It's that time again: GQ unveils its always-a-little-perplexing list of the country's best new restaurants. Taking the top spot this year: L.A.'s ink, helmed by Michael Voltaggio. The pick is certainly less confounding than last year's selection, Lincoln, which underwhelmed New York's critics. Surprisingly, if the scattered bylines are to be believed, GQ critic Alan Richman only picked five of the ten restaurants on this year's list, but it's nevertheless rounded out by picks that are both expected (like Grant Achatz's Next), and some that are less so.
More intriguing than the actual list, which you can see in full below, is Richman's unexpected takedown of Husk, Sean Brock's Charleston restaurant that everyone else in the country loved, loved, loved this year. An appetizer of fried chicken skins was "a huge pile of nothing, conceivably functional as a pass-around at a Super Bowl party." Richman calls a lamb entree "a calamity," and says a dish of chicken and dumplings "was a catastrophe." Okay, but tell us how you really feel.
We don't know what Brock did to Richman to deserve being singled out like this, but after Richman's blasting of M. Wells last year, it's quite clear that if a hyped restaurant doesn't live up to the critic's expectations, he will make a point to call it, and its supporters, out. The Dutch might want to watch its back.
1. ink, Los Angeles
2. Brushstroke, New York
3. Next, Chicago
4. Mission Chinese Food, San Francisco
5. The Catbird Seat, Nashville
6. Picca, Los Angeles
7. The Woodsman Tavern, Portland, Oregon
8. Mica, Philadelphia
9. Ruxbin, CHicago
10. Barley Swine, Austin