This evening, Esquire unleashed its list of the Best New Restaurants of 2014, giving top billing to New York City restaurant the Cecil, in what Eater NY called a "surprising choice" by newish restaurant editor/meat-lover/tweezer-food-hater Josh Ozersky. This is the first "Best Restaurants" list to be published under Ozersky's guidance; he took over the role of restaurant-focused editor-at-large from longtime editor John Mariani, who had curated the "Best Restaurants" list for the past 30 years.
In an interview with Food Republic, Ozersky said the new list reflected a change in approach — it's now part of Esquire's American Food And Drink Awards — and taste. "There are selections on our list, even in this first year, that you might have not have seen under John's stewardship," Ozersky told FR, emphasizing a move toward more casual restaurants. As to be expected, some of Ozersky's meaty proclivities emerge: Dallas steakhouse Knife makes the cut, as does Sean Brock's Nashville location of Husk and LA's Faith & Flower. But there are a few surprises: Richmond oyster restaurant Rappahannock (run by the "nordinately skilled and ambitious" chef Dylan Fultineer) and Brooklyn's Take Root (which serves "serves tiny portions on big plates") also make the list.
Meanwhile, chef Paul Qui (Qui, Austin) has been named Chef of the Year (Ozersky calls him a "true sui generis talent"); he bests chefs like Chad Colby, April Bloomfield, and Kevin Gillespie, whose restaurants all made the top 12. Chicken pot pie, exemplified by the version at NYC's buzzy NoMad Bar, has been crowned Dish of the Year, while the state of Virginia is proclaimed Region of the Year. Here now, the list in full:
· Chi Spacca (Los Angeles)
· Knife (Dallas)
· Gunshow (Atlanta)
· Husk (Nashville)
· Faith & Flower (Los Angeles)
· Cask & Larder (Winter Park, Florida)
· Rappahannock (Richmond)
· Nico Osteria (Chicago)
· The Commissary (San Francisco)
· Take Root (Brooklyn)
· Tosca Cafe (San Francisco)