This month, Esquire released its 27th annual Best New Restaurant List, and (not surprisingly) San Francisco cleaned up.
Not only did the Bay Area nab four awards, San Francisco's Michael Mina took home the coveted national Restaurant of the Year award. Not too shabby.
China Basin's 25 Lusk was granted the Design of the Year award, but it also gained an A for service when Esquire writer John Mariani prank called the hostess, explained that his goldfish had died (hostess: "Oh I'm sorry to hear that") and requested that the chef prepare the dead fish for him to eat at the restaurant. The hostess politely put him on hold to ask the chef, before explaining that the restaurant unfortunately could not prepare the fish due to health code limitations. Mariani also called an unsuspecting restaurant in Boston and asked where, inside the dining room, he could store his prized falcon. (As in the bird.)
But shenanigans aside, multiple recognitions from the prestigious list sends a clear message to San Francisco: Keep on doing what you're doing.
Check out all of the Bay Area winners in our slideshow below:
"He has built an empire of mostly high-end restaurants from Atlantic City to Vegas, a rampant expansionism that made me lose interest in him as a working chef," wrote Esquire's John Mariani about Michael Mina. "So Mina's return to his roots, at this stylish namesake where he swears he'll be cooking most of the time, was promising news." And, according to Mariani, Mina lives up to the hype, earning his new project the magazine's Restaurant of the Year award. Mariani was so impressed with the meal that he concluded with surprisingly high praise: "If Mina is there the night you visit, you'll have one of the great meals of your life by an American master." Photo courtesy of Flickr: Financial Times photos
Michael Tusk's Cotogna made the cut as one of Esquire's Best New Restaurants and it's no wonder why. The three course tasting menu (Tuesday's featured toasted hazelnut sunchokes, tagliatelle bolognese and and pluot and almond crostata) goes for a rent-friendly $24. And as Mariani wrote, "Cotogna is more rustic and downright chummy...You'd swear Tusk learned all this from his Italian grandmother." Photo courtesy of Flickr: CozySF
All Spice's Chef Sachin Chopra was named one of four "Chefs To Watch" in the nation. The former Sakoon chef has been drawing diners south since the restaurant's opening in San Mateo late last year. According to Esquire, "Chopra marries a northern-Cal sensibility to Indian food culture with dazzling, novel results."
Mariani was so impressed with the work of 25 Lusk's Matthew Dolan and Chad Bourdon and CCS Architects's on the remodel of the China Basin meatpacking building, he awarded 25 Lusk the Design of the Year award. Fortunately, he was just as impressed with the food: "Dolan's food has the same balance of expansive ideas and simple good taste...Perfect would be the word."