NEW YORK: Cosme
Chef: Enrique Olvera
The New York Times critic Pete Wells takes on the much-hyped Cosme in the Flatiron District, declaring it a standout amongst the pseudo-Mexican cuisine revival currently sweeping the city. It helps that chef Enrique Olvera is actually from Mexico: "Almost everything you taste at Cosme seems new without being forced or mannered. It isn't the kind of Mexican cooking that can be learned on a vacation," declares Wells. Three stars.
NEW YORK: Shuko
Chefs: Nick Kim & Jimmy Lau
Eater NY's Ryan Sutton says "Shuko isn't just one of New York's most exciting new Japanese restaurants - it's one of the most expensive ones as well." With dinner for two clocking in at nearly $600, the rice is sometimes less than superb, but "thought provoking preparations with pristine fish" make up for it. Three stars.
NEW YORK: Marta
Chef: Nick Anderer
The Insatiable Critic Gael Greene hits up Danny Meyer's latest hot spot in NoMad. She's not too pleased with having to wait 20 minutes for a reservation, but shaved white truffles ("a $60 gift of apology") soothe any annoyance, as do the "unusually scorched, piggy, fatty, chewy and delicious" grilled pork ribs. "Marta's is now my favorite pizza," Greene declares.
NEW YORK: Santina
Chef: Mario Carbone
Joshua David Stein of the New York Observer weighs in on the latest venture from the team behind heavy-hitters Carbone and Parm located underneath the High Line. "Seducing the daily diners, Mr. Carbone has leavened traditional classics in unexpected ways," says Stein, deeming Santina's coastal Italian fare with North African influences more approachable and affordable than the very pricey Carbone. Four stars.
SAN FRANCISCO: The Progress
Chefs: Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski
The SF Weekly's Anna Roth checks out State Bird Provisions' "more mature sibling." Six courses are served family-style for $65 per person and although "the food here plays it safer than State Bird," there isn't a dud in the bunch. Fried pig ears and pork belly "tossed in a bright mixture of fish sauce, fresh herbs, and lime juice" are a standout, and "desserts are works of art."
SAN FRANCISCO: Huxley
San Francisco Chronicle critic Michael Bauer finds promising young talent and a "youthful vibe" at Huxley in the gritty Tenderloin. The oft-changing menu has a "natural, organic feel," though he wonders how some of the pricier dishes, like a $42 half-rabbit, will go over with the locals. Nonetheless, he thinks the restaurant might just "launch a neighborhood revival."
WASHINGTON DC: DBGB
Chef: Ed Scarpone
Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema reviews the D.C. offshoot of Daniel Boulud's NYC standby DBGB, located in the new CityCenterDC development. Sietsema admits that while at first he was lukewarm on the restaurant, more recent visits found an experience even "more seductive" than the NYC original. The critic was especially impressed by the chef's efforts with seafood and poultry, declaring that "there's no finer coq au vin in town right now."
Eater's roving critic Bill Addison weighs in on a whopping eight Miami restaurants. His finds include a standout riff on the classic Cubano sandwich loaded up with pork belly rillettes and pickled mustard seeds at Little Bread Sandwich Co., Puerto Rican fare with "cheffy finesse" at Jimmy'z Kitchen, classic Haitian cuisine at Tap Tap, and a "15-course tasting menu that recall[s] the sillier facets of U.S. molecular gastronomy madness from a decade ago" at the just-opened Cielo.
NEW ORLEANS: Johnny Sánchez
Chefs: Aáron Sánchez, John Besh, Miles Landrem
Critic Ian McNulty of The New Orleans Advocate checks out the Central Business District venture from chefs Sánchez and Besh, where they "[treat] Mexican flavors to the same mix of reverence and reinterpretation we've seen applied to Italian, French and even Vietnamese cuisines at other contemporary, chef-led restaurants." Tacos "tend to overreach" with too many ingredients, but other dishes like enchiladas and a beef tartare tostada impress. Bonus: grasshoppers (AKA chapulines) can be added to guacamole for just a buck.
DALLAS: Stephan Pyles
Chef: J Chastain
Dallas Morning News critic Leslie Brenner re-reviewed the downtown flagship restaurant of iconic Southwestern chef Stephan Pyles. Says Brenner: "After several years of ups and downs, Pyles' namesake restaurant is re-establishing itself as a culinary showplace" thanks in no small part to 34-year-old executive chef J Chastain, formerly of the Mansion on Turtle Creek. Four stars.