Hot New Restaurants

From bacon beignets in San Francisco to New York’s best pork chop, The Daily Beast grilled America’s dining experts to determine the season’s best new places to eat. VIEW OUR GALLERY.

Sage, Las Vegas

Chef/Owner: Shawn McClain
Cuisine: American

The Buzz: Acclaimed Chicago chef Shawn McClain opened what may be “the most significant restaurant to open in Las Vegas” in years, according to restaurant critic John Curtas of Eating Las Vegas. “It’s got a really, really aggressive and unique beer and wine program, they’re bringing in microbrews from all over the world.” Located in the Aria hotel, Sage’s food is similarly offbeat: “The dish everyone’s talking about it is the foie gras crème brulee, served as an appetizer. It’s maybe the richest thing around, two bites will do it.” The décor is dramatic, with a giant Renoir reproduction, and high ceilings. Foodies, rather than cheesy tourists, are filling the seats.

Jennifer Yin

Frances, San Francisco

Chef/Owner: Melissa Perello
Cuisine: California seasonal

The Buzz: Star chef Melissa Perello is back. She launched her long-awaited solo venture, Frances in December in a simple, stylish storefront in the Castro. It’s a small place, and with her reputation, quickly became the hardest reservation in San Francisco. The atmosphere is casual; everything on the menu is under $25. “It’s the food that is really upscale,” says Michael Bauer, critic and editor for the San Francisco Chronicle. The menu is market-driven, Northern-California style. “She always has these small plates, four or five appetizers, four main courses, like applewood smoked bacon beignets and frites made out of chickpeas, with insides like custard.” But Perello’s innovation doesn’t stop with the food. Frances sells wine by the ounce. The sommelier brings the wine in kegs from Santa Barbara, offering two hand-blended choices: red and white. You only pay for what you drink, at a buck an ounce, marked against the carafe.

Mike McCarthy

Kenmare, New York City

Owners: Lou Ceruzzi, Nur Khan, and Paul Sevigny
Chef: Joey Campanaro
Cuisine: Mediterranean-American

The Buzz: Take the scenesters who previously owned the ultra-exclusive, celebrity-laden Beatrice Inn, mix in the chef who has done wonders with seasonal ingredients at Little Owl and Market Table, and you have a very buzzy restaurant with very good food. While the crowd is beautiful, it’s not as velvet rope as Beatrice Inn (a good thing); and while the food is fun (the chef’s signature gravy meatball sliders return, along with things like a rich basil gnocchi, slathered with a short rib ragu), it’s not as cozy or market-driven as Campanaro’s previous two spots. Still, the food-plus-scene equation is strong.

TheBradsBlog.com

Meddlesome Moth, Dallas

Owner: Shannon Wynne
Chef: Chad Kelley
Cuisine: Gastropub

The Buzz: Dallas restaurateur Shannon Wynne opened a new gastropub this month in Dallas’ Design District, an area where restaurants are just starting to spring up. The interior has stained glass windows suspended from the ceiling and a beautiful patio, but with forty different beers on tap and two (very hard to find) live ales in the keg, this pub is serious. “The food is really unusual for Dallas,” says Leslie Brenner, restaurant critic for The Dallas Morning News. The menu specifically cites the Spotted Pig in New York for inspiration. Think squid filled with braised oxtails, rabbit pot pie, beef bone marrow with salsa verde, plus a sublime dish called mothballs; small balls of ricotta, sauteed in brown butter sauce and garnished with a dry sage leaf.

Hatfield's, Los Angeles

Owners/Chefs: Quinn and Karen Hatfield
Cuisine: Seasonal

The Buzz: The husband-and-wife team of Quinn and Karen Hatfield (he does the savory, she does the sweets) have upgraded from neighborhood hole-in-the-wall to a huge space on Melrose, but their innovative, often brilliant cooking holds up to the test (think “croque madame,” using yellowtail sashimi, prosciutto, quail egg on a brioche). For $98, they’ll dish out a tasting menu of whatever inspired them that day.

REBECCA MCALPIN

Faustina, New York City

Owner: Cooper Square Hotel
Chef: Scott Conant
Cuisine: Italian

The Buzz: Scott Conant, who last wowed with Scarpetta, continues his hot roll. Faustina, a sharp space in the ground floor of the hip Cooper Square Hotel, complete with glorious outdoor patio, takes over from a brief flop known as Table 8. Faustina again offers Conant’s fresh take on Italian, and nary a dud emerges from his kitchen. Two dishes stand out: Conant winningly dudes up his simple spaghetti in tomato sauce, Scarpetta’s signature dish, with sea urchin; and the Berkshire pork chop, a lean, glazed slab officially for two, but big enough for an NFL line, might be the best of its ilk in the city.

Gibraltar, Miami

Owner: Grove Isle Hotel
Chef: Jeff O’Neill
Cuisine: Seafood/American

The Buzz: Located in Coconut Grove’s Grove Isle Hotel and Spa, Gibraltar quickly ranks among the most romantic restaurants in South Florida. Following a $1 million renovation, the indoor/outdoor restaurant offers widely separated tables cascading on the edge of Biscayne Bay, amid tropical greenery and candlelight. (The glass-enclosed main dining room is dark, and provided flashlights don’t help much.) The carefully spiced contemporary seafood-oriented menu is inspired by young Jeff O’Neill, most recently Donald Trump’s private chef, who worked for Charlie Palmer, Daniel Boulud, and Eric Ripert. The layered and innovative cuisine focuses on local sustainable products. A starter of roasted pumpkin tortellini, served with a simple sauce of spiced pistachios, maple and sage, has become a Gibraltar signature. The key lime pie, with a salted graham cracker crust and fresh vanilla whipped cream, was featured on Oprah.

Kristin Zwiers

Spur, Seattle

Chef/Owners: Brian McCracken and Dana Tough
Cuisine: Gastropub

The Buzz: Hot local chefs Brian McCracken and Dana Tough have managed to open two successful restaurants in Seattle together, and they’re not even thirty yet. Located in hip Belltown, Spur is a small gastropub with extreme attention to food and drink preparation, using molecular gastronomy techniques. “We want to create a dining experience, but also a fun place to go out with friends so there's cohesiveness between food and drink,” says Tough, “at an honest price.” According to Scott Heimendinger, of Seattlefoodgeek.com, the food is prepared “with surgical precision, leaving you shocked, impressed, and satiated.”

Lisa Predko

The Purple Pig, Chicago

Chefs/Owners: Scott Harris and Jimmy Bannos
Cuisine: Mediterranean and small plates

The Buzz: The name doesn’t lie: From milk-braised pork shoulder to charcuterie platters, porcine parts abound. Scott Harris from Mia Francesca and Jimmy Bannos from Heaven on Seven “conspired to craft an intimate room inside an office building. They do have street signage, but it’s so improbable and when you enter it (and I hate saying this because it’s so cliché), you’re transported,” says Penny Pollack, Chicago Magazine’s dining editor.