Muscadine, the year old Southern brunch destination has made the list of Esquire magazine’s Best New Restaurants in America. The restaurant won for “Best Southern Food in the North”. If you are from the south, Muscadine will make you feel right at home with menu items such as beignets, red eye ham, andouille omelette, biscuits+gravy, fried catfish and more.
Muscadine is closed from October 12th to the 21st, while they attend a symposium; what timing. It’s located at 1465 NE Prescott St, Portland, OR 97211. (503) 841-5576
Chef Laura Rhoman, an eighth-generation native of Tupelo, Mississippi, has conjured more than a shrine to the South. The creamed corn from a Portland farmers’ market is fresh and crunchy. Shipments of grits and Sea Island red peas from Anson Mills in South Carolina close the miles between the chef and her culinary heritage and defy the sacrosanct locavore affectations of her fellow restaurateurs. Muscadine serves only breakfast and lunch, and with food this good, that can be a cruel thing.
The bulk of the list was picked by Portland food writer Josh Ozersky, who died earlier this year. Here is the full press release:
NEW YORK, NY (October 13, 2015) – As it has each year for more than 30 years, Esquire unveils its annual list of the Best New Restaurants in America in its November issue, on newsstands October 20th. This list was largely selected by the late Esquire Food Correspondent Josh Ozersky. Since his untimely passing in May, other Esquire editors and a selection of food and restaurant writers from around the country weighed in to describe the unique charms and attributes of this year’s honorees. This year’s Restaurant of the Year is Shaya, an Israeli restaurant in New Orleans. And Esquire’s Chef of the Year is Ray Garcia of Los Angeles’s B.S. Taqueria and Broken Spanish.
Ted Allen, the host of Chopped and a longtime contributor to Esquire, wrote the introduction in Ozersky’s honor. In it, he writes that a “New Food Order” is emerging amidst the country’s complex cultural shifts. He says: “…[A]fter a decade of tatt-sleeved male chefs whose primary concern was building empires rather than flavors, we are entering a new era of collaboration and cooperation that focuses more on cooking and less on big-swinging solo-artist brand development.”
RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR:
Shaya, New Orleans, LA – Chefs John Besh and Alon Shaya have transformed the restaurant scene in New Orleans by honing in on the culinary trends that came out of that city 30 years ago. Shaya brings food born in the desert to a city born in the swamps. Shaya captures the essence of traditional Israeli food while simultaneously breaking the mold.
CHEF OF THE YEAR:
Ray Garcia, Los Angeles, CA – Chef Ray Garcia has elevated the Mexican-food situation in Los Angeles. At B.S. Taqueria, Garcia launched a modern Mexican restaurant informed by his own Los Angeles Mexican-American upbringing, with meat and produce sourced from small family farms. After you taste the tostada, order a plate of mushrooms tossed in a black-garlic sauce with chile de arbol and set over a grilled masa cake, familiar yet brand-new. At Broken Spanish, which he opened less than 90 days after B.S. Taqueria, you have not lived until you’ve listened to “Hang On Sloopy” in Spanish while tasting his take on the traditional Mexican dish camote, a sweet potato poached in sugarcane water with pig snout and tail.
THE OTHER BEST NEW RESTAURANTS ARE (listed by city):
Townsman, Boston, MA – Chef Matt Jennings has perfected the taste of New England food. A meal starts off with simple brown bread, a dense chowder sponge. Next, partake of oysters swimming in brine, ribbons of cured ham, headcheese, and a marvelous blood-sausage mortadella, a nod to Boston’s Irish and Italian heritage. From a summer-squash fritter to bluefish pate and from crab claws to foie gras with blueberries, Townsman truly is a land of plenty.
Dolo Restaurant and Bar, Chicago, IL – A flamboyant Cantonese take on food and decor more reminiscent of a scene in Cocktail doesn’t prepare you for the unique seafood menu. Dungeness crabs are plucked from a tank within eyeshot and arrive minutes later. The short ribs are served flambé with brandy at the table.
The Duck Inn, Chicago, IL – Chef Kevin Hickey grew up nearby and traveled the world before buying and renaming the Gem-Bar Lounge. The back patio is where you want to be, with the rotisserie duck for two, heaped on a platter with duck-fat potatoes.
Momotaro, Chicago, IL – One story evokes a midcentury Japanese workspace, while the basement gives off the glow of the Yokohama entertainment district. Chef Mark Hellyar’s talent has wrought a tartare from the dehydrated and rehydrated tomatoes that’s a ringer for beef, and rollmops of binchotan-grilled wagyu beef and foie gras.
