ALTF4
Topic Author
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Best Restaurant In The US?

Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:42 pm

So - quite simply - I'm looking for the best restaurant you have been to in the U.S. Preferably not "chain" brands but really something that had fantastic food.

Any nominations?
The above post is my opinion. Don't like it? Don't read it.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:48 pm

Quoting ALTF4 (Thread starter):

Any nominations?

Any mom-and-pop joint in downtown Houston has excellent food, and cheap. Great for lunch breaks.

However, I can't really think of any single place I've been to in the US where I was truly blown away by the food, and I've been to MANY places. Then again I'm extremely hard to please, as I was brought up by a chef, my mom no less     
 
LH459
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:58 pm

Wow, that is a really difficult question. I've been to many excellent restaurants here in the Bay Area. Here are two that stand out in my memory:

http://www.mezze.com/Mezze/Dinner_Menu.html

I realize that this menu might not seem terribly exciting to everyone, but the execution is just superb. I've never had a bad meal there, and every bite has been amazingly flavorful. Plus, they always serve an outstanding, complimentary amuse bouche.

http://www.fireflyrestaurant.com/menu.html

is another one of my favorites. It's a small neighborhood restaurant, which happens to serve really good food. That's not uncommon in the Bay Area, but I feel like this place is better than most!

On the opposite coast, this is my favorite restaurant bar none in Boston:

http://www.brasseriejoboston.com/

I can't go to Boston without at least stopping in for a drink and appetizer there. The food is so amazingly good!
"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is temporary; the evil it does is permanent" - Ghandi
 
srbmod
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:07 am

Todd English P.U.B. Las Vegas, NV Todd English's take on pub grub. Not quite gastropub, not quite sports bar.

Triple George Grill Las Vegas, NV Modern take on the classic old school steakhouse. They have one of the best bars in Las Vegas.

Firefly* Las Vegas, NV Worth visiting just for their bacon-wrapped dates.

Fox Brothers BBQ Atlanta, GA Cheaper than a plane ticket to Texas.
 
Zentraedi
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:20 am

Eleven Madison Park

Best restaurant I've been to in the US. Bit pricey though, if I remember, the bill came to about $650 for my girlfriend and me---not including tip.

I've been to several Michelin starred restaurants in France and Japan, but I still think Eleven Madison Park is better than any of those.

If you are in the Northwest or West suburbs of Chicago, you should stop Montarra.
 
PacNWjet
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:12 am

Quoting ALTF4 (Thread starter):
Preferably not "chain" brands but really something that had fantastic food.

Don't discount "chain" brands. While not necessarily the best restaurants in the U.S., some serve excellent food by anyone's standards. A good example would be Ruth's Chris Steak House. There are dozens throughout the U.S. and other countries and as far as steak houses go, they are hard to beat. Also, some extremely upscale restaurants now have "chains," that is, multiple locations, for example, Wolfgang Puck's Spago.

Having said that, I spent a week last summer at Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana. The restaurant there (no name; just simply the "dining room" at the ranch) had some of the best food I have ever had.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:34 am

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 5):

Don't discount "chain" brands. While not necessarily the best restaurants in the U.S., some serve excellent food by anyone's standards

They're definitely in the minority though. Even the more upscale brands are mediocre at best. And even bird poop tastes better than anything coming out of Olive Garden, Applebee's, Chilli's, Outback, Red Lobster, etc

The very few, not-too-big chains I like are Houston's (great prime rib and burgers) RA Sushi (always fresh and insanely gorgeous waitresses), PF Changs (all around good Chinese food) and Claim Jumper (but just for the 1lb burgers).

Unlike the other crap places mentioned earlier, I've found these other ones to be much much more consistent with food quality and service. They're more expensive, but as with everything, you get what you pay for.
 
dxing
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:18 am

Quoting srbmod (Reply 3):
GA Cheaper than a plane ticket to Texas.

