Warning: If you’re not hungry now, you will be by the end of this…
The word “best” is just one of hundreds of extremely subjective words that are used far too often when describing something; anything. That is why it’s nearly impossible to find the “best” restaurant in America… Because does it even exist?
Through exploring some of the so-called “best restaurants in America,” we have noticed a common trend amongst them: they’re all top-tier. Whether it be the food, the service, the location, or the seating, every detail is incredible.
Although we combed through hundreds, here is a list of 3 of the “best restaurants in America,” and what makes them so great–
Blue Hill at Stone Barn– Tarrytown, NY
Blue Hill at Stone Barn has been called the “best restaurant in America,” by numerous food critics, both professional and self-appointed. If it’s not the aesthetic that impresses you, it could be the little booklet you find at your place setting which lists the weeks of the year, and the corresponding foods that are likely in season. Or, it could be that when your server arrives, they ask you questions like, ”how adventurous are you feeling?” or “what time would you prefer to finish dining this evening?” The latter is an important question; give them the opportunity, and the kitchen will serve you a meal that will last over five hours. Or, maybe it’s the fact that the executive chef and co-owner, Dan Barber, puts a heavy focus on farming-methods and being a farm-to-table restaurant.
Alinea – Chicago, Illinois
Alinea is the only restaurant in Chicago, and one of only 12 in the United States, to earn the coveted Michelin 3-Star rating; very impressive. Although the menu may seem a bit simple, offering between 18 and 22 seasonal dishes at a time, the food is quite the opposite of simple.
Along with their nearly unmatched service, for which they won the James Beard Award for Best Service in the United States, Alinea is best known for their meal presentation. It is said that Grant Achatz, chef and owner of Alinea, has reinvented the way people look at food. The Daily Meal says that Achatz “consistently turns out some of the most imaginative and delicious contemporary (or modernist, if you will) cuisine in the country,” and it’s “better than ever” after closing down for their extensive, five-month long renovation.
The French Laundry – Yountville, CA
At The French Laundry, head chef Thomas Keller has established a higher standard for fine dining in the United States. Their menu offers two nine-course tasting menus, which are devised each day (one traditional, and one vegetarian), and no single ingredient is ever used more than once per meal. The menu mystery alone is enough of a selling point to attract the most adventurous foodies.
The French Laundry is a 1,600 square-foot structure that was built out of river rock and timber in 1900. Over the years, it’s beautiful blue front door has garnered much attention. Some may say it’s even famous, and has become a main draw for the restaurants patrons. In 2012, The French Laundry earned the coveted AAA Five Diamond Award, which only 0.4% of restaurants earn.
As we mentioned earlier, the common theme we saw while exploring the “best restaurants in America” was that they are all top tier and focus on more than just the meals they serve. Each place offers its own individual experience to its patrons; something they will remember. Although there are well over 600,000 restaurants in the United States, including fast food chains, and small shops, a few (like the ones listed above) have been able to stand apart from rest and have reached levels of greatness that all others aspire to. Becoming the “best restaurant in America” is, in our eyes, not the goal. There will always be someone who says the lettuce is greener at another restaurant. The goal should be, however, to become the best version of yourself (your restaurant) possible. Put your own spin on things, create a memorable experience for your patrons, and make delicious food!