In honor of its fifteenth anniversary, Epicurious casts its gaze back over the past decade and a half to select the restaurants that defined each year from 1995 to now. Most of the honored spots were so massively influential that their inclusion isn't terribly surprising: Nobu kicks things off in 1995 with its introduction of Hollywood exclusivity to downtown New York; Tru takes '99 for dragging Chicago back onto the global culinary scene; 2009 goes José Andrés's L.A. spot the Bazaar, which also landed GQ's top honors that year. But it's Grant Achatz who really owns the list, earning the 2006 spot for Alinea and 2010 for Next, his high-concept restaurant where the menu will completely overhaul every six months and seats will be sold Ticketmaster-style. Note our use of the future tense: The restaurant is allegedly on track for a December opening, though according to a timeline Achatz laid out for the Chicago Tribune, it could easily run later than that. So yeah, 2010's top restaurant — game-changer as it likely will be — might not even open until 2011.
Best of Epicurious: Top Restaurants 1995-2010 [Epicurious]