Well you have to qualify that. East of the Mississippi BBQ is almost always pulled pork while west of the river it is almost always beef brisket. Up north BBQ is considered pork spare ribs. In Georgia I found no other place that topped Country's BBQ in Columbus. Especially neat was how they renovated the old Greyhound bus station down on Broadway.

http://www.countrysbbq.com/menus-locations/

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 1):
Any mom-and-pop joint in downtown Houston has excellent food, and cheap. Great for lunch breaks.

I'll ante up the District 7 Grill.

Other than that, trying to nail down the best restaurant in the U.S. will be like trying to herd cats.
Warm winds blowing, heating blue skies, a road that goes forever, I'm going to Texas!
 
steeler83
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:03 am

I cannot remember the name of this Italian restaurant in New York's meat packing district, but I remember when I was there on Christmas Day, 2008. Then, it was this little, quaint traditional Italian place, and they had, in my opinion, some of the best Italian food I ever had! I cannot remember the entree I had, besides a ravioli dish, but I will always remember the dessert and after-dinner drink. I had a zabiglioni and this coffee-flavored dinner drink. My future father-in-law had this blueberry drink that you could start a mack truck with!
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ipodguy7
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:10 am

Chicago- Charlie Trotter's, Spiaggia, Tru
New York- Babbo (Mario Batalli), Four Seasons, Alto, Nobu
Dallas- Dean Fearings (at the Ritz Carlton)
Nashville- Capital Grille (at the Hermitage)
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Okie
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:23 am

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 5):
A good example would be Ruth's Chris Steak House


  

Baton Rouge, Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, Tampa, Destin, West Palm Beach are a few that I have frequented.

Local in OKC would be "The Ranch" similar to Ruth's Chris or "Cattleman's" in the stock yards they have a special ranch dressing but the steaks are just slightly above average.

Okie
 
ALTF4
Topic Author
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:29 am

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 5):
Don't discount "chain" brands. While not necessarily the best restaurants in the U.S., some serve excellent food by anyone's standards. A good example would be Ruth's Chris Steak House. There are dozens throughout the U.S. and other countries and as far as steak houses go, they are hard to beat. Also, some extremely upscale restaurants now have "chains," that is, multiple locations, for example, Wolfgang Puck's Spago.

Yes, I know. I have been to a few that are good - but they are all the same, no local flavor or different flairs to it.

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 6):
They're definitely in the minority though. Even the more upscale brands are mediocre at best. And even bird poop tastes better than anything coming out of Olive Garden, Applebee's, Chilli's, Outback, Red Lobster, etc

I agree. Outback might be ok, but these:

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 6):
Houston's
Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 6):
PF Changs

are decent. I might add Maggiano's to that list - for some reason I love their food.

Quoting dxing (Reply 7):
Other than that, trying to nail down the best restaurant in the U.S. will be like trying to herd cats.

True, but I'm just asking for personal favorites  


Thanks for the suggestions so far guys!
The above post is my opinion. Don't like it? Don't read it.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:12 am

Quoting ALTF4 (Reply 11):
Outback might be ok,

I think they're extremely overrated and overpriced. Their steaks suck. Don't get why everybody raves about them.

I don't fancy steakhouses actually, not in the US at least. I always turn out disappointed.

For $8 I can pick up an excellent 1.2lb boneless rib-eye steak at Fry's and grill it myself and have it taste better than a $50 steakhouse random piece of cow. And I use salt and pepper, and thats it.

My chef/mom taught me well   
 
MingToo
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:52 am

The Cambridge Brewing Company in Boston

http://www.cambrew.com/

I went there for an evening a couple of years ago. They had a special deal although I don't think it is there all the time. 5 courses each with a different beer selected by the brew master to compliment the dish. All for $50.

3 of the beers were full pints and 2 were just half pints. Make sure you take plenty of women in the group then you can just finish up the beer that they can't drink  
 
AzoresLover
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:44 am

My personal favorite: Papadeaux.

