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50 Best New U.S. Restaurants

<center>50 Best New U.S. Restaurants</center>

David Nicolas

Chicago: Urbanbelly

Dirt cheap but equally thrilling, Urbanbelly is already an obsession with local noodle and dumpling hounds. The hipster BYO nook with four communal tables sits in an Avondale strip mall between a laundromat and a dry cleaner owned by relatives of Korean-American chef Bill Kim. Asian street food? Yes, but as interpreted by a chef who spent years working under the likes of Charlie Trotter and David Bouley. Whether ethereal squash pockets laced with Kaffir lime and orange, or roasted duck purses scented with Vietnamese pho spices—Kim’s complex dumplings deliver four-star bang for seven paltry bucks. Lunch for two $42.



50 Best New U.S. Restaurants
<center>50 Best New U.S. Restaurants</center>

David Nicolas

Chicago: Perennial

Is Kim’s Korean kimchi stew, loaded with pork, hominy, and slippery rice cakes, the world’s coolest comfort food? Or would that title go instead to the pink supple slices of duck breast at Perennial, stacked between fluffy wedges of savory bread pudding? Designed with slim tree trunks and a tented ceiling, this Lincoln Park room radiates breezy glamour, and so does the food. Fresh from stints at some of Spain’s greatest avant-garde kitchens, young local chef Ryan Poli has the intelligence and restraint to distill cutting-edge concepts into relaxed, market-driven American fare. His pumpkin tart highlighted with date purée, his crisp-skinned striped bass in a smoky consommé of caramelized onion, and cheeky inside-out cheesecake are all major triumphs. Dinner for two $85.



50 Best New U.S. Restaurants
<center>50 Best New U.S. Restaurants</center>

Bob Briskey Photography

Chicago: The Publican

Long before The Publican served the first sweetbread schnitzel and hay-smoked “ham chop” from a menu that reads like a map of boutique American farms, Chicagoans were in a tizzy of anticipation. Why? Because this sly tribute to Teutonic beer halls comes from the team behind the wildly popular Blackbird and Avec. Now hordes of beer geeks, oyster lovers, and pork-rind addicts crowd the wooden tables in the loud, sprawling room. The Publican’s huge list of global microbrews is complimented by such devilishly clever noshes as a pair of boudin sausages accompanied by a cluster of salamander-crisped grapes. When you see this dish copied all over the world, just remember: it came from Chicago. Dinner for two $60.



50 Best New U.S. Restaurants
<center>50 Best New U.S. Restaurants</center>

David Nicolas

New York City: Corton

Food-loving New Yorkers aren’t letting Wall Street shocks scare them away from great meals. Even reports of white-tablecloth dining’s demise seem somewhat exaggerated—judging at least from the hum at Corton, where open tables are scarce. All sleek seamless perfection, the creamy space that once housed Montrachet is a new labor of love for canny restaurateur Drew Nieporent and British wunderkind chef Paul Liebrandt. His high-wire cooking somehow convinces one that luxuries like foie gras (glazed with a shocking-pink hibiscus-and-beet gelée), oysters (tricked out with toasted buckwheat and nutmeg oil), and squab (served with a decadent chestnut crème) are as relevant as ever. The banquettes are beautifully curved, the sound level invites conversation, and the lighting flatters even the original TriBeCa denizens. Best of all, Corton delivers that magical sense of occasion we’re starting to miss in this age of the gastropub. Dinner for two $150.



50 Best New U.S. Restaurants
<center>50 Best New U.S. Restaurants</center>

David Nicolas

New York City: Soto

Finding it impossible to score that online reservation at David Chang’s 12-seat Momofuku Ko? Despair not: Seek nirvana behind the maplewood counter at Soto (where reservations are, blissfully, available). Why this blond, serene spot run by a bona fide Japanese genius isn’t an impossible booking is one of New York’s great mysteries: maybe people simply aren’t ordering right. An ace with sashimi and sushi, Sotohiro Kosugi deserves his place in the world’s gastro-god pantheon for his jewel-like variations on sea urchin. He fries nutty sea-fresh uni blobs into a lacy tempura; dehydrates uni into a mysterious orange dust that highlights butter-smooth slabs of monkfish-liver mousse; and dollops uni into a trompe-l’oeil urchin shell made of squid filaments and shredded seaweed. Each exquisite morsel is a treat of a lifetime. Dinner for two $130.



50 Best New U.S. Restaurants
<center>50 Best New U.S. Restaurants</center>

 Melissa Hom

New York City: Convivio

In the pleasingly sedate, far-east-midtown Italian canteen Convivio, UN peacemakers lunch on irresistible anchovy-filled pepperoncini and pillowy salted-cod ravioli. The chef, Michael White, delivers the kind of mellow refinement you don't usually find beyond the Boot. Lunch for two $86.



50 Best New U.S. Restaurants
<center>50 Best New U.S. Restaurants</center>

 Daniel Krieger

New York City: Scarpetta

Sea urchin aside, New York’s flavor di giorno is southern Italian. Pasta fans are gaga for the jazzy Meatpacking District hotspot Scarpetta, which serves a shockingly good fritto misto and gorgeous polenta with a woodsy wild-mushroom fricassee. Dinner for two $120.



50 Best New U.S. Restaurants
<center>50 Best New U.S. Restaurants</center>

David Nicolas

New York City: Co.

Who needs Naples when the world’s greatest pizza is currently baked at Co., on a windswept corner in Chelsea? Here, Jim Lahey, the fanatic behind Sullivan St Bakery, turns out jagged, faintly tangy, artfully blistered pies perfectly engineered to support their toppings without being soggy or bready or overly chewy—a feat that usually eludes even Italy’s best pizzaioli. The eternal wait at his high-design pizzeria (come early or late) pays off with artisanal salumi and pies like the Amalfi, pungent with green olives and anchovies; or the Santo, its charred radicchio cap cutting through the decadence of three cheeses. Dinner for two $55.



50 Best New U.S. Restaurants
<center>50 Best New U.S. Restaurants</center>

David Nicolas

New York City: Txikito

Is this formerly barren Ninth Avenue block the city’s newest gourmet corridor? A few doors down, one discovers something equally special and singular at the cozy barn wood–clad cubbyhole called Txikito. Here, Alex Raij and Bilbao-born Eder Montero (former chefs at the beloved tapas haunt Tía Pol) preach authentic Basque—not Spanish—cooking. New customers stop by for chorizo-and–quail egg canapés, and sweet ribbons of squid mingled with pine nuts—and keep coming back for the blackboard specials: a whole grilled turbot with a sizzling garlic vinaigrette, or a meltingly tender rolled lamb breast a la plancha. Dinner for two $80.



50 Best New U.S. Restaurants
<center>50 Best New U.S. Restaurants</center>

Teshira Nobie

New York City: Gottino

Don’t go home just yet—you’ll miss out on the Big Apple’s ever-flourishing late-night counter culture. After 10 p.m. is a perfect time to visit the otherwise impossibly crowded Gottino, an Italian gastroteca famous among food cognoscenti for such simpatico nibbles as cotechino sausage–stuffed apples and rabbit pot pie served behind its handsome long marble bar. Snacks for two $40.



50 Best New U.S. Restaurants

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