Much has been said about the region’s celebrity chef restaurant boom, and some of it’s not so good. Don Rockwell called the hot spots “hype-driven, let’s-give-the-restaurant-critics-an-erection outposts.” And Tim Carman devoted a column to discussing how their attention-grabbing “shafts the gifted ethnic chefs and the small-time restaurateurs who can rarely hope to capture the imagination of the dining community.”
That said, this new wave of openings may soon dissipate. Last week’s Washington Post Food section featured an article detailing the staffing shortages facing top chefs in the region, with Restaurant Eve’s Cathal Armstrong claiming that he wouldn’t open another restaurant in the area because he couldn’t find cooks.
So, I figured, why not mention Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants 2007” while we’re still on there.
This year, two local spots made the cut: Brasserie Beck, Penn Quarter’s “big beer house serving generous portions of Alsatian food” and Oyamel, a Mexican restaurant with plates “inspired by the tantalizing street fare of Guadalajara.” Writer John Mariani determined his first list for the magazine 23 years ago.
Two’s a pretty decent showing when examined against the rest of the results (20 restaurants total): New York, 3; Atlanta, 2; San Francisco, 2; Washington D.C., 2; Boston, 1; Cambridge, 1; Cleveland, 1; Dallas, 1; Houston, 1; Los Angeles, 1; Miami, 1; Napa Valley, 1; Philadelphia, 1; Portland, 1; San Diego, 1.