New York City: The playful vibe (yellow leather banquettes; framed photos of boomboxes) belies the serious dishes coming out of Charlie Bird ($$$), the SoHo spot from chef Ryan Hardy and sommelier Robert Bohr. The wines—many made from little-known grapes—can all be ordered by the half bottle.
Philadelphia: Peter Serpico earned his chops as second-in-command at New York’s Momofuku empire. Now he’s partnered with restaurateur Stephen Starr at Serpico ($$$). The seasonally driven menu includes raw diver scallops and an indulgent deep-fried duck leg.
Los Angeles: For his first brick-and-mortar location, pop-up master Ludo Lefebvre recruited Animal chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo to create Trois Mec ($$$$), in an old Melrose pizza parlor. Five-course meals (pre-paid) may include peas with salmon roe one night, braised lamb belly the next.
Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150