Every year a few chefs hit New York like a hailstorm, coming out of seemingly nowhere and producing a clamor of kudos such as their forefathers never dreamed of. I'm not saying they all deserve the hype, nor is it by any means certain that glorious futures will follow these auspicious debuts. But if you want to meet the new kids on the street, these are who they are.
San Francisco's Mission Chinese -- a boozy, high-spirited lark -- has been an even bigger hit in New York, thanks to its over-the-top heat, dive bar energy, and its long-maned, ultra-cool young chef, Danny Bowien.
Small, chic, and catering to a somewhat jaded clientele, this Korean tapas restaurant provides small, intense bites of delicious, if somewhat undistinguished, Asian food in a cool setting.
The vogue for chef-driven southeast Asian restaurants got a boost from this excellent Lower East Side eatery, which has been an immediate hit with New Yorkers.
A very find American restaurant found on a desolate stretch of gowanus, The Pines serves creative, surprising food worth the shlep and then some.
A big, heavy, J&R Woodshow Broiler, the Rolls Royce of grilling, is the star at this excellent all-wood-fire restaurant in Williamsburg.
Gwynett Street is one of the few Brooklyn restaurants to be both creative and professional; the modern American cooking is homey and local without being hipsterish.
The "New Scandinavian Cooking" was pretty much a bust in New York, with the exception of this very fine restaurant, which is just adventurous enough to be interesting, but not so much so as to freak anybody out. A great date restaurant.
Atera is far and away New York's most advanced venture into the world of foraged modernist cooking, of the kind found at European chef meccas like Mugaritz and Noma. Not everybody likes it but everyone has to go once.
The effort to modernize and lighten classic French cooking has been tried a thousand times, usually without much success. This humble bistro actually pulls it off as well as I can remember seeing!
A very fine example of the "lardcore" or modern southern restaurant; certainly the most refined. It shares with its brooklyn sibling, Char No. 4, an extensive bourbon selection.