Bon Appétit released its Hot Ten on Tuesday — the list of what it deems “America’s Best New Restaurants 2019” — with Los Angeles’ Konbi taking the top spot.
Konbi, in L.A.’s Echo Park neighborhood, is a tiny (10-seat), daytime-only space inspired by Japan’s konbini (the 24/7 convenience stores) and France’s patisseries. On the menu are Japanese-style sandwiches (including a pork katsu with cabbage and Bull-Dog sauce), seasonal vegetable dishes (like potato salad with crispy okara — or soy pulp — and Togarashi), tea, coffee, and pastries, including a chocolate croissant that, Bon Appétit says, is “worth planning your entire morning around.”
What can the list of restaurants — that Bon Appétit says “reminded us just how special dining out can be” — tell us? People are looking for those unique experiences and cultural immersion; authenticity tops linen napkins; and Asian cuisine is all the rage. For instance, the flavors of Laos resonate at restaurant No. 2, Dallas’ Khao Noodle Shop. This strip mall spot in East Dallas serves 12 dishes, each “only a few bites,” says Bon Appétit, which calls out the boat noodles and shrimp bites as must-tries. New York City’s Malaysian-influenced Kopitiam, No. 6 on the list, features such treats as kaya butter toast with pandan leaf and coconut jam. And Tailor in Nashville, No. 7 on the list, marries the cuisines of India’s Gujarat state with the American South.
Bon Appétit also boldly goes to Oregon for what it says is the best barbecue joint in the U.S.: Matt’s BBQ Tacos in Portland, taking the ninth position.
The editors note that their choice might upset some in Texas, as will their naming Dallas last week as Restaurant City of the Year, the latter choice being something, they say “a lot of people in Houston and Austin are, uh, not gonna like.”
In choosing Matt’s, a daytime food trailer with picnic-table seating, Bon Appétit called chef and Long Island native Matt Vicedomini’s brisket “legendary” and in choosing Dallas, Bon Appétit declared: “Texas’ oft-skipped food destination is no longer skippable.”
While that’s a bit of a back-handed compliment, writer Hilary Cadigan says Dallas’ “highly ambitious chefs, hailing from all different backgrounds,” are opening “highly specific, highly personal spaces that feel more like stepping directly into said chef’s brain.”
Bon Appétit, which last year singled out Portland, Maine, chose Dallas after deputy editor Julia Kramer visited more than 200 restaurants in 34 cities across the country, The Dallas Morning News reports. The magazine looks for a city that defines itself through food in a way it hasn’t before, the newspaper says.
Click the link for the mouth-watering details on The Hot Ten.