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"World Class" USA Restaurant List? Name your nominees

WineTravel Jan 21, 2007 02:24 PM

I'd like to know what people think are the WORLD CLASS restaurants located in the US.

World Class? ... meaning they can hold their own with the other great restaurants of the world in all aspects... food, wine, service, atmosphere.

  1. pikawicca Jan 21, 2007 08:55 PM

    The Inn at Little Washington

    3 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca
      theflytyr Jan 21, 2007 11:58 PM

      I'll bite on Daniel and Jean-Georges, but The Inn doesn't rate IMO. I believe Blackberry farm is better than the Inn but even it is not "world class".

      1. re: pikawicca
        jpschust Jan 22, 2007 02:21 PM

        Inn at Little Washington's food has gone downhill in recent years. I'd pop over to the DC board to read about it.

        1. re: jpschust
          tinymango Jan 22, 2007 05:14 PM

          i had an excellent dinner at inn at little washington in october.

          i second this.

      2. hotoynoodle Jan 21, 2007 08:59 PM

        le bernadin
        per se
        french laundry

        1 Reply
        1. re: hotoynoodle
          theflytyr Jan 21, 2007 11:59 PM

          French Laundry for Sure!!!!

        2. d
          Dorothy Jan 21, 2007 09:02 PM

          Le Manoir au Quat' Saisons, Great Milton, Oxford, UK.

          I believe it was the first restaurant in the UK to hold a Michelin star.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Dorothy
            pikawicca Jan 21, 2007 10:45 PM

            Dorothy, I believe the OP is looking for restaurants in the US, not the UK.

          2. Candy Jan 22, 2007 12:02 AM

            Tallent in Bloomington, IN. You do not have to be in one of those huge cities or destiations to experience world class food like you get at Tallent and Dave and Krissy are so talllllented that they don't have resort to gimicks like foams to produce wonderful and interesting food. If you haven't been you are missing out on something very special.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Candy
              jpschust Jan 22, 2007 02:22 PM

              You are officially my hero for mentioning this place. I left IU before this place opened (I'm trying to remember what was in its space beforehand). This place is truly excellent. Bloomington has some amazing food for being such a little town. I'd also almost put Elements in Indy on that list too.

              1. re: jpschust
                Candy Jan 22, 2007 03:07 PM

                It was on Kirkwood in a cinder block building that had been a diner of sorts at one time. They have moved out of there and are now on Walnut n what was the old Faris market north of what was the Princess theater. Gorgeous new space. I've not been since the re-open but will go in the next month or so. Just too much going on. They have not yet updated their website but I'm sure they will. C'mon back.

                1. re: Candy
                  jpschust Jan 22, 2007 03:19 PM

                  I look forward to it. Also, while not world class, other favorite Bloomington eats include Snow Lion, Bombay House, Aver's Pizza (I still dream about the cream and crimson), Int'l Market for shwarma, and Dagwoods where I worked for a summer :)

                  1. re: jpschust
                    Candy Jan 22, 2007 04:14 PM

                    MMmmmmm Bombay House. Limestone Grill does some really good stuff with their specials and sadly Truffles just is not what it was since they lost their original chef. It was really fine back then.

                    1. re: Candy
                      jpschust Jan 22, 2007 04:28 PM

                      You know one of the line guys from Truffles then became the top guy at Trojan, and now I'm not sure where he is. Fischer I think was his name. Really wonderful guy.

            2. s
              susanlll Jan 22, 2007 01:53 PM

              Encore - Downtown Memphis

              1. jpschust Jan 22, 2007 02:22 PM

                Eleven Madison Park (I might be in a minority here but I think it's amazing)
                Moto (Even if you don't like the food, it's certainly world class)
                Any of the Keller Restaurants

                1 Reply
                1. re: jpschust
                  hotoynoodle Jan 22, 2007 03:34 PM

                  i had stellar service at eleven madison, but would not put the food or wine list in the world-class category.

                2. j
                  jbw Jan 22, 2007 04:53 PM

                  From Chicago

                  Cutting-edge cuisine:
                  Moto (so cutting-edge it bleeds)

                  Used to be cutting-edge, but still contenders IMO:

                  Perhaps the best Mexican restaurant in the USA, altho quality of service somewhat damaged by success:

                  Schwa (just try to get a reservation!)

