Estela's Thomas Carter shares fantastic sparkling rosé pairings that show why this style of wine is incredibly versatile and food-friendly. Read more >
Chef Grant Achatz. Photo courtesy Ethan Hill.
A few weeks back, molecular master Grant Achatz Twitter-teased the forthcoming theme at Next, his tickets-only Chicago restaurant. Now he’s given Food & Wine the scoop on the new menu, called Chicago Steakhouse, which debuts the first week in January. It will be a nostalgic throwback to the Mad Men era of big meat dining. “We’re going really traditional,” he says, “looking to revive the spirit of the old steak house. We want to transport people back in time and show them what it was really like to eat in the early 1950s, when a steak house was almost more of a club, with individual wine cellars and cigars.” He’ll be riffing on old-school classics like the iceberg wedge salad, oysters Rockefeller, creamed spinach and baked Alaska—using a wine press, for example, to extract juice from bones for bordelaise sauce, and poaching lobster meat sous vide for lobster Thermidor. The room will also reflect the era as much as possible, down to vintage china, elaborate candles and white linen tablecloths. “We don’t want to make it too dusty,” Achatz says, “but we want to hearken back to that period of over-the-top indulgence.” Tickets will be sold after Thanksgiving at nextrestaurant.com.
Rôtisserie Georgette’s Owner on Priceless Tips from Daniel Boulud and Eerily Beautiful Portuguese Tiles
As a born-and-reared New Yorker, Georgette Farkas knew immediately where she wanted to open her first restaurant: Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Rôtisserie Georgette, slated to open mid-November, boasts a menu full of roast meats, luscious sides and classic French desserts. Farkas, who spent years cooking professionally before she became Daniel Boulud’s public relations and marketing director in 1995, oversaw the entire design and construction of the restaurant. For her first solo venture, she brought back antique finds from France, scoured estate sales and unearthed hand-painted azulejo tiles from her parents’ travels. Read on for Farkas’s inspiration, design process and what she learned from Boulud. Read more >
Chef Gerard Craft. Photo courtesy of Greg Rannells Photography.
As the World Series heats up between the Red Sox and the Cardinals, baseball fans can drink and eat their nerves away at some fantastic local restaurants. Empire builder Barbara Lynch has shared her favorite spots in Boston. Here, chef Gerard Craft —whose restaurantPastaria often hosts Cardinals players—divulges his hit list for the St. Louis area. Read more >
San Francisco’s 2014 Michelin Guide ratings are in, and the single newly-starred restaurant is Best New Chef All-Star Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski’s State Bird Provisions. The much-adored restaurant, which serves inventive small plates from roving dim sum carts, reopened just this weekend after 9-month remodel that expanded seating, refined the décor and added a stand-up oyster bar. “This is the more evolved, totally realized version,” Brioza says of the revamp, a collaboration with designer Wylie Price. One of Brioza's favorite details is a sleek, art-deco front door with a massive chrome handle salvaged from the space next door, where he and Krasinkski are planning to build an ambitious, multi-level restaurant called The Progress.
These Midwestern chefs are taking the homey foods of their childhood and modernizing them with spices and progressive techniques.
Butcher & the Boar (Minneapolis)
The Inspiration: Living in St. Paul, a city with a big German population, chef Jack Riebel ate lots of pan-fried pork chops with applesauce.
The Update: Riebel replaces chops with pork sausage and makes a sweet-tart sauce with hard cider, cider vinegar and pureed apples.
Rye (Leawood, KS)
The Inspiration: "Growing up in Kansas City in the 1970s, fried chicken was everywhere," says chef Colby Garrelts. "And then it just disappeared."
The Update: His fried chicken takes three days, starting with brining and ending with a baking powder-spiked batter for an extra-crispy crust.
The Inspiration: Chef Daniel Wright loves hot dogs with sauerkraut: "This area is known for sausages and hot dogs. We have access to incredible meat."
The Update: Wright puts a Korean spin on his beef hot dog, topping it with homemade kimchi, braised short rib and pickled cucumbers.
The revered locavore restaurant loosens up with late-night steak frites.
One of the more tantalizing anecdotes about Chez Panisse in the mid-1970s (alongside all the sex and drugs and wine-soaked feasting with everybody from James Beard to Jean-Luc Godard) has always been the late-night steak menu that lasted for a few months in 1974. "There was no place to eat late in Berkeley, and it drove me crazy," says owner Alice Waters, who remembers driving all the way to San Francisco's old Vanessi's after work for steak frites. Her solution, bringing in a cook to grill New York strips after the regular staff went home, lost so much money that she banished it to the realm of nostalgia—until last winter. A few months later, when a fire gutted the front of the restaurant, repairs prompted a complete menu redesign, focusing even more attention on the revived late-night steak option.
