The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

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Robert Dentice
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The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#1 Post by Robert Dentice » December 31st, 2019, 7:08 am

Overall not a bad list. It is impossible to be all inclusive with these types of lists. I agree with many of the choices especially my favorite State Bird. Nice to see many other friends on the list including Atomix, Pizza Beddia (shout out Philadelphia a city that has a very promising culinary future!) and Sqirl.

What restaurants do you think are missing?

https://www.esquire.com/food-drink/rest ... ade-2010s/

One I would add is Isa. Although only open for a short time like it or not it was the first all natural, no SO2 wine list and the food was just stunning. And the Chefs that worked in that kitchen went on to define the era Estela, Contra, Semilla among others. Asimov's review killed the place and it went out of business...it was way ahead of its time. Wow Asimov is a horrible food writer he was so wrong about the desserts and he just did not get the place. Can't believe it is almost 10 years ago!

https://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/23/dini ... eview.html

Also tempted to add Majordōmo as I think as time goes by its influence will be realized on the LA dining scene.

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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#2 Post by RyanC » December 31st, 2019, 7:22 am

I'm biased but it's awesome (and surprising) to see Nancy's Hustle (Houston) on the list. The wife of one of my law partners is a co-founder, co-owner, and the head pastry chef (used to be a pastry chef in New York). The food is eclectic and super-delicious, and it epitomizes the phenomenal food city that Houston has become -- a sprawling LA-like scene with excellent, energized chefs inspired by the endless variety of international cuisine and fusion experiments that couldn't exist anywhere else. Nancy's Hustle would be totally at home in SF/Portland/Copenhagen/etc but really it's perfect for Houston.
Last edited by RyanC on December 31st, 2019, 7:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#3 Post by Robert Dentice » December 31st, 2019, 8:18 am

RyanC wrote:
December 31st, 2019, 7:22 am
I'm biased but it's awesome (and surprising) to see Nancy's Hustle (Houston) on the list. The wife of one of my law partners is a co-founder, co-owner, and the head pastry chef (used to be a pastry chef in New York). The food is eclectic and super-delicious, and it epitomizes the phenomenal food city that Houston has become -- a sprawling LA-like scene with excellent, energized chefs inspired the endless variety of international cuisine and fusion experiments that couldn't exist anywhere else. Nancy's Hustle would be totally at home in SF/Portland/Copenhagen/etc but really it's perfect for Houston.
Exciting I might need to be in Houston in February.

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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#4 Post by doug johnson » December 31st, 2019, 6:28 pm

The food at Bad Saint is good though everything else is not. But it wouldn't have worked in DC without Little Serow before it.

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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#5 Post by fred o. » January 1st, 2020, 11:19 am

Robert Dentice wrote:
December 31st, 2019, 7:08 am
One I would add is Isa. Although only open for a short time like it or not it was the first all natural, no SO2 wine list and the food was just stunning. And the Chefs that worked in that kitchen went on to define the era Estela, Contra, Semilla among others. Asimov's review killed the place and it went out of business...it was way ahead of its time. Wow Asimov is a horrible food writer he was so wrong about the desserts and he just did not get the place. Can't believe it is almost 10 years ago!

https://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/23/dini ... eview.html
Robert, you're joking right? Either that or you're being frankly simplistic. To call Eric Asimov "horrible" and "so wrong," that "he just did not get the place" -- look at those words in context and you see the rhetorical patterns of speech followed by a certain politician in the news.

I read the review for the first time, without having ever been to Isa, and honestly I don't see why you feel the way you do. The review was fair and well-balanced; it described the restaurant's many strengths, and it gave some gentle suggestions for improvement. Overall, it was criticism, and journalism, not fawning restaurant PR which is maybe what it looks like you're seeking for Isa, and definitely not the publicity-stunt-style takedowns favored by Pete Wells. Asimov isn't perfect but no food writer is, and at least based on this Isa review, your attack on him is unwarranted.
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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#6 Post by Joshua Kates » January 1st, 2020, 1:42 pm

Thanks for posting. Lists like these are hard to get right and thus always going to invite an argument. I don't know LA food scene any more, but Husk today is not what it once was, and Mission Chinese, Next, and Via Carota all seem to me overrated.

