It’s lunchtime in Tel Aviv. The banged-up Bauhaus buildings of the White City district are full, the bar trade lively.
Behind a curved glass-and-steel façade—buzzing café tables on a sunny street, South Beach on the eastern Mediterranean—the chef, Meir Adoni, is describing a brand of influence-rich, ingredient-agnostic, genre-busting, adrenalized cooking that doesn’t sound anything like what you’d expect from Israeli cuisine until you arrive here and step away from the hummus stand your cousin told you about and stop filling yourself from the bounteous salad stations of resort hotels and start saying yes to chefs bearing brain sandwiches.
Well, we called it - René Redzepi's Noma reclaimed first place this year at the prestigious World's Best Restaurants awards. Noma first received the honor in 2010 and held steady through 2012, but came in second last year to Spain's El Celler de Can Roca, which retreated to second place in this year's rankings. T+L's Adam Sachs recently caught up with the revered chef in New York City.
A pocket-size mutt stares intently up at René Redzepi through the window of Tacos Morelos, a four-table taqueria in New York’s East Village. We’ve over-ordered—tongue tacos and fish tacos and house-made tortillas folded around a stewy, soft thing called suadero. This might seem an unlikely place to lunch with the charming forager, chef of Copenhagen’s Noma, chief progenitor of the New Nordic style, and accidental ringleader for a generation of international chef dudes. But René Redzepi is really into tacos. Enough so that his next venture will be helping Noma’s sous-chef, Rosio Sanchez, open a new taco shop in Copenhagen called Hija de Sanchez. (Yes, there are Mexican restaurants in Copenhagen. No, they’re not any good. “You’ve got Danish students in sombreros serving you,” Redzepi says, sadly. “You want to punch them.”)