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America's Top 50 Restaurants

Food Fixations

new york pan-Latin; Indian everything; Wall Street's restaurant bull market; rum cocktails
philadelphia sake bars (even the Ritz-Carlton has one); crêpes (check out Beau Monde); small plates; preserved lemons
boston cheese course; cheeks (as in veal and halibut); Korean; micro-regionalism
miami still nuevo latino but no plantains with truffle oil; name restaurants in hotels, like the new Bice at the Grand Bay
san francisco South of Market restaurant scene; Pacific Rim revisited (in places like Oritalia, Asia SF, Shanghai 1930)
portland high-minded, high-style vegetarian options
chicago bistro-mania (La Sardine, Bistrot Zinc, Mon Ami Gabi); the new restaurant row on Randolph Street
seattle out-of-town invasion: Roy's, ObaChine, Sazerac; spin-offs of classics run by big-name Seattle chefs like Jim Malevitsis's Adriatica, Ponti Seafood Grill, and Axis
los angeles supper clubs with a Rat Pack sensibility (Rix); French bistros; tall food; Asian fusion—still; vegan...maybe next year
vegas steak houses; Brazilian; cilantro
hawaii li hing mui, an Asian sour plum, as the flavor of the month, in anything from gummy bears to cigars

Five Dives

chicago Hongmin 221 W. Cermak Rd.; 312/842-5026. In Chinatown. Zero atmosphere, ancient glassware, great oyster dishes.
new orleans Fiorella's 45 French Market Place; 504/528-9566. A French Quarter joint with almost no light, it's a classic for beans and rice, fried chicken, and po'boys.
las vegas Freddy G's Deli & Diner 325 Hughes Dr.; 702/892-9955. A refined sort of dive that's great after a losing night at the casinos. Super breakfasts, and the staff really knows how to nurse your hangover.
los angeles Philippe The Original 1001 N. Alameda; 213/628-3781. Home of the French-dip sandwich.
seattle Pecos Pit BBQ 2260 First Ave. S.; 206/623-0629. A former gas station with picnic tables, and mean beef-brisket sandwiches.

Restaurants of the Next Minute

boston Radius 8 High St.; 617/426-1234; dinner for two $60. Waiters in hip gray uniforms serve up chef Michael Schlow's equally stylish creations: lobster-and-mango tart, crunchy sweetbreads with carrot confit. All this buzz, all this supper-club glamour: can it really be Boston?
new york Palladin Time hotel, 224 W. 49th St.; 212/320-2925; dinner for two $95. Finally the hour strikes for the Big Apple debut of chef Jean-Louis Palladin, known for his Watergate restaurant in D.C. Expect a brasserie as imagined by Adam Tihany, reasonable prices, and captivatingly earthy flavors: oxtail stew with bone marrow flan; crustacean saucissons with polenta and squid ink.
las vegas Aureole Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702/623-7401; dinner for two $90. Charlie Palmer, king of all-American culinary couture, is taking his show to Vegas. Feel cool amid all the water and glass (Adam Tihany again). Order a '34 Bordeaux from the astonishing wine cellar to go with your grilled shell steak with caramelized onion-potato tart.
los angeles Lucques 8474 Melrose Ave.; 323/655-6277; dinner for two $75. L.A.'s restaurant du jour, Lucques, is snugly ensconced in a brick carriage house that once belonged to Harold Lloyd. Campanile alumna Suzanne Goin turns out grilled sea bass with Meyer lemons, and bittersweet chocolate cake.
seattle Brasa 2107 Third Ave.; 206/728-4220; dinner for two $50. Have roast suckling pig, swordfish tagine, yogurt-sambuca cake. Bracing tastes from the earth and the hearth to combat the Seattle drizzle. The luxurious textiles don't hurt either.


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