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What I’m Looking For in a ‘Best New Restaurant’

From the Editor: Everything you missed in food news last week

Several dishes take up a tabletop at Kopitiam in New York City.
Kopitiam in NYC

This post originally appeared on July 13, 2019, in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.

This week I was chatting with our restaurant editor Hillary Dixler Canavan about this year’s Best New Restaurants list, a project that she spearheads alongside our city editors and other staffers sprawled across the country. She said that eating at San Antonio restaurant The Jerk Shack felt like being on vacation. It’s a counter service spot near an Army base, serving fiery wings, braised oxtails, and mac and cheese on picnic tables lined with newspaper. Bob Marley blares over the speakers; fans blow toward the patio.

Meanwhile, of another entry to the list, Kentucky’s The Baker’s Table, she wrote the restaurant “invites the midday lazing that defines a vacation’s lunch.”

I just think it’s a lovely way to think about restaurant-going, whether it’s in your town or not. For example, I went to Frenchette, a 2018 Best New Restaurant, last weekend, and the severe heat of the night and the emptiness of the Tribeca streets at 8 p.m. on a Saturday (locals there head to the Hamptons these summer weekends) made me feel like I was on my own little summer sojourn. The campari-gin-lemon-strawberry cocktail over pellet ice didn’t hurt.

That might be my new metric for new spots: Do I feel transported? Can I convince myself, if just for a moment, that I’m stepping outside my normal life? Can it get me out of my head? Or am I drinking some cloudy natural wine, sitting three stools down from the Brooklyn-based food writer I ran into twice already this month? Also fun, but maybe not the vacation I need right now.

On Eater

This Week on the Podcast

This week on the Eater Upsell, Daniel and I discuss Uber Eats’ new dining in option, bone marrow on tap, new Crate & Barrel and Lululemon restaurants, and more.

Off Eater

  • Why the ikejime method of killing fish is so much more humane (and leads to better-tasting product). []
  • An alarming number of food couriers working for Uber Eats and its competitors in Mexico are dying. [The Verge]
  • I LOVE that aviation geeks are flocking to the TWA Hotel’s roof pool to stare out at the runway. [NYMag]
  • How an anxious cook cleans vegetables in an era of increased foodborne illnesses. [Taste]

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