When dieticians ask folks to monitor what they’re eating, they realize that some things are going to fall by the wayside. No one can be expected to remember every fry or California roll he ingests. Health experts have a term for these crumbs that get through the proverbial cracks — the eye-mouth gap. The bad news for people out there genuinely trying to count every calorie is that things aren’t going to be getting any easier anytime soon. Scrumptious new spots from James Beard Award winners and reality-show chefs are opening all across the globe over the next few months, almost taunting you and your meal logs to keep up. Admitting defeat before we see dessert, we’re not even going to try to tally our intake. Instead, we’ll be at a corner table at one of these five spots, sampling all the great food being prepared this spring.
The Luminary, Atlanta
Atlanta’s Krog Street Market is a sparkling new mixed-use space that the city has been buzzing about for some time now. With the place finally starting to resemble what glossy renderings have long teased, excitement is boiling over. Another reason for optimism of late stems from the list of chefs (Todd Ginsberg, Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Ford Fry) with announced projects cooking up at the market. Eli Kirshtein, another talented toque who starred on Top Chef: Las Vegas, has the pleasure of being the chef to open the first restaurant in the complex, with The Luminary slated for May. Billed as “regionalized and updated bistro fare,” the eatery’s take on steak frites and seafood towers should mesh well with the area’s hip-yet-relaxed aesthetic. Though design details have been largely kept under wraps, we fully expect a clean, industrial vibe that flows with the market’s air of exposed-brick brilliance.
Faith & Flower, Los Angeles
We’re not ashamed to declare our love for L.A.’s revitalized downtown. With great entertainment at Walt Disney Concert Hall and decent Clippers basketball at Staples Center, the area is starting to take some of the after-hours juice from other popular neighborhoods. With the March 31 opening of this restaurant, the dining scene has gotten a boost, too. The tantalizing team of executive chef Michael Hung (formerly of Four-Star La Folie), lead mixologist Michael Lay (Restaurant 1833) and pastry chef Ben Spungin (Four-Star Bernardus Lodge) anchors things, making it hard to bet against Faith & Flower (the former and current names of the establishment’s cross street). And after tasting the Dungeness crab toast, duck liver mousse tarts and other examples of California’s redefined rustic cuisine, you’d be silly not to give the downtown destination a shot. But on the off chance all of that still isn’t enough to sway you from Santa Monica or Abbot Kinney for dinner, the sheer look of the place — distressed doors, Robert Vargas mural at the bar, and 140 leather and textured seats — more than does its part to capture your attention.
To separate a new restaurant from the bevy of established options already in South Florida, you need to showcase a menu with some spunk and a dining area with a bit of pizzazz. And it certainly doesn’t hurt matters to have a leader with a bit of name recognition — Carla Pellegrino is a Top Chef: Seattle alum with more than a decade of experience in various kitchens in New York (Baldoria) and Las Vegas (Rao’s). With this first foray into Miami that opened on April 3, she showcases a design eye for clean whites, light woods, a waterfall wall and 360-degree views from a 7,100-square-foot space sitting on the top floor of the just-opened 24-hour nightclub E11even Miami. Nearly as easy on the eyes is a menu of globally influenced dishes — beef carpaccio, lobster fra diavolo and salmon harissa — that still somehow makes its way back to Pellegrino’s Italian roots.
DB Brasserie, Las Vegas
If the “DB Brasserie” name strikes a familiar chord with you, it’s for good reason — Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Daniel Boulud ran a similar concept at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Wynn Las Vegas for five years before closing it back in 2010. After taking a little time to exhale — not to mention open four other eateries around the globe — Boulud is readying to serve Sin City another dish of French cuisine with a twist. This time around, patrons who visit the 280-seat restaurant at Four-Star The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino will be able to feast on clean design elements (hardwoods, hints of green on the flooring and furniture, faux skylights) and a host of goodies coming off the stove. Early menu highlights include poulet croustillant (crispy chicken) and, of course, the Original DB Burger, giving Vegas foodies who’ve missed the old Brasserie plenty to look forward to when this new one opens next month.
Fera at Claridge’s, London
Aflutter with traffic during afternoon tea and bustling with patrons after hours at its bars, Claridge’s seemingly had all hours of the day pretty well covered. With the May 6 opening of this London restaurant, though, even more attention will be made toward the dinnertime hours at the Five-Star hotel. With celebrated British chef Simon Rogan at the helm, Fera (Latin for “wild”) will center its two nightly multi-course menus around highly seasonal ingredients (it also will be open for lunch). The interior of the 90-seat space (which formerly housed Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant) comes from designer Guy Oliver. His modern styling combined with Claridge’s timeless Art Deco sensibilities will certainly make for a swanky spot for guests who are too late for tea but want a sophisticated meal before ordering cocktails.
Photos Courtesy of Touché and Faith & Flower