Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants

By Emmy Lee | Posted on August 13th, 2012

Beasley’s Chicken and Honey

On August 14, Bon Appetit will release the Hot 10 – their picks for the top ten new restaurants of 2012. Andrew Knowlton, the BA’s Foodist, will make this selection, as well as his pick for the top new restaurant in the United States, from a list of 50 restaurants they believe are changing the way Americans eat. Here are a few selections from his round-up that we would love to check out across the United States, as described by Knowlton:

Luce

AQ: 1085 Mission Street,San Francisco, CA, 415-341-9000, aq-sf.com
I could recommend several dishes I ate here in the spring, but by the time you eat here they’ll be gone—the menu (and the decor) changes four times a year, taking seasonality to a new level.
Look For: Soft potato gnocchi; Churchill’s Bane cocktail
We Love: Sitting at the bar or kitchen counter, with a homemade-vermouth cocktail in hand.

Bäco Mercat: 408 South Main Street,Los Angeles, CA, 213-687-8808, bacomercat.com
It all started with a “bäco,” chef Josef Centeno’s irresistible taco/pizza/gyro mashup, but this lively downtown spot quickly became known for much more, from veg-centric small plates to big hunks of grilled meats.
Look For: Blistered okra, Caesar brussels sprouts; 14 oz. shiitake crusted pork chop
We Love: Centeno isn’t just a chef, he’s a D.I.Y. restaurateur who wears many hats: marketer, window washer, and designer.

Balena:
1633 North Halsted Street Chicago, IL, 312-867-3888, balenachicago.com
Many diners at this big, booming Italian restaurant do the pre-dinner thing before heading across the street to the legendary Steppenwolf Theater, but as far as I’m concerned, the real attraction is what’s on the plate.
Look For: Smoked mackerel; mortadella and pistachio pesto pizza
We Love: The amaro-focused cocktail list ranks drinks from 1 to 10 on a bitterness scale.

Battersby: 255 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY, 718-852-8321, battersbybrooklyn.com
I shouldn’t tell you about this tiny neighborhood spot (a few blocks from my house) since it’s already packed, but the duo behind it deserve all the attention they get. How talented are they? Order the kale salad and you’ll see.
Look For: House-made bread with whipped ricotta; sea urchin spaghetti
We Love: There are no reservations, but call ahead and request the tasting menu, and they’ll happily set aside a table for you.

Beasley’s Chicken and Honey: 237 South Wilmington Street Raleigh, NC, 919-322-0127, ac-restaurants.com
The specialty of the house at Ashley Christensen’s casual downtown spot? If you guessed crispy, juicy fried chicken (served with a side of honey), you’re on the right track. Don’t forget the sweet tea.
Look For: Quarter fried chicken with cheddar pimento mac ‘n’ cheese
We Love: The speakeasy-like sister spot Fox Liquor Bar, just downstairs, great for a few shots of another Southern delicacy, whiskey.

Kabuto: 5040 West Spring Mountain Road, Las Vegas, NV, 702-676-1044, kabutolv.com
No trip to Vegas is complete without a meal off the strip—whether that be In-N-Out, Lotus of Siam, or this teeny, super-minimalist 18-seat sushi restaurant. You’ve got two options: a multiple course omakase menu, or a 10-piece nigiri menu. Both showcase pristine, expertly procured fish that’s simply and beautifully prepared.
Look For: The ten-piece nigiri course for $48, including fish like ma-aji (jack mackerel) and renko dai (deep-sea porgy)
We Love: There’s no sign, just the Japanese character for kabuto (which means “samurai helmet”) on the door.

Luce: 2138 East Burnside St.,Portland, OR, 503-236-7195, luceevents.blogspot.com
This is simple, Italian home cooking stripped down to its elemental ingredients (think olive oil, chiles, and pasta) by a husband-and-wife team working a postage stamp-size room.
Look For: Braised chicken with capers; spaghettini with garlic and dried chile
We Love: Diners can buy the curated selection of ingredients and housewares on display.


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