During the 1990s they had locations only in Texas, and I ate at several of them in both the Dallas and Houston areas. But they have since expanded to other areas. My most recent visit was to the one in the Atlanta area.

Excellent menu, including some unusual items very hard to find in other restaurants, great variety of seafood items.
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waterpolodan
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:25 am

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 6):
chains I like are Houston's (

Ugh, I used to work there and maybe it was eating that food every day that made me sick of it, but I can't stand that place any more. Yes, the service will always be prompt and efficient and the food isn't bad, I'd just choose one of 100 other local places in any given city before I'd go for the "corporate meal".

I've only really experienced the full breadth of food in 2 cities in this country- Miami and New Orleans. For Miami, I don't really have a favorite as it's such an eclectic mix and not really a very old town with a long tradition of food like NY. My favorite place to get a sandwich or a quick dinner is a hole in the wall called Whisk in Coral Gables, excellent place run by family friends that never disappoints me. New Orleans is by many accounts one of the best food cities in the country, and of all the great places to eat there, my top pick would be either a place called Bayona in the French Quarter, or Jacques-Imo's, a place uptown. Both of them have great atmosphere, great people, and food that is worth dreaming over even though it's been over 2 years since I enjoyed either place. Best in the country? To me, probably, because I love cajun food.
 
kmh1956
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:34 pm

I went to this place many years ago, and have never forgotten it...amazing ambiance; great food...
http://www.commonmanrestaurant.com/

From the looks of it, it hasn't changed since 1979 at all....
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Stealthz
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:56 pm

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 12):
I don't fancy steakhouses actually, not in the US at least. I always turn out disappointed.

As was I.
Some years ago while on business in Denver (well, Louisville to be exact) one of my hosts took me to dinner, she offered seafood but being from Sydney that didn't seem to be that big of an attraction in CO, we ended up in a steakhouse in Denver.
Experience was OK but at the time the exchange rate was approx 2:1 so whilst a nice piece of meat it WAS NOT an AUD$80 steak(++ for each vegetable)...
Thinking about it the glass of wine in the bar in Boulder was AUD$20 or so and certainly didn't earn it!

And while everyone thinks I am being critical of all things American, in transit to CO I dined at a steak restaurant in San Francisco, somewhere near Union Square that I would crawl over broken glass to get back to but cannot recall the name.

Cheers
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mbmbos
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:00 pm

The Pink Adobe in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Continental cuisine with a New Mexican flare. Outstanding service and ambiance that can't be beat.

http://www.thepinkadobe.com/
 
LH459
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:19 pm

Quoting Stealthz (Reply 17):
dined at a steak restaurant in San Francisco, somewhere near Union Square that I would crawl over broken glass to get back to but cannot recall the name.

Can you be any more specific? I work in downtown SF, so I probably know the place...
"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is temporary; the evil it does is permanent" - Ghandi
 
Stealthz
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:37 pm

Quoting LH459 (Reply 19):
Can you be any more specific?

Will have to work on that, somewhere in my "stored stuff" I think I have the receipts etc for that trip... would live to revisit the place!
One of the things I like was that the client I was hosting was really pedantic about his "no-carb" diet** and the chef gave him a really hard time... cheered me somewhat!!

** real pr^&k actually!!
If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:53 pm

Jack Stack Barbecue (Kansas City). The place is amazing. All kinds of meats, smoked in house. They've got some BBQ beans that are just amazing, as well as a whole bunch of other delicious appetizers. Not terribly expensive either.

-DiamondFlyer
From my cold, dead hands
 
waterpolodan
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:16 pm

Quoting kmh1956 (Reply 16):
I went to this place many years ago, and have never forgotten it...amazing ambiance; great food...
http://www.commonmanrestaurant.com/

From the looks of it, it hasn't changed since 1979 at all....

