All across the country, cooks have been developing intimate, ambitious, and inevitably exclusive kitchen counters in their restaurants. Though some critics and diners have recently called into question the idea of extended tasting menus that offer paying customers few, if any, choices, the trend of leaving matters in the chefs' hands shows few signs of letting up.
Several of these spaces have been specifically designed to offer one long tasting menu only (José Andrés revamped minibar in DC, Carlo Mirarchi's Blanca in New York City), while others are counters within larger and slightly less expensive restaurants (Mike Solomonov's Zahav in Philadelphia, Joshua Skenes' Saison in San Francisco, Bryan Moscatello's Storefront Company in Chicago). Some might be called pioneers of the format in their cities (Catbird Seat in Nashville, Oxheart in Houston), while others represent the latest in the trend for their metropolis (Atera in NYC).
While for the most part very expensive, all of these embrace the fact that diners these days don't seem to want a traditional, haughty fine dining experience. It can be argued that these represent a different kind of pretentiousness, but the hyper-focus on food and the raw action of the kitchen is unquestionable. Here are twelve of the most recent entries in the genre:
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