My favorite foodie friend, who tries everything and is always eager for the next marvelous meal, has a delightful story about her experience at the Amsterdam restaurant Ciel Bleu: two Michelin stars, six hours, hundreds of dollars, and a lifetime of story value. She ate there more than 10 years ago, and it still ranks as an unparalleled event.
I can’t imagine indulging in that level of dining. I don’t eat eel or bone marrow, but I do love a fine meal out. When I invited this friend to join me at Journeyman’s Food & Drink, our families asked why we would spend an hour to get to the Fullerton spot. It isn’t to sate hunger or try the latest new restaurant; it’s an art experience to savor and investigate. You have to be a bit adventurous to turn yourself over to chef Zachary Geerson and his team. Geerson plays endlessly with preparations, textures, and appearances—mousse, glass, foam, tuile, sorbet. How many ways are there to transform an ingredient? He’s determined to find out. Over the course of three hours, we were continually astonished (house-made butter, hand-sculpted ice, the most tender duck ever) and perplexed—how did he make this thin scallop shard? It was as though we were dining in a painting.
That’s just the beginning of our package on the Best New Restaurants. We’ve got eight more tempting newbies and a dish of the year to make your mouth water. You’re a stronger person than I if you make it through this issue and haven’t nabbed reservations for at least three of these places. Your best bet? Do the all-in-one option and get to our Best Restaurants celebration April 11. For the second consecutive year, all 10 honorees will be there. But act fast: Last year was a sellout!
—Alan Gibbons, Editor-in-Chief