Jockey Hollow, Morristown, NJ – Restaurateur Chris Cannon has created a culinary multiplex under one vast palazzo roof in a town that hasn’t seen much action since the Revolutionary War. Up the twin marble staircase, you have a four- or six-course menu served in what was once an oligarch’s parlor; the main floor has a cocktail lounge and oyster bar. Also, you will find a German beer hall, the Rathskeller. Cannon has filled the area with paintings, photos, and sculptures that he commissioned, veering from Dada to abstract to The-Hell-If-I-Know. In truth, it’s totally nuts, and it’s wonderful.
Little Park, New York, NY – Andrew Carmellini’s seasonal American restaurant in Tribeca allows one to indulge with bread, cured salmon, beet risotto, duck, strawberry shortcake, and rosé.
Mountain Bird, New York, NY – The late Josh Ozersky would have loved the new tiny, glowing Mountain Bird on 110th and Second Avenue in Harlem, with its new full bar and head-to-toe bird menu, the very same one that he had so fully embraced when it was located on an uninviting stretch of 145th Street.
Santina, New York, NY – Mario Carbone and Rich Torisi’s Italian restaurant in the Meatpacking district offers delectable menu options that include fried artichokes and grapes, lime meringue, and avocado cecina, a buttery chickpea crepe with Italian guacamole.
Shuko, New York, NY – Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau’s tiny Japanese restaurant in the Village makes its name with wagyu, rabbit, toro, caviar, sushi, tuna and apple pie.
Muscadine, Portland, OR – Chef Laura Rhoman, an eighth-generation native of Tupelo, Mississippi, has conjured more than a shrine to the South. The creamed corn from a Portland farmers’ market is fresh and crunchy. Shipments of grits and Sea Island red peas from Anson Mills in South Carolina close the miles between the chef and her culinary heritage and defy the sacrosanct locavore affectations of her fellow restaurateurs. Muscadine serves only breakfast and lunch, and with food this good, that can be a cruel thing.
The Progress, San Francisco, CA – Couple-owners Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski have quietly ascended, and it’s a low-fi win for the humble. It’s not as if they’re invisible – in 2013, their next-door sibling State Bird Provisions got the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. But in an age where a leading group of chefs, all male, has risen to rapper heights, the smallest of perfect gestures from a team of collaborators rather than the colossal ego stroke of solo ambition is something you can taste in Brioza and Krasinski’s food. The Progress feels like a large-scale pop-up in which the cooks aren’t forcing submission to any formal experience but rather floating experimental dishes.
The Grey, Savannah, GA – Growing up in Queens, New York, Chef Mashama Bailey spent her summers in Georgia where she developed a love for soul food. The Grey melds history of the Jim Crow-era with modern southern food. Shying away from the cliches of the Savannah dining scene, Chef Bailey’s collards are fragrant with pecan smoke, camped out over low-burning embers and they arrive with a sidecar of serrano pickling vinegar. Her roasted chicken is crowned with a turmeric sauce and currant and green pepper relish, a classic Savannah dish of curried chicken and rice that stems directly from the spice trade. Bailey has created a modern restaurant that reckons with the past without being haunted by it – no small feat in a city that sells its ghosts every night for $17 (hearse ride included).
AND, FINALLY, WHERE TO EAT IN LOS ANGELES, According to Veronica Rogov (the only person Josh Ozersky trusted for L.A. recommendations)
Broken Spanish – Chef of the Year Ray Garcia’s food is served along with a cocktail program by Michael Lay, one of the best beverage directors in the city.
Nicole Rucker’s Doughnuts at Cofax Coffee – Rucker recently became a partner and collaborates with local tastemakers to capture LA.
Gjusta – This is Travis Lett’s new spot, where an army of cooks makes an entire “orchestra of delectables.”
For more information on Esquire’s 2015 Best New Restaurants, please click here.
Esquire (www.esquire.com), published by Hearst Magazines, is the most-honored monthly magazine in America. Over the past 15 years, it has won a total of 16 National Magazine Awards. Its Web site and e-reader applications have been similarly honored—Esquire won the first-ever National Magazine Award for iPad applications. In addition to its U.S. flagship, Esquire publishes 27 editions around the world. Follow Esquire on Twitter at @Esquiremag.