Also agree that Asimov's review appears fair and that Pete Wells is a showboat.
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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#7 Post by RyanC » January 1st, 2020, 2:20 pm

Joshua Kates wrote:
January 1st, 2020, 1:42 pm
Thanks for posting. Lists like these are hard to get right and thus always going to invite an argument. I don't know LA food scene any more, but Husk today is not what it once was, and Mission Chinese, Next, and Via Carota all seem to me overrated.

Also agree that Asimov's review appears fair and that Pete Wells is a showboat.
I may have missed its prime, but when I went a couple years ago Mission Chinese (SF) was a complete disaster. Everything oily and out of balance and not that great.

A few other thoughts...

How can the list not include a single Momofuku restaurant? That’s insane. I’d probably choose Ssam as the one where Chang found his groove but I could see arguments for the original or Majordomo.

Other excluded places that perhaps should be included:

Franklin BBQ
BH @ SB (or maybe the original BH)
Shake Shack
Per Se
Masa (or Urasawa?)
WD-50 (or Mini Bar?)
Craft
Carbone
Zuni

(I realize that list is NY heavy but each is influential in its own way.)
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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#8 Post by Glenn L e v i n e » January 1st, 2020, 2:41 pm

I saw this list earlier in the week and enjoyed it. The only place I’d add instantly is Girl & the Goat in Chicago. Terrific, still popular, and seems regionally and nationally influential.

In Portland I’d pay to eat at Han Oak again before a comped meal at Canard but that’s me.

Mission Chinese also a joke.

Love Willows Inn ending the list. Eating there is a mic drop.
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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#9 Post by Kelly Walker » January 1st, 2020, 3:39 pm

Exciting to see Katie Button's Curate in Asheville, NC on the list. Fantastic tapas style Spanish cuisine. Her husband Felix has put together an amazing all Spanish wine list and incredible vermouth list. My first stop every time to Asheville.
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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#10 Post by Robert Dentice » January 1st, 2020, 3:48 pm

fred o. wrote:
January 1st, 2020, 11:19 am
Robert Dentice wrote:
December 31st, 2019, 7:08 am
One I would add is Isa. Although only open for a short time like it or not it was the first all natural, no SO2 wine list and the food was just stunning. And the Chefs that worked in that kitchen went on to define the era Estela, Contra, Semilla among others. Asimov's review killed the place and it went out of business...it was way ahead of its time. Wow Asimov is a horrible food writer he was so wrong about the desserts and he just did not get the place. Can't believe it is almost 10 years ago!

https://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/23/dini ... eview.html
Robert, you're joking right? Either that or you're being frankly simplistic. To call Eric Asimov "horrible" and "so wrong," that "he just did not get the place" -- look at those words in context and you see the rhetorical patterns of speech followed by a certain politician in the news.

I read the review for the first time, without having ever been to Isa, and honestly I don't see why you feel the way you do. The review was fair and well-balanced; it described the restaurant's many strengths, and it gave some gentle suggestions for improvement. Overall, it was criticism, and journalism, not fawning restaurant PR which is maybe what it looks like you're seeking for Isa, and definitely not the publicity-stunt-style takedowns favored by Pete Wells. Asimov isn't perfect but no food writer is, and at least based on this Isa review, your attack on him is unwarranted.
His review did kill the place that I know for sure. I think you would be shocked at how a poorly worded review can kill a restaurant in NYC. I ate at Isa at least 10x during is short life and thought it was one of the most exciting restaurants of its day. Reading this review later with the context of just how ahead of its time that restaurant was and knowing where so many of the people in the kitchen are today I do think it was a horrible review. It is also worth pointing out Asimov is not a food writer he was pinch hitting while the NY Times was between reviews. Is he a horrible reviewer I don't know because he does not review restaurants. Was that a bad review in my opinion yes.

