Here's a conversation starter for tonight's festivities: What were the most important restaurants that opened--and stayed open--this decade? Here are my 10 (okay, with a few more tucked in for good measure) to get things started...
|Before heartland eats were hip, there was Lenny Russo.|
Chef Lenny Russo was among those pioneering the idea of Midwestern eats (along with Lucia Watson and others, of course) back in the 80s, far before locavore was a word and diy-butchering was a Williamsburg hipster's weekend plans. Russo elegant, sophisticated work with the heartland's best flora and fauna helped pave the way for other excellent farm-to-table practitioners like Scott Pampuch at Corner Table
and Mike Phillips at The Craftsman.
2. Chino Latino
Despite the obnoxious bar scene and the unisex bathroom sinks, or whatever else you hate about Chino, here's why it matters: Chino is as accessible as Applebees and a helluva lot more fun. Just look back at those bachelorette party photos from five years back where you're knocking back sake with a kung-fu bandanna tied around your head: you're smiling from ear-to-ear, right? Chino has all the things that people like--a fun drink list, sharable Asian/Latin fare, cheap happy hours, party atmosphere--but then throws in a few cui for good measure.