Momofuku Ssäm Bar
With a mile-long list of accolades and awards—and even longer waits for stools at his East Village dining bars—the Korean-American cook David Chang is New York's favorite chef du jour. First he grabbed headlines with Momofuku Noodle Bar, turning New Yorkers into a bunch of "rameniacs." The equally streamlined and passion-inducing Momofuku Ssäm Bar serves lunch boxes with steamed pork buns or Bib Bim Bap and dazzles diners at night with boldly flavorful dishes composed from the best American heirloom produce zapped with Asian accents of kimchi, ginger, and chiles. It shines with its degustation of cured American hams; oysters in kimchi consommé; and grilled lemongrass pork sausage. You eat all this squeezed between fellow diners behind a crowded counter, watching steaming plates emerge from the kitchen.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.