Here are the 10 new restaurants that Bon Appetit magazine singled out for recognition in 2011. We've included a story for each destination to help you get started planning.
This lowcountry spot is both innovative and old-fashioned: there's always some sort of fried comfort food on the daily menu, but it's fried with a twist. The chef might use benne (sesame) seeds, or steam clams in beer and serve the broth.
2. Mission Chinese Food
San Francisco, CA
This restaurant, specializing in spicy and flavorful Sichauan regional cuisine, got its start as a food truck. Try the sweet and sour dumplings or the cumin lamb belly.
3. The Walrus and the Carpenter
This elegantly-appointed spot features nearly a dozen varieties of local oysters as well as an extensive seafood menu. Landlubbers will enjoy the house-cured ham or steak tartare.
4. Travail Kitchen and Amusements
With a selection of house-cured meats and a 10-course tasting menu for two for $70, Travail adapts molecular gastronomy for the Land of Lakes.
The Korean-influenced dishes at this Windy City eatery won't alarm meat and potatoes-eaters or bore finicky gourmands. Try the olive oil-poached halibut with kimchi and bacon, or the pork loin rubbed with coffee-chili salt.
6. Talula's Garden
This restaurant focuses on pared-down dishes made with the freshest possible ingredients. The restaurant has a separate cheese menu with several carefully curated cheese plates to share.
7. Son of a Gun
Los Angeles, CA
The two Florida transplants behind this restaurant have brought their unique take on seafood to the big city. The menu changes daily, and features rarities like alligator schnitzel and octopus confit salad.
8. M. Wells
New York, NY
Located in the recently fashionable Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, this eatery reinvents diner cuisine with dishes like General Tso's sweetbreads and escargot and bone marrow.
This downtown restaurant serves upscale comfort food in an elegant, understated atmosphere. Both the standard three-course menu and seven-course tasting menu change daily.
This family-run restaurant specializes in sustainable cuisine: fresh fish and pasture-raised meat are stars of the menu, as is the homemade bread.
Source: Bon Appetit