Amazing that you should mention this place! My mom has a condo near Sugarbush and my family meets up every year there for a ski trip, we always have a dinner at the Common Man while we're in town! It's one of my favorite places to eat in Vermont, absolutely delicious, and that's as of this January so it hasn't changed foodwise since you were there, though I was told that the ownership has changed hands in the last 5 years. I'd definitely put that place on my top 10 list of restaurants that I've been to in the US. While on Vermont food, there's nothing like American Flatbread, at the original location just outside Sugarbush. Best pizza I've ever had by about 10 miles, because it's all super-local organic and it has some really interesting pizzas (not to mention local brews on tap like Long Trail and Switchback... mmmmm), though they're only open one night a week and the line is out the door in 10 degree weather so you have to get there early and put your name on the list...
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:43 pm

Quoting MingToo (Reply 13):
Make sure you take plenty of women in the group then you can just finish up the beer that they can't drink

Wouldn't you want the girl to finish up all the beer YOU didn't drink? I think the results may be much more productive, assuming you like women of course   
 
BAKJet
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:54 pm

Zendricks Czech Restaurant in Cedar Rapids, IA used to be by far my favorite restaurant in the US. Unfortunately, it flooded in 2008 and has come back as "The Blue Toad" and is more of a bar than before (since it wasn't really a bar at all before). They still offer alot of the same food, but its not the same. Still, its a way to get Czech food without going a few thousand miles and I LOVE Czech food.
 
ScarletHarlot
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:10 pm

Selecting the best restaurant in the US is impossible, if you ask me, because it's such a personal thing, and while for one person it could be the comfort food of their home region, for another it could be the hautest of cuisine.

My favourite restaurants in the US are:

South City Kitchen, Atlanta. I used to travel to Atlanta a lot and one of my clients took me here. I absolutely loved it. I go there every time I go to Atlanta.

Stripsteak, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas. There are some meals you remember for your entire lifetime and I had one of them here. The meat was the least of the meal. Truffled mac and cheese, jalapeno creamed corn, creamed spinach with bacon, lobster mashed potatoes...absolutely delicious flavours. Even the starter course of a sampler of fries was amazingly good.

The Herbfarm, Woodinville WA. This is a dining experience. I can't tell you exactly what I ate any of the three times I went there but it was interesting and provided unexpected tastes. Four hours, nine courses, with paired wines. A real treat...but not more often than that.

But I also love going to local restaurants. We have several local favourites that we go to often. They're not fancy or expensive, they're just good honest food. Chain restaurants have their place - if you don't have time to research a new place or need something familiar - but I'm horrified at the thought of going somewhere and not taking advantage of local cuisine. I've told the story on here before of my first trip to the South. I went to visit a client in Birmingham, Alabama. We went out for lunch and I was really looking forward to great southern food. They took me to PF Chang's. I almost cried.
But that was when I ruled the world
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Best Restaurant In The US?

Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:45 am

Quoting ScarletHarlot (Reply 25):
We went out for lunch and I was really looking forward to great southern food. They took me to PF Chang's. I almost cried.

I hate when people do that. I usually frequent mom-and-pop shops 80% of the time when I can. However, there's some places where hole-in-the-wall shops are pretty disappointing as a rule. Prescott, AZ was definitely one of them. There were only 2 good mom and pop places to go to. The rest were nasty. And then you had the usual disgusting big chain made-in-china microwaveable food places like Crapplebee's, Chillis and the like. So there was really no lesser evil to choose from. My 5 years in PRC resulted in major culinary horror.   

However, my semester spent living in the Houston Mid-town/Downtown area was culinary bliss. TONS of holes-in-the-wall to choose from and not one of them was mediocre. I was shocked. And I'm certainly not one to be easily impressed, my friends always gave me crap for being so picky.

My favorite place down there was Gray St Cafe. A bit run down by some people's standards but genuinely good, honest home cooking. Their Kabobs and rice Pilaf were epic. And you could get stuffed for just $12. Cute waitresses too.

[Edited 2010-07-21 17:48:39]

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