "fennel dusted sweetbreads with sweet and sour onions, duck bacon and membrillo vinegar" which is a dish that does not exist in Italy, but is reflective of a certain NYC-informed Italian aesthetic to the extent that most any Italian would recognize it as congruent with their culinary tradition in a way that an Italian-American dish such as "veal parmesan with spaghetti and red sauce" is not.

Well said Sam! I agree.,


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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Blue Hill at Stone Barns for its self sestainability

BLT Steak for its influence in the opening of all the modern steakhouses in the wake of its success.

Mini Bar, if you are going to have wd-50 and Alinea, who have to put it on there

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