Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Frontera Grill Tops Beard Awards

Chicago's Frontera Grill won Outstanding Restaurant of the Year and Michel Richard of Michel Richard Citronelle in Washington, D.C. was named Outstanding Chef at the 2007 James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony. Hosted by CBS Early Show anchor Hannah Storm, the Beard Awards were held May 7 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York's Lincoln Center. More than 60 awards were presented by the country's pre-eminent nonprofit culinary organization, in its 20th anniversary celebration, and more than 1,600 industry leaders attended the ceremony. Other top awards went to: New York's L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, named Best New Restaurant; Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Yountville, Ca.) received the award for Outstanding Restaurateur; and David Chang (Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York) received the Rising Star Chef of the Year award. Celebrity and culinary superstar attendees included Stephanie March, Ted Allen, Katie Lee Joel, Martha Stewart, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Thomas Keller, Jose Andres, Tom Colicchio, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Padma Lakshmi, and Marcus Samuelsson. The Foundation's Media Awards took place at a separate event at the Hudson Theatre at Millennium Broadway Hotel on May 6. All Award winners received a bronze medallion etched with the image of the late James Beard, the esteemed chef, cookbook author, and food journalist. There are no cash awards. Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognizes outstanding achievement within the fine food and beverage industry in North America. For full awards results, please visit http://www.jamesbeard.org.

Beard Award highlights are:

AMERICA'S CLASSICS: Primanti Brothers, Demetrios Patrinos, Pittsburgh, Pa.; The Pickwick, Christopher Wisocki, Duluth, Minn.; Doe's Eat Place, The Signa Family, Greenville, Miss.; Aunt Carrie's, Elsie Foy, Narragansett, R.I.; I

Brookville Hotel, Mark and Connie Martin, Abilene, Kan.; Weaver D's, Dexter Weaver, Athens, Ga.

BEST CHEF, GREAT LAKES: Grant Achatz, Alinea, Chicago

BEST CHEF, MID-ATLANTIC: R.J. Cooper, III, Vidalia, Washington, DC

BEST CHEF, MIDWEST: Celina Tio, The American Restaurant, Kansas City, Mo.

BEST CHEF, NEW YORK CITY: David Waltuck, Chanterelle, New York, NY

BEST CHEF, NORTHEAST: Frank McClelland, L'Espalier, Boston

BEST CHEF, NORTHWEST: John Sundstrom, Lark, Seattle

BEST CHEF, PACIFIC: Traci Des Jardins, Jardinière, San Francisco

BEST CHEF, SOUTH: Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

BEST CHEF, SOUTHEAST: Scott Peacock, Watershed, Decatur, Ga.

BEST CHEF, SOUTHWEST: Nobuo Fukuda, Sea Saw, Scottsdale, Ariz.

BEST NEW RESTAURANT: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Chef-Owner: Joël Robuchon, New York, NY

OUTSTANDING CHEF: Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEF: Michael Laskonis, Le Bernardin, New York, NY

OUTSTANDING RESTAURANT: Frontera Grill, chef-owner: Rick and Deann Bayless, Chicago

OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR: Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.

OUTSTANDING SERVICE: Rick Tramonto, Gale Gand, and Richard Melman, Tru, Chicago

OUTSTANDING WINE AND SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL: Paul Draper, Ridge Vineyards, Cupertino, Calif.

OUTSTANDING WINE SERVICE: Mark Slater, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR: David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York, NY



David Burke's Primehouse, De La Costa on Hot List
Conde Nast Traveler magazine just published its Hot List of the world's best restaurants. Here are the hottest of the hot in the U.S.: Brix, Flagstaff, Ariz.; Cut, Beverly Hills; Hatfield's, Los Angeles; Katsuya, Los Angeles; Social Hollywood, Los Angeles; West, Los Angeles; Coi,
San Francisco; NOPA, San Francisco; Perbacco, San Francisco; Salt House, San Francisco; Ad Hoc, Yountville, Ca.; Dressing Room, Westport, Conn.; Michy's, Miami; David Bouley Evolution, Miami Beach; Quattro Gastronomia Italiana, Miami Beach; Trois, Atlanta; David Burke's Primehouse, Chicago; De La Costa, Chicago; Riche, New Orleans; Sorellina, Boston; Guy Savoy, Las Vegas; Nove Italiano, Las Vegas; Rao's, Las Vegas; A Voce, New York City; Boqueria, New York City; Gordon Ramsay at The London, New York City; L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, New York City; Little Owl, New York City; Momofuku Ssäm, New York City; Varietal, New York City; Waverly Inn, New York City; New York City; Herons, Cary, N.C.; Piedmont, Durham, N.C.; XIX, Philadelphia; Bess Bistro on Pecan, Austin; Craft, Dallas; Blue Duck Tavern, Washington, D.C.