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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#11 Post by ERPark » January 1st, 2020, 6:30 pm

RyanC wrote:
January 1st, 2020, 2:20 pm
How can the list not include a single Momofuku restaurant? That’s insane. I’d probably choose Ssam as the one where Chang found his groove but I could see arguments for the original or Majordomo.

Other excluded places that perhaps should be included:

Franklin BBQ
BH @ SB (or maybe the original BH)
Shake Shack
Per Se
Masa (or Urasawa?)
WD-50 (or Mini Bar?)
Craft
Carbone
Zuni

(I realize that list is NY heavy but each is influential in its own way.)
The article states their methodology is places that started in the 2010s. DChang was mentioned as opening his first Momofuku in 2004. I believe most every other place you mentioned has been around since before 2010.
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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#12 Post by RyanC » January 1st, 2020, 6:31 pm

ERPark wrote:
January 1st, 2020, 6:30 pm
RyanC wrote:
January 1st, 2020, 2:20 pm
How can the list not include a single Momofuku restaurant? That’s insane. I’d probably choose Ssam as the one where Chang found his groove but I could see arguments for the original or Majordomo.

Other excluded places that perhaps should be included:

Franklin BBQ
BH @ SB (or maybe the original BH)
Shake Shack
Per Se
Masa (or Urasawa?)
WD-50 (or Mini Bar?)
Craft
Carbone
Zuni

(I realize that list is NY heavy but each is influential in its own way.)
The article states their methodology is places that started in the 2010s. DChang was mentioned as opening his first Momofuku in 2004. I believe most every other place you mentioned has been around since before 2010.
Fair enough.
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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#13 Post by Nicolas G. » January 1st, 2020, 6:57 pm

So lucky to have Justin Severino here in PGH. Really miss Cure but Morcilla and his other new projects are just as good if not better. I would argue that Zahav should be placed on this list also.
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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#14 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » January 2nd, 2020, 5:56 am

Nicolas G. wrote:
January 1st, 2020, 6:57 pm
So lucky to have Justin Severino here in PGH. Really miss Cure but Morcilla and his other new projects are just as good if not better. I would argue that Zahav should be placed on this list also.
I loved Cure, I’m not buying the restaurant that transformed a city line. One of those claims made by an outsider that doesn’t know the city.

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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#15 Post by James Lyon » January 2nd, 2020, 9:13 am

I'm surprised that Coquine didn't make the list.

Nice to see Curate and Little Jack's on the list.

Looks like the Puerto Rico listing was established in 2007.

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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#16 Post by JLee » January 2nd, 2020, 5:10 pm

Fish & Game shouldn't be on there. I don't think it "kick started" anything. Certainly not by example as the food isn't very good.

Junebaby also shouldn't be on there. The food here is solid but it certainly doesn't live up to that glowing NY times review. I think enough people think the same way that it doesn't quite make it a leader in a movement.

There's no sushi restaurant on the list, which seems like an outrageous omission.
The momofuku restaurants, despite mostly being opened in the prior decade, probably have more impact than 80% of that list put together.
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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#17 Post by M.Kaplan » January 16th, 2020, 5:43 pm

James Lyon wrote:
January 2nd, 2020, 9:13 am
I'm surprised that Coquine didn't make the list.

Nice to see Curate and Little Jack's on the list.

Looks like the Puerto Rico listing was established in 2007.

James
Just finished dinner at Little Jack’s. Drinks were good, she crab soup was ok but not as good as the one I ate at Henry’s earlier today, burger and shrimp burger were also ok. Vibe is great. What am I missing?
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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#18 Post by Mattstolz » January 18th, 2020, 10:53 am

another love for seeing Curate on here. Husk as well. also i think Husk was definitely the correct choice over McCrady's. gotta agree on it seeming like a poor technicality choice that keeps anything from Momofuku off the list.

final thing: I think Chicago has gotten short changed by this list. several of the best meals ive had in the last decade i had in chicago, and i only noticed Next on the list?

