The Daily Meal’s 101 Best Restaurants in America: A mixed bag
The Daily Meal recently published their 101 Best Restaurants in America for 2013 list. You can see the full list here. My friends and I are lucky enough to have had the opportunity to visit some of these spots. In this article, I will share with you these experiences, including our thoughts and opinions.
As a Boston college student, I am really happy that one of Tony Maw’s restaurants made the cut. Craigie on Main’s menu is highly seasonal, which means that you are either lucky or unlucky if they serve you food that you like. Unfortunately, the one and only time I was there, I was the latter diner. I was not very impressed with their entrees. Fortunately, their sinfully nutty, Valrhona chocolate-gasmic dessert dish compensated my small disappointment. Craigie-on-Main is only three stops away so I highly recommend all Jumbo foodies to stop by. Rumor has it that their brunch burger and pork entrees for dinner are to die for. 853 Main St. Cambridge, MA 02139. (617) 497-5511. http://www.craigieonmain.com.
At O-Ya, I learned the meaning of “shirako” AKA cod fish sperm sac. (I was not brave enough to try it, but the server informed me that it tastes like butter.) Anyhow, there are very few sushi restaurants in Boston I would walk into. That being said, O-Ya is one of the best, if not the best, sushi hub in Boston. Moreover, I was dumbfounded to see that it topped over Sushi Yasuda (#93) and all the other NYC’s sushi–ya’s that did not make the cut. O-Ya’s style is reminiscent of Sushi of Gari’s in New York. Though it has been a year since I stepped into this hidden gem in Watertown, their one-of-a-kind fried Kumamoto oysters with black squid ink bubbles has left a lasting impression. 9 East St. Boston, MA 02111. (617) 654-9900. www.oyarestaurantboston.com.
If you go on a weekend, you are bound to wait in line for at least two hours at this ever-hyped ramen hotspot. Does the American branch live up to its Japanese counterparts? During my summer in Tokyo, I managed to sneak some food adventure time into my internship schedule, and I happened to venture into the first branch of Ippudo. Everything was more or less the same as Ippudo New York, except that the soup is richer in Japan. 65 4th Ave. New York, NY 10003. (212) 388-0088. http://www.ippudony.com.
17. Per Se:
My foodie friend claims that this place deserves 4/4 stars in all areas—service, atmosphere, presentation and taste. It is a classic example of a 3-star Michelin restaurant; the Per Se four-hour dining experience leaves people being food-comatosed for at least two days. 10 Columbus Circle. New York, NY 10019. (212) 823-9335. http://www.perseny.com.
My friend from Purdue University strongly recommends going to Alinea, as it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. She says, “There’s a new menu this year. The taste of the food was not always great–some of it actually tasted funny. However, the presentation was mind-blowing.” No institution executes the science of food with greater precision than Alinea. 1723 N Halsted St. Chicago, IL 60614. (312) 867-0110. http://www.alinearestaurant.com.
Fun fact for Tufts readers, Daniel Boulud is the father of the cofounder of the Tufts Culinary Society. Unfortunately, Daniel dropped down a few spots this year. A source of mine who went recently commented that her dining experience was great, due in part to the impeccable service, but she wasn’t sure whether the dishes she had were really worth the two month long wait. 60 E 65th St. New York, NY 10065. http://www.danielnyc.com.
11. Shake Shack:
I admire the panelists for diversifying the list by including this gourmet burger chain. Unlike In-N-Out, vegetarians can also enjoy Shake Shack, as it offers a delicious breaded portabella mushroom burger. And in case you haven’t heard, Shake Shack is planning to open its first Boston branch in Chestnut Hill near Boston College! Multiple locations. http://www.shakeshack.com.
Though I tend to have something against people who wear Crocs, Mario Batali is probably an exception. Or at least Babbo convinced me that he can’t be all that bad. I particularly enjoyed the staccato-paced music, the lively conversation, and the sounds of people savoring their butter-truffle-ized pasta. Their pasta dishes were simple and homey—think spaghetti pomodoro and oreccheitte with pesto. 110 Waverly Pl. New York, NY 10011. http://www.babbonyc.com.
5. Eleven Madison Park:
Eleven Madison Park is similar to Alinea in that the soul of the restaurant is fueled by the chef’s curiosity and passion for food science and chemistry and presentation, and perhaps less so by the taste. Their butter, which comes in various flavors such as mushroom, plain, and beef, along with the pale wheat ale that comes in a picnic basket, are enough to make you feel like you are king or queen of the world. 11 Madison Ave. New York, NY 10011. http://www.elevenmadisonpark.com.
2. Gramercy Tavern:
Just one spot behind Thomas Keller’s French Laundry, Garmercy Tavern is the best reason to visit Manhattan’s Gramercy Square. A friend that worked in their kitchen shared her thoughts: “Gramercy Tavern manages to create unpretentious yet incredibly tasty dishes from sustainable, local ingredients. Their hospitality is unparalleled and you are guaranteed to have a warm, welcoming experience that will make you want to come back for more.” 42 E 20th St. New York, NY 10003. (212) 477-0777. http://www.gramercytavern.com.
As a foodie, I live to eat and learn about food and its magic. Regardless of where the 101 restaurants rank, I cannot help but feel a little sad that I probably will not have the time (and disposable income) to tongue-travel through all of them. Not that that’s going to stop me from trying…