IN THE NEWS: Orlando-based Darden Restaurants shut down more than 50 of its Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill locations across the country on May 5 and said it will sell the remaining 73, The Orlando Sentinel reported May 6. The closings include Chicago-area stores in Schaumburg and Aurora. ... From a blog post from the Trib's Phil Vettel on May 1: "They were lighting figurative cigars over at the American Lung Association on Tuesday, after the Illinois House, by a whopping 73-42 vote, passed a law banning smoking in bars, restaurants and other public places throughout the state of Illinois. And at least one restaurateur was pleased too. The bill must still be signed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but he has been a supporter of the measure. Once signed, the legislation would take effect Jan. 1, 2008." ... Trib Mother's Day dining recommendations include Twisted Spoke and La Cucina di Donatella. And a neighborhood taco roundup leads with Logan Square's El Cid 2. metromix.chicagotribune.com ... Marche is now serving lunch, the Sun-Times Pat Bruno reports. Bruno also reviews several area steakhouses. suntimes.com ... The Chicago Reader offers an extensive roundup of Latin American restaurants. chicagoreader.com ... Big Sweet Tooth blog looks at Le Bouchon ... Chicagoist.com looks at the West Side's McNamara's ... TimeOut Chicago's blog The TOC Blog stops by Alhambra and also reports that French chef Didier Durand will open a seasonal eatery called Cyrano's Cafe on the riverwalk this summer. The mag gives four stars to Baccala (1540 N. Milwaukee Ave.), three stars to Hop Haus (646 N. Franklin St.) and gives early looks to Room 21 (2110 S. Wabash Ave.) Coal Fire (1321 W. Grand Ave.), and Sura (3124 N. Broadway). timout.com/chicago. ... Among the reports from Chicago magazine's Dish columnists Penny Pollack and Jeff Ruby: "Kelvin Cheung, the talented chef of Ginger Asian Bistro (15700 S. Harlem Ave., Orland Park), has split from the nine-month south suburban standout. (It recently made Chicago magazine’s list of the best new restaurants of 2007.) So what happened? Cheung claims the owners are changing concepts. “I just wanted to let you know so your readers would not go to Ginger thinking it was like your write-up,” he says. But Kai Chow, Ginger’s owner, sings a different tune. “Kelvin left us,” he says. “It is still Pan-Asian fusion, and the menu will still be 60 percent the same.” Chow wasted no time in replacing Cheung with Peter Han, a veteran of the Clarion Hotel, but has closed the restaurant as of May 2nd and will reopen it on May 15th. “Prebookings, events, groups are still on,” Chow says. “We just don’t want to overtax the kitchen at this point in time.” The mag also report that: "Pastoral, an artisan cheese/bread/wine gourmet shop in Lake View, will open a Loop location late this summer; Pancho Viti’s (431 Temple Ave., Highland Park), Gabriel Viti’s Mexican restaurant that was all the rage a couple of years back, has closed. Seems the property has been rented to Isaac Naba (La Casa del Gordo), who has opened the budget-minded La Casa de Isaac Mexican Restaurant in the space. ... Giovanni Scalzo, owner of the DePaul neighborhood Italian standout Via Carducci (1419 W. Fullerton Ave., plans to open La Sorella (“The Sister,” 1928 W. Division St.) the first week of June. ... (New York-tyle pizza specialist) Robert Bata opened Rogers Park Pizzeria (1632 W. Howard St.), in April ... Wolfgang Puck is planning a kosher café at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies (618 S. Michigan Ave.) when the museum opens its $55 million facility this November. ... A Morton’s Steakhouse is opening in 2008—this one in Freedom Commons, a 25-acre development under construction at I-88 and Freedom Boulevard in Naperville. ... Throughout May, Zealous (419 W. Superior St.) celebrates its 14th birthday (six years in Elmhurst, eight in River North) with a special menu (five courses, $85). ... Washington, D.C. blogger dcfud.com raves about Lula Cafe, 2537 N. Kedzie Blvd. and stops by the new Taqueria Nacionale, 444 N. Capitol St.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

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