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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#19 Post by James Lyon » January 20th, 2020, 7:38 am

M.Kaplan wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 5:43 pm
James Lyon wrote:
January 2nd, 2020, 9:13 am
I'm surprised that Coquine didn't make the list.

Nice to see Curate and Little Jack's on the list.

Looks like the Puerto Rico listing was established in 2007.

James
Just finished dinner at Little Jack’s. Drinks were good, she crab soup was ok but not as good as the one I ate at Henry’s earlier today, burger and shrimp burger were also ok. Vibe is great. What am I missing?
Not much. That sounds about right. Food wise, Little Jack's is good. It's the hospitality at Little Jack's that is first rate. Bartenders, wait staff, hostess, manager, etc. were all top notch and create that vibe or atmosphere that you reference. I just thought that it was nice that Little Jack's was included on the list.
Mattstolz wrote:
January 18th, 2020, 10:53 am
another love for seeing Curate on here. Husk as well. also i think Husk was definitely the correct choice over McCrady's. gotta agree on it seeming like a poor technicality choice that keeps anything from Momofuku off the list.

final thing: I think Chicago has gotten short changed by this list. several of the best meals ive had in the last decade i had in chicago, and i only noticed Next on the list?
Regarding McCrady's, which iteration? Some form of McCrady's has been around since well before the start of the 2010's, so it would be excluded from the list.

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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#20 Post by Mattstolz » January 20th, 2020, 11:55 am

James Lyon wrote:
January 20th, 2020, 7:38 am


Regarding McCrady's, which iteration? Some form of McCrady's has been around since well before the start of the 2010's, so it would be excluded from the list.
The most recent one with the small room of 12-15 course tasting-only style menu.

The previous iteration of 3-4 courses with a couple choices for each course I enjoyed 100x more. The very large tasting menu I felt like moved too far away from the southern food it was influenced by

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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#21 Post by James Lyon » January 21st, 2020, 7:49 am

Mattstolz wrote:
January 20th, 2020, 11:55 am
James Lyon wrote:
January 20th, 2020, 7:38 am


Regarding McCrady's, which iteration? Some form of McCrady's has been around since well before the start of the 2010's, so it would be excluded from the list.
The most recent one with the small room of 12-15 course tasting-only style menu.

The previous iteration of 3-4 courses with a couple choices for each course I enjoyed 100x more. The very large tasting menu I felt like moved too far away from the southern food it was influenced by
Fair enough. I've eaten at both versions of McCrady's (+ the Tavern before it closed) and I consider the current tasting room an extension of the previous McCrady's. Yes, fancier, more courses and smaller portions, but a similar experience. Hence, McCrady's would have been excluded from the list.

James

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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#22 Post by Betty C » January 21st, 2020, 4:26 pm

Glenn L e v i n e wrote:
January 1st, 2020, 2:41 pm
Mission Chinese also a joke.

+1. It's crap.
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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#23 Post by MBerto » January 22nd, 2020, 1:28 pm

Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis deserves to be on there. The head chef, Gavin Kaysen, had the resume to go anywhere in the world and launch a new restaurant, and that he choose Minneapolis and thrived, re-enforcing the Twin Cities as a top ten food scene in the country deserves mention.
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Re: The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Decade

#24 Post by David K o l i n » January 22nd, 2020, 2:24 pm

Mattstolz wrote:
January 18th, 2020, 10:53 am
another love for seeing Curate on here. Husk as well. also i think Husk was definitely the correct choice over McCrady's. gotta agree on it seeming like a poor technicality choice that keeps anything from Momofuku off the list.

final thing: I think Chicago has gotten short changed by this list. several of the best meals ive had in the last decade i had in chicago, and i only noticed Next on the list?
Elizabeth is also on the list. Nice article about Iliana in the NYT today

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/21/dini ... d-inn.html

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