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Up and coming chef's with reputable pasts?

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I will be coming to NYC for my annual trip in April and want to know if there are any new Mas (Farmhouse) type restaurants with an excellent and well trained head chef/ owner.

The reason being they take a few more risks and don't quite yet have the highest price tag -- and makes me a better food groupie. But I am interested with which chef's they have worked for in the past.

I am a hotel concierge in San Francisco if that gives you any indication about my preferences. I like really nice foods but because of the price tag hotels, I don't have too much leftover. And if is helps your suggestions I will be traveling alone, am in my early twenties and love to eat at the bar when appropriate.

Thanks and see you in April!
-Lauren

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  1. This may not seem relevant but.... Some of our top restaurants have bargain prix fixe lunches. They cost under $30 and the exact same meal at dinner would cost more than double that. Some of these are Fleur de Sel, Tocqueville, Jean-Georges and Perry Street.

    When I saw the title of your post, I thought you didn't want to eat at a place where the chef had worked as an escort or something.

    Have a great trip!

    1. Go to Degustation, a small cosy restaurant in East Village. There you can enjoy spanish small plates cooked by the young and talented (and very handsome) chef, Wesley Genovart, and his chefs right in front of you in the open kitchen. It only has 16 seats and single diners are common and welcome. You can do the tasting of 5 courses for $50, or a la carte for whatever intrigued you on the menu. With wine you will still have plenty for $100. Thomas Keller of Per Se and French Laundry and Daniel Humm (chef of Eleven Madison Park) dined there if that's an indication of how intriging this place is. If you do a search on this board, there are plenty of reviews of this place.

      Actually, NYT has a much better description than I do:

      "The sixteen-seat space that was previously Grace's Kalbi Bar and before that Jewel Bako Robata has seamlessly become an elegant tapas bar (or "Franco-Spanish-inspired small plates" restaurant in Lambspeak), where Wesley Genovart, a Perry St. grad who looks to be about 12, fusses over his bite-size creations in plain view of diners seated side-by-side at the food bar. With its reverential service, its frequent changes of silverware, and assorted other flourishes, this isn't your ordinary toothpick-flying, sangría-flowing tapas bar. Genovart's menu makes use of such currently fashionable A.W. (After Wylie) cooking techniques and ingredients as sous vide and xanthan gum. But nothing tastes forced or contrived. Flavors, for the most part, are bold and harmonious, and often so rich that the smallish portions make perfect sense"

      3 Replies
      1. re: kobetobiko

        Oh, forgot to mention, Momofuku Ssam Bar by David Chef. He is the best new chef of James Beard, and the restaurant offers inventive, flavorful food at very reasonable price. If you are adventurous or into more exotic food (a lot of offals on the menu), this is the place.

        1. re: kobetobiko

          David Chang... though Chef would be a cool surname for him

          1. re: Brian S

            Ah, Brian S, thanks for pointing that out. :D I typed too fast and didn't realize the typo. It should be Chef David Chang :D

      2. Hey, Lauren,

        I recommend you try Pamplona. Though many, including me, adored the cuisine at Urena, Chef/owner Alex Urena's eponymous restaurant wasn't doing well. So, after it had been open for about a year-and-a-half, he shut it down at the end of the summer, refurbished the interior a bit, completely overhauled the menu, lowered prices, and changed the restaurant's name. At Pamplona, Alex continues to create wonderful dishes that now focus on the cuisine of the Basque region. As a solo diner, you can, if you prefer, sit at the capacious bar and put together a wonderful meal, starting with some very tasty tapas and ending with a lip-smacking dessert. You can read about Alex's superb pedigree on Pamplona's website.

        http://www.pamplonanyc.com