Downtown's Hottest New Chef (With An Increasingly Costly Menu) Makes Food & Wine Mag's List
Ari Taymor, chef/co-owner at Alma in Downtown L.A., is having quite the year. His restaurant was named Best New Restaurant in America by Bon Appetit last August, now Food & Wine has him listed as one of the Best New Chefs for 2014.
Taymor's Broadway District restaurant is known for its cutting-edge approach to farm-to-table cooking, which includes working directly with his own farmer in Venice. Courtney Guerra grows the gorgeous herbs herbs and produce that adorn his thoughtfully-presented plates.
He recently announced that he'll no longer be doing the five-course $65 tasting menu that originally drew in Downtown denizens, and will only be offering a $95 tasting, with optional wine pairings for an extra $55. Thusly, a fully-loaded dinner date for two, after tax and tip, will run $387.
If this move sounds familiar, it's because it probably is. A lot of these super small, chef-focussed, tasting menu-only restaurants like Torrisi in New York (still one of our faves in the country as is with their other restaurant, Carbone) have started out low-balling to get diners engaged, then hike the price once the buzz comes along. Similarly, Curtis Stone's fantastic 25-seater Maude, opened last month with the price at $75, and is currently up to $80. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course; those teensy yet intimate restaurants make it hard to turn a profit.
Other noms for the prestigious award—which perhaps not surprisingly is a big old boys club—include Justin Yu from Oxheart in Houston; Cara Stadler from Tao Yuan in Brunswick, ME; Greg Denton from Ox in Portland, OR; Matthew Accarrino from SPQR in San Francisco; Paul Qui from Qui in Austin; Eli Kulp from Fork in Philadelphia; Dave Beran from Next in Chicago; Matt McCallister from FT33 in Dallas; and Walker Stern and Joe Ogrodnek from Dover in Brooklyn.
Food & Wine's Editor in Chief Dana Cowin announced Taymor and the other Best New Chefs by posting selfies with each of them on her Instagram feed. Food & Wine is also running a People's Best New Chefs award, which were voted on by the public. The winners will be announced tomorrow.