Eater’s roving critic, Bill Addison, has spent the past year eating his way through the country, from West to East, North to South, and everywhere in between. He’s a nomad, traveling through the country’s restaurants to unearth meaning and raise up the work of talented chefs. So, it comes as no surprise that San Francisco scored two spots on Addison’s list highlighting 18 of America’s best new restaurants: Nyum Bai, and True Laurel.
Nite Yun of Nyum Bai, also a newly minted Eater Young Gun, has created a menu of Cambodian cuisine that Addison says “ is one of the new pinnacles among Oakland’s incredibly dynamic dining scene.” It’s a “living document of her family’s journey from Cambodia to California,” says Addison, who deems it “too accessible to miss.” (Eater critic Rachel Levin concurred in her recent three-star review, calling Nyum Bai “just the kind of restaurant America needs more of.”)
Then there’s True Laurel, the cocktail and dinner destination from Lazy Bear chef David Barzelay and bar manager and partner Nicolas Torres. The duo is able to successfully take the idea of a cocktail-heavy restaurant with fine-dining-worthy small plates to a new level, “propelling these notions to higher national standards.” The interior, too, is worthy of mention: it’s an art installation with tributes to mid-century designers and thoughtful use of space. The combination of Torres’ cocktails that “quicken the mind,” and Barzelay and chef de cuisine Geoff Davis’s riffs on Americana bar food have created “a sanctuary for comfort with unusual wit and style, a welcome model.”