Travel Newsstand for Jan. 11-25, 2018
HOME    E-MAIL JOE    PRINT    2017 COLUMNS     ARCHIVES     SEARCH    LOG OUT
Read all about it! Local critics pick the best new restaurants in 17 hub cities. Expect new-wave ethnic choices in unexpected places. What's out in 2018? Power lunches, sit-down dinners and pour-over coffee. What's in? All-day dining menus. Meanwhile, a major critic rates big chain restaurants. And much more to, er, chew on.

Where the Elite Will Meet to Eat on the Road This Year
You know what they say: Armies travel on their stomachs. And the armies of business travelers crisscrossing the country travel on their collective stomach. While airport dining has improved immensely over the years, it's still city-side restaurants that tickle our taste buds. Sure, there are apps and Yelp to tell us where to eat when we hit the next town, but it always helps to know what locals say. Here's a look at what top critics have said about dining in the biggest U.S. hub cities:
      ATLANTA food editors couldn't agree on much, according to Eater Atlanta. But three of the five editors surveyed mentioned Bís Crackliní Barbeque and seemed to agree that it is now the best in town.
      BOSTON welcomed at least 25 notable new places in 2017, according to Boston Magazine. How can you hate a place called Mooncusser Fish House (No. 19) or ignore a Lebanese-Moroccan place (Moona, No. 12)? Meanwhile, the best new place in town, Cafe du Pays, is French-Canadian.
      CHARLOTTE is enthralled with small-bites places and booze tastings, if the Zagat-inspired list in Charlotte Stories is to be believed. Not to mention schizophrenic. The top two places in town are a sushi bar--and a steak house.
      CHICAGO, it should not surprise you, placed a pizzeria atop Thrillist's best new restaurant list. But what will surprise you is that it's Bonci, the first U.S. pizzeria fronted by Gabriele Bonci, Rome's pizza al taglio maestro of the moment.
      DALLAS/FORT WORTH has a new cafe from celebrity chefs Stephen Rogers and Allison Yoder and their Sachet was tabbed as restaurant of the year by D Magazine. And when a small-plates Mediterranean spot outscores the wonderful taco joints and new steakhouses, you know it must be intriguing.
      DENVER and its surrounding area have a range of new favorites, says the Denver Post. That includes Lazo (above), which makes inexpensive empanadas from Argentinean dough that has defeated the difficulty of doing flaky pastry in Denver's high, dry climate.
      DETROIT can now boast a killer whitefish sandwich, lobster udon and slow-cooked Parisian ham. They are among the best new dishes eaten by Detroit Free Press critic Mark Kurlyandchik.
      HOUSTON has so many noteworthy new restaurants that the Houston Chronicle put a dozen restaurants on its "top ten" list. One of the best? Riel from executive chef Ryan Lachaine, who "brings his Manitoba and Ukrainian heritage to bear on contemporary Gulf Coast ideas and ingredients."
      LOS ANGELES may be the best food town in America now and its sprawling geographic and culinary experiences are reflected in the ten best list offered by Los Angeles magazine. So there's Italian, Israeli, Peruvian, Japanese and many more options.
      MIAMI is not just about Cuban cuisine anymore as you can infer from the context of TimeOut Miami's best new restaurants list. Top of the heap? Ghee Indian Kitchen, which skews high end, grows many of its own ingredients and has two outposts in Metro Miami.
      MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL got off to a very rough start in 2017 with several beloved restaurants closing, opines Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine. But its critics still found more than two dozen new places worth visiting. They favored restaurants that were "authentically Japanese and faithfully St. Paul."
      NEW YORK dining always skews classic European or obscure ethnic and that dichotomy is reflected in the choices made by the chief critic of The New York Times. Pete Wells' winner was the Continental restaurant that replaced the iconic Four Seasons, but rest of the best was studded with cuisine from China's Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, Mexico, Uruguay, Korea and Thailand.
      PHILADELPHIA has a more diverse dining scene than visitors see and an array of tastes dominated the Philadelphia Inquirer list of hottest restaurant openings. Most notable? A Middle Eastern marketplace in the Fishtown neighborhood, several Italian places and a surprising number of interesting choices in the suburban malls.
      PHOENIX may be best-known for Mexican-inspired dining, but the Arizona Republic best-of list includes plenty of alternatives. The new-wave Sichuan dishes at Original Cuisine in Mesa are standouts.
      SAN FRANCISCO has seen a resurgence of hotel dining, says San Francisco Chronicle critic Michael Bauer. Yet his best new places in the Bay Area are not situated in hotels. They include modern Indian, Sichuan and Japanese omakase restaurants. Hottest new place in the area? A Mano (left), a moderately priced Italian cafe.
      SEATTLE/TACOMA may be home to two airline hubs now, but Seattle Magazine settled on only nine best new restaurants. Still, you must admire a review that warns you that one of the chosen places "only make[s] coffee on the weekends ... so caffeinate before arriving."
      WASHINGTON restaurants of note sprawl over two states and so does Eater's choice of 15 best new places in the region. Perhaps most interesting: Little Pearl, a genre-bending creation of Aaron Silverman, a chef with two Michelin stars. The mash-up on Pennsylvania Avenue is a coffee-and-pastry shop by day and a food-driven wine bar at night.

Tight Connections (Food Division) ...
      Dishing on dishes Bloomberg food editor Kate Krader recalls her favorite dishes of the last year. They include an apple "cluster" in Fargo, North Dakota, Arctic char nestled in a honeycomb in Vienna and Tennessee-style hot fried chicken in Minneapolis.
      Time to dine Biggest trend in dining this year? All-day menus will replace power lunches and sit-down dinners, says the The Wall Street Journal.
      Pouting over poutine Canada is so laid-back that the The New York Times says one of the few things they argue about is poutine. The disagreement? Quebec residents say it's their unique dish, not a pan-Canadian specialty.
      So over pour-over The pour-over coffee craze is dying out, a victim of high cost, long brewing time and bad baristas. Taking its place? Automated pour-over devices that are faster, cheaper and more accurate brewers than humans.
      The food chain What's the nation's "best" chain restaurant? Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema visited ten big chains three times each and has a verdict. -- Joe Brancatelli

This column is Copyright © 2018 by Joe Brancatelli. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright © 2018 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved. All of the opinions and material in this column are the sole property and responsibility of Joe Brancatelli. This material may not be reproduced in any form without his express written permission.