                  1. c
                    chickstein Jan 22, 2007 05:21 PM

                    Gary Danko in San Fran and Charlie Trotter's in Chicago. I also agree with The French Laundry recommendation.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: chickstein
                      WineTravel Jan 25, 2007 09:41 AM

                      I believe Trotters and French Laundry are worthy of consideration, but Gary Danko?
                      I haven't been impressed with his place so haven't been in the past couple of years. My guess is it hasn't changed much, but please advise if there's been a renaissance. I don't think he's been as impressive as when he was at the Ritz, where he showed some brilliance.

                      1. re: WineTravel
                        jpschust Jan 25, 2007 11:02 AM

                        I think Trotter's was worthy a few years ago, not so much now.

                    2. MegMD Jan 25, 2007 09:48 AM

                      Charleston, Baltimore Maryland

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MegMD
                        steinpilz Jan 25, 2007 03:35 PM

                        I'm tempted to add Faidley's just to be contrary, best crabcakes on earth.

                      2. ipsedixit Jan 25, 2007 09:52 AM


                        Per Se

                        1. Pablo Jan 25, 2007 09:55 AM


                          1. Greyhoundgrrl Jan 25, 2007 10:08 AM

                            No. 9 Park, Boston.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Greyhoundgrrl
                              WineTravel Jan 25, 2007 10:28 AM

                              yikes. good place, but I was asking about rests that were "world class". Sorry, don't think No 9 fits the bill. Interesting choice, since you're fav meal was at L'Astrance, you obviously know great food. I do agree with you there, that is my favorite restaurant in Paris... amazing spot... and one of the best places anywhere.

                            2. Greyhoundgrrl Jan 25, 2007 11:14 AM

                              I think you need to better define "world class." The food I had at No 9 Park was better than the food I had at the French Laundry. Go figure. If you are talking about bells and whistles than yes, No 9 is probably out of the running. But for pure food... I dunno. The morcela sausages I had off a grill made of an old oil barrel in a stranger's backyard in the Azores were better than the blood sausages at Salumi. They were honestly "world class."

                              I guess I don't understand the point of the question, if the same names (FL, Per Se, etc) are going to be everyone's standard answers.

                              1. w
                                WineTravel Jan 25, 2007 11:23 AM

                                The point of the question is that I was wondering what restaurants in the US people thought were in the same league as other restaurants around the world that are considered great. For the record, yes, I would include Per Se... but not so sure about French Laundry.

                                I too have had some great dishes at No. 9 and at places that B.Lynch cooked at before she opened that place. She is a great chef. Unfortunately, she doesn't spend as much time at No 9 as she used to. No. 9 is one of the best spots in Boston, but is not a contender in the world class category. No place in Boston is, IMO.

                                Ok, lets define it better. Would you compare L'Astrance to No. 9? Im talking about the great restaurants of the world that have it all... great food/execution, wine, service, atmosphere. Places like Troisgros in Roanne, Marc Veyrat in Annecy, Hotel d'Ville in Crissier, etc. You can make a great case for L'Astrance. It's better than the bigger names in Paris ie. Taillevant, Alain Ducasse, etc.... and its better than The French Laundry too.

                                1. r
                                  risottoman Jan 25, 2007 11:50 AM

                                  Chez Panisse?

                                  how would one include per se, but not French Laundry? that doesn't make sense to me

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: risottoman
                                    WineTravel Jan 25, 2007 12:13 PM

                                    Im not saying I wouldn't include FL ... just hedging a bit. Per Se has got it a lot more together than the FL. Have to think a bit about it. Certainly wouldn't call Per Se "FL East".

                                    BTW, love your ID: "risottoman" is great.

                                  2. steinpilz Jan 25, 2007 03:43 PM

                                    WineTravel, what's your opinion of Babbo? I don't get to these restaurants much but I'd think that Babbo is world class.

                                    Also, any opinions about sushi, do US restaurants compete?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: steinpilz
                                      WineTravel Jan 25, 2007 07:53 PM

                                      I like Babbo. I do, however, think it gets more praise than it deserves. Certainly not in the world class category. Babbo does have a great Italian wine list. Actually, of all of Mario's places (haven't been to Del Posto) I prefer LUPA. Its more casual, great food, more of a "real" and relaxed setting than Babbo. The small back room has great light... perfect for lunch.

                                      Sushi... Im not a huge sushi fan. I do like great sashimi, but like it in the early stages of a degustation menu that includes cooked food. The best sushi meals I've had were at the old Ginza Sushiko in LA... now the chef/owner (Masa) has moved to NYC and his place in the Time Warner bldg is amazing as many chowhounds know. Be warned, Masa's place is "over the top" expensive... figure $500/head. A must for well healed sushi fans. That said, I'd rather go to Lupa.

