2013 Best New Restaurants
We rounded up the best new dishes, drinks, and dining experiences that 2013 had to offer. Bon Appetit!
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Twin Cities Chefs Pick their Best Meals of 2013
John Kraus of Patisserie 46
This past January I went home to Paducah, Kentucky. In my quest for great barbeque, I always go back to the standard: a $3 pulled pork shoulder sandwich on Bunny bread. Starnes Barbecue hasn’t changed since I was a kid, and the ordering is simple: pork, beef, turkey, or ham. I always opt for the pork. It’s smoked slowly over hickory with salt and pepper about ten feet from where you sit at the Formica counter drinking only RC products or iced tea. The juice from the pork and the vinegar-based sauce creates a memory 40 years in the making. It never disappoints.
Diane Yang of La Belle Vie
It would have to be Piccolo. I’m teaching a class with Doug Flicker and Steven Brown at the U of M on food design. Everyone from the class was there and we all sat in the back. We had everything, but chestnut agnolotti with shredded duck neck, skin, and porcini powder was my favorite. I really love crispy skin.
Sarah Master of Barbette
My husband and I were in St. Lucia celebrating our 10-year anniversary, and we heard about this shack on the beach that was serving up some delicious fresh fish, caught same-day, served up with a little side of attitude from Miss Marie, the owner of the place. We found it tucked off in the trees at the end of the beach and I have to say, I didn’t expect much when I saw the place. It really was a shack: no stove, only a pile of coals in a clay pot on a table and a grill out back. Miss Marie made a curried lentil dal with the typical spicy St. Lucian hot sauce, grilled mackerel marinated in some soy, simple greens and tomato salad, and these fried bread dumplings that were just killer. They were a little salty, a little sweet, hot, chewy, amazing—like a St. Lucian beignet. I ate mine, my husband’s, and begged Marie for the recipe. She said I couldn’t have the recipe, but if I came back the next day, and she had enough flour left over, she’d show me how to make them. So the next day I sat at her counter drinking Piton Lager until she was ready to put up with me in her kitchen. I kneaded the dough, portioned it out with her watching me like a hawk, and fried it in a pan of oil perched over the coals. She was impressed when I pulled them out of the oil with my bare fingers (I was never so happy to show off my “kitchen hands”). Mine weren’t as delicious as hers, but I think she was proud of me. And the dumplings sold out in less than five minutes. What an experience.
Jim Grell of Modern Cafe
In February, [local chef] Mike Phillips and I went on a road trip to Louisville, Kentucky, for the Cyclo-cross Worlds. In Chicago, our first stop was at Big Star Taco: loads of chorizo, carnitas, and salsa verde. Next stop, The Publican and a charcuterie plate that had a very memorable pork pie. We enjoyed a small plate of battered sweet breads with five-spice honey. Then a straw-smoked ham chop and Swiss chard. Wow, good eats!
Paul Berglund of The Bachelor Farmer
At Joe Beef in Montreal, the meal was wonderful, but I can’t stop thinking about the Parc Vinet salad they harvest to order. They make their own cider vinegar and the salad is nothing more than leaves and herbs from their garden. So many simple touches highlighted how important small details are to truly great food.
Jack Riebel of Butcher and the Boar
I suppose it’s cliché to say Le Bernardin when I was at the [James] Beard Awards. No, the best meal was at Amasia in Maui. Chef Chris Damskey, you know, he’s a Minneapolis guy? We had moi [a Hawaiian fish] with young ginger gelée and citrus with white soy. Beautiful food and restaurant—absolutely stunning.
Jamie Malone of Sea Change
I had an incredible meal at Next in Chicago this past September. The menu was inspired by the Bocuse d’Or cooking competition and Paul Bocuse himself. Surprisingly, the non-alcoholic beverage pairings were the most memorable part! My favorite was a peanut soda paired with a ham terrine.
Tanya Siebenaler of Sapor
I loved Copper Pot in downtown Minneapolis—Indian cuisine is one of my favorites. They had this lentil black dahl dish that was so good, but the best was this bread they cooked on a griddle, stuffed with onions and cheese. I’ve never had it before, but it was kind of like a gourmet quesadilla.
Christina Nguyen and Birk Stefan Grudem of Hola Arepa
Banh Xeo 46A in Saigon serves its specialty [rice-flour pancakes] fried crispy and thin and packed with herbs: cilantro, mint, and something that smelled like wet dog, but tasted really good. They’re cooked over fire on six burners by four different women and eaten outdoors. We ate banh xeo all over Vietnam, but none were as good as those.
Thomas Kim of The Left Handed Cook and The Rabbit Hole
That foie at Cafe Boulud. Oh, yeah, Chef Gavin Kaysen did a play on textures that was everything that makes foie so good. It was creamy, minerally, super rich with a tarragon macaroon cookie. The flavors were insane. Salty, sour, sweet, creamy—so good.
- Shiso leaves
- Growing your own
- Honey shops
- Backyard pigs
- Midwestern Modern
- Ginger Beer
- Fresh chickpeas
- Harvest-to-order salads
- Foraging wild mushrooms
- Backyard bees
- Pizza farms
- Homemade bitters
- Sustainable seafood
- Shisito peppers
- New Nordic
- Sunday suppers served family-style
- Craft distilling
- Pickled veggies
- Kickstarted food businesses
- Cask ale
- Food truck concepts going brick-and-mortar
- Upgraded concessions at sporting events, movie theaters, airports, and parks
PAST ITS PRIME
- Pork belly
- Backyard chickens
- Put a soft-cooked egg on it
- Asian Fusion
- Naming your restaurant “social”
- 7 p.m. Friday night
- Every neighborhood bar having 16-plus beer taps