The secret to owner-chef Sam Hayward’s success is his honest, earthbound cooking. And his temple to simply prepared food is Fore Street—a cavernous warehouse space that miraculously manages to feel homey, thanks to old barn wood, worn leather booths, and an all-around lived-in patina. Hayward, whose career has mushroomed in recent years due to a string of prestigious accolades (including a James Beard Award in 2004), avoids fancy menu terms like “sous vide” and teetering architectural presentations. Instead, everything is cooked—real time—for diners in an open, glassed-in kitchen, and often plated naked. It’s a bit of culinary theater, complete with smoke, flames, and wildly delicious scents wafting from the applewood grill. Much of the menu changes daily, but the big crowd-pleasers, like the wood oven–roasted mussels appetizer, are mainstays. Pretty much anything roasted or grilled is aces, and desserts, like house-churned ice cream made with milk and seasonal berries from farms just up the road, are top-notch, too. If there’s one drawback at Fore Street, it’s the acoustics; request a corner table to avoid the din.
Insider Tip: The restaurant keeps a handful of tables available every night for walk-ins.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.