                                      1. re: WineTravel
                                        steinpilz Jan 26, 2007 04:13 AM

                                        I have been to Lupa and liked it very much, it is relaxing and on a nice quiet street etc.... I also went to Esca and really liked to cooking, first time I'd had fried capers, but not the vibe - seemed gritty thanks to Time Square (also seemed like a mob hangout for some reason).

                                    2. hotoynoodle Jan 25, 2007 08:27 PM

                                      i've dined at no 9 park countless times. it's so hit or miss, i'm frequently frustrated by the experience.

                                      my 2 dinners at babbo were less than stellar. i loved the vibe, the room and the wine list. 1st time we went, our server disappeared between our mid-course and entree. obvious confusion and some sort of management issue. a serious lag occurred, but when we inquired (jokingly) about what happened, all we got was silence. it made the rest of the dinner very weird. apps and pasta great, my rabbit, eh. 2 nd time was with a very harried server and the dishes were seriously lacking in flavor.

                                      when i think "world class", i think "does it compare to 3-star michelin dinners i've had?" and that's everything, especially service. the food doesn't have to be "cutting edge", but must be flawlessly executed.

                                      most of these chefs who have 3 or 5 or 10 restaurants, they are spread too thin, and the consistency is simply not there. if your meals are inconsistent, that, imho, is not "world class".

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                                        Greyhoundgrrl Jan 25, 2007 09:39 PM

                                        If it is so "hit or miss," why keep going back to No 9 Park "countless times?"

                                        1. re: Greyhoundgrrl
                                          hotoynoodle Jan 26, 2007 05:54 AM

                                          as a sommelier, i'm often invited there for events.

                                          i didn't offer my opinion in any way to offend you, simply to say i feel differently. if a restaurant cannot execute consistently well, it's not "world-class", imho. that means whether or not the chef is in the kitchen that night. (something you frequently hear about babbo, "it's only good when battali is there." well, you don't pay less when he isn't, do you?)

                                        2. re: hotoynoodle
                                          WineTravel Jan 26, 2007 01:12 AM

                                          I agree. While Barbara Lynch is very talented, she's not there very much any more. But weather or not she's in the kitchen is not so much the point there... cause even when she is around, I agree the food and service is erratic and the crowded room/table spacing makes the atomoshere frenetic. The kitchen is capable of producing a wonderful dish or 2, but its not a place you can rely on for a great dinner. So, a better approach for this place is to stop by the bar and have a bite with a glass/bottle of wine. There are better options in Boston at that price point.

                                          Yes, you understand what a world class restaurant is. There are not too many that qualify in the US (IMO)... and so as to not single out No9.... I should add that there are none in Boston.

                                          1. re: WineTravel
                                            Greyhoundgrrl Jan 26, 2007 03:55 AM

                                            Clearly I am too unrefined to participate in this conversation or offer an opinion on the aesthetics of dining. I guess I will crawl back to Burger King and eat Quadruple Whoppers until I drop dead of a heart attack. Thanks for educating this yokel.

                                            1. re: Greyhoundgrrl
                                              WineTravel Jan 26, 2007 04:51 AM

                                              Thats an interesting reply from someone who I give cudos for picking L'Astrance as your favorite restaurant experience (killer spot). You dont seem like a fast food junkie to me. Again, No9 is a good restaurant, not great.. and now that world class is more defined, not the kind of place that would be considered in that league. I think its been beaten up enough by me and others. That's all we're saying. Thanks again for the L'Astrance mention. BTW, for those that haven't been... its nearly impossible to score a table at that restaurant... but worth the effort.

                                        3. b
                                          Burnzes Jan 26, 2007 03:21 AM

                                          I think the food of Babbo is world class, but not as elegant as Per Se, Daniel, etc. Gramercy tavern is up there

                                          1. n
                                            notgreg Feb 2, 2007 06:10 PM

                                            I am not so sure that I would agree with Gramercy Tavern, there may have been a time though. And as far as considering Per Se world-class but not FL, let's be honest and think about where Keller's soul is. And the vote for Encore in Memphis; As a Tennessean, I appreciate the enthusiasm, but we cannot claim a world-class restaurant from our state, and I doubt we ever will (Though the Catfish House in Springfield and Smyrna Tn would be my choice for a Last Supper).

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