If a recent Tuesday evening is any indication, bringing back this tradition was a savvy decision. Offered Monday through Thursday, from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. or so (which passes for late-night in Berkeley), this dinner in the upstairs café is an incredible deal. For $25, diners get a glass of house Zinfandel produced by Napa's Green & Red Vineyard and a 100-percent grass-fed steak from rancher Bill Niman, skillet-roasted in the classic French manner, with marrow butter melting on top and red-wine jus pooling all around. On the side are lacy-thin fried potatoes (more shoelace than shoestring) or onion rings, next to extremely tender and tiny watercress or arugula.
At one time, the notion of late-night steak in sleepy, vegetarian-dense Berkeley would have been unthinkable. But now, when you leave Chez Panisse, the streets are filled with post-theater crowds, and the bar next door is roaring, and everything feels just right.
"Where have you been eating lately?" I get this question all the time. And luckily, it's one of my favorites to answer, since I have the opportunity to try the most amazing restaurants around the country. So here's a little update of where I've been recently.
Glen Ellen Star, Sonoma
The wood-roasted dishes at this adorable Sonoma spot are both homey and smart—each has at least one little trick that makes it stand out. Roasted beets are topped with harissa crumble; asparagus comes with spicy lavash. And the wine list is short, well-edited and (surprising for wine country) quite international. glenellenstar.com.
Carbone, New York
It took me a long time to stop fixating on the lacquered blue-green walls in the front room: They're bold, old-school, shiny. Then I moved to the back room, where Uma Thurman was standing on a chair to photograph a friend. Even without the celeb sighting, I'd have loved Carbone for nuanced and delicious dishes like the spicy rigatoni with vodka sauce. carbonenewyork.com.
Calliope, New York
At this small bistro, I had perfectly sautéed local trout with Puy lentils, bacon and walnut vinaigrette, and I reveled in the very Frenchness of it all. calliopenyc.com.
Alder, New York
After 10 years of watching Wylie Dufresne nurture one spectacular restaurant, WD-50, I was excited to try this new venture, which promised to be a gastropub interpretation of his hyper-creative vision. My hands-down favorite dish was the New England clam chowder with "oyster crackers," which was both familiar (it's soup!) and unfamiliar (the crackers are made from oysters). aldernyc.com.
Pêche, New Orleans
I stopped counting after 10: That's how many whole fish I saw waiters carrying out to customers at Donald Link's new restaurant. The whole-animal trend has now been embraced by pescatarians. Two friends and I shared a moist, flavorful grilled redfish with salsa verde. It could have served six! pecherestaurant.com.
Element 47, Aspen
Robert McCormick, chef at The Little Nell hotel's renovated restaurant, makes a broth that is the absolute essence of carrot, pure and fresh, then pours it over carrots prepared several ways—shaved raw, grilled, pickled and roasted. element47aspen.com.
Chefs Club, Aspen
Food & Wine has its own restaurant in Aspen's incredible St. Regis hotel. We serve several dishes from former Best New Chefs, including Missy Robbins, Viet Pham, Jason Franey and Bryant Ng . When I was in town for the F&W Classic in June, I ate through practically the entire menu, which also incorporates dishes by executive chef Didier Elena. I love Bryant's ribs at The Spice Table in L.A., and they were fabulous here, too—spicy, meaty, crisp. chefsclubaspen.com.
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Read more from F&W's September issue on travel and America's best chicken.
Lutèce; courtesy of chef André Soltner (wearing toque).
The legendary New York City French restaurant Lutèce closed in 2004, but it will be reborn for one night only, on April 16, to benefit University Settlement. Alsace native André Soltner—now the dean of classic studies at the International Culinary Center—opened Lutèce in 1961, just as America’s obsession with food and cooking was beginning. “When we opened 50 years ago, there were restaurants that served canned or frozen food. We were very focused on the best ingredients you can get,” remembers the pioneering chef. During his 35 years behind the stove, Soltner’s celebrity and flawless classic French cuisine attracted New York’s glitterati and the country’s most respected food lovers, including Julia Child.
Soltner will bring back the spirit of Lutèce by orchestrating an extravagant French wine dinner of iconic dishes such as seafood en croûte and tournedos Rossini: filet mignon with foie gras and Madeira sauce. The cost for entry to this once-in-a-lifetime reboot (with dessert from Jacques Torres) starts at $3,000, which will aid the University Settlement’s many programs aimed at uplifting low-income families and immigrants through education, decent housing, and improving physical and emotional well being. Tickets here.
For those whose interest in the French classics is piqued, we asked Soltner to describe some of the incredibly complex dishes that wowed guests during his restaurant’s prime. “People nowadays think classic French cuisine was heavy, but when it was done the right way then it was not. It was very tasty,” he says. Click through the slideshow to see the Endangered French Classics.
Chef Matthew Orlando; courtesy of Amass
Food pilgrims have a new reason to visit Copenhagen, land of superstar René Redzepi’s Noma and Christian Puglisi’s Relæ. After more than two years as head chef at Noma, Matthew Orlando, a San Diego native, will debut Amass in a former shipyard in the city’s Refshaleøen district in July.
Tune in on Wednesdays at 10PM ET for Top Chef: Boston, the 12th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.