By Alan Richman, GQ
Our correspondent ate his way through the most exciting movement in American dining right now and chose his favorites from the Bay Area's brightest new restaurants
1. Smoked Beef Brisket Mission Chinese Food, San Francisco
So soft, I was sure it was braised. Not so. Just an old-fashioned way of cooking, twelve hours of low heat. Beats most Texas brisket.
2. Eel, Feuille de Brick, Crème Fraîche, LimeBenu, San Francisco
Thin eel cigar-wrapped in warm, crunchy dough, with a creamy dipping sauce. Childlike moment enlivens a seriously good meal.
3. Foie Gras Bonbon Commonwealth, San Francisco
Sweets for the swells. Chocolate-covered. Outrageous. Served as a first course, but maybe it should be dessert.
4. Warm Egg Custard Mission Chinese Food, San Francisco
It jiggles. It jolts. Custard, ham broth, sea urchin, duck confit, and more.
5. Roast Poussin in Fresh Chamomile Butter Commis, Oakland
The white-meat chicken we've all been waiting for. Impossibly moist and succulent.
6. Chestnut, Apple, Coffee Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
Puree, sorbet, and edible flowers. Unexpectedly mesmerizing. "The pastry chef [Juan Contreras] is a crazy-gifted man," our waiter said.
7. Young Carrots Plum, Oakland
The return of buttered carrots, plus hazelnuts and spinach. From Mariquita Farm. (I'll name the farm even if the chefs won't.)
8. Nettle Cappellacci dei Briganti Flour + Water, San Francisco
Not sure which part I admired more, the little pinched pasta, the authentic wild-boar sugo, or the dab of intense sauce.
9. Smoked Risotto Plate Shop, Sausalito
Never saw this before. Want to see it again. And again. Lightly smoked rice plus uni, now used as a condiment, plopped on top.
10. Baked Andante Dairy Goat Cheese with Garden Lettuces Chez Panisse, Berkeley
Of course this is a top ten-a top ten of all time, as a matter of fact
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Photo: Marcus Nilsson