The restaurant-loving folks of Bon Appetit released their 50-restaurant longlist for the Best New Restaurant in America award today, and two local spots well-known to food enthusiasts made the cut: Rich Table in Hayes Valley and Saison in SOMA. (The latter is debatably "new," but its new location was apparently enough to merit a nod.) Rich Table was praised for a dimly-lit dining room in which "everyone looks good," as well as for turning "a neighborhood favorite into a dining destination." Top dishes include the infamous sardine chips, the pastas, "plush, satisfying" tarts and cakes, and the "incredible" bread.
Meanwhile, Saison got the nod for its "utmost attention to every detail," from the copper pans in the kitchen to "museum-worthy" crockery. "Every one of the courses on the 18-course tasting menu is exquisite—and at $248 per person, it better be." Highlighted dishes include the sesame souffle and "impeccably sourced" seafood like the live scallop with roe and cherry blossom. (Apparently, Bon App restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton found another time to go after electrical issues derailed his original planned visit.)
Followers of Bon App's list will recall that State Bird Provisions took home the award last year, beginning its rise into the stratosphere of national restaurant recognition. This year, however, SF's odds aren't as good: L.A. has four restaurants and NYC five to our two, and other notables like Atlanta's The Optimist and St. Louis' Niche. The ten winners, including the best new restaurant of the year, will be announced on August 14.
· The Best New Restaurant in America: The Top 50 [Bon Appetit]
· State Bird Provisions Is Bon App's Restaurant Of The Year [~ ESF ~]
· State Bird, AQ Make Bon App's 2012 Best New Restaurant Top 50 [~ ESF ~]