OpenTable Restaurant Reviews Reveal #DinersChoice Top 30 Best BBQ Restaurants in America

Best BBQIn a nod to our nation’s longstanding love affair with barbecuing, we are pleased to honor the 2014 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 30 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for approximately 19,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Showcasing regional styles and techniques, including dry rubs and wet brines, the winning eateries use a balance of nuanced spices and smoke to bring forth complex flavors in their barbecue dishes. The complete list includes notable restaurants in 12 states and Washington, D.C., such as Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Harlem, Lambert’s Downtown BBQ in Austin, and Wexler’s in San Francisco. California has six award winners, followed by Illinois and New York with five each, Texas with four, and Ohio with two. Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin are also represented. Continue Reading

Everything But the Grill: Fourth of July Restaurant Dishes Help You Declare Your Independence

Tomorrow is Independence Day in the U.S. Fireworks aren’t the only fourth of July tradition. There are a whole host of dishes and ingredients that have come to define the holiday. And, thanks to the pros, you don’t have to prepare them yourself! There are plenty of restaurants open for business on the Fourth of July. And, many serve up delightful versions of the foods that we associate so closely with this national holiday. Whet your appetite with some of our favorites, courtesy of Foodspotting, and then book a reservation!

Lobster Roll

Todd English P.U.B. prepared this delish take on the traditional lobster roll.

Strawberry Shortcake

This simple dessert gets a regal update, courtesy of Gramercy Tavern in New York City.

Watermelon Gazpacho

Keep your cool with watermelon gazpacho, such as this bowl of refreshing goodness served up by The Spence in Atlanta.

Grilled Steak

No one is saying you can’t grill, but can you grill a hangar steak like the pros at Tilth in Seattle?


The Black Label Burger by  Minetta Tavern in Manhattan.
Accept no substitutes.

Housemade Hot Dog

Cooking hot dogs is easy, but making them like the chefs at Absinthe Brasserie in San Francisco? Not so much.

Grilled Corn

The chefs at Miss Lily’s in NYC kick up grilled corn with jerk mayo and toasted coconut.

Blueberry Pie

Blueberries realize their full flavor potential in this icebox blueberry pie from Hungry Mother in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Trending on Recent OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Brisket

Researching this post inspired me to go out — for brisket! I can now say with much conviction that I embrace this trend.

Humble brisket has gotten a promotion. Not just relegated to the holidays any longer, brisket in all its homey goodness is getting another look from chefs of all cuisines and is finding its way into ravioli, empanadas, tacos, and, of course, on to plates of barbecue at some of the nation’s best restaurants. Find out what OpenTable diners are saying about brisket in recent reviews — and share your fave place to serve this dish in the comments section. 

1886 Cafe & Bakery, Austin, Texas: “The brisket-burger (known as the Austin, TX) literally melted in our mouths.”

Alma Cocina, Atlanta, Georgia: “Brisket enchiladas were delicious!”

Basso, St. Louis, Missouri: “Main course consisted of the mushroom ravioli, the beef brisket rigatoni, and the emo punk pizza. All three entrees were great, especially to share and get the variety.”

Blue Smoke, New York, New York: “I had the Pit BBQ sampler and the food was great. I’m still trying to decide if I liked the brisket, pulled pork, or chicken the best. Great food and atmosphere!”

Distrito at the Saguaro Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona: “The brisket is rich and smoky.”

Dogwood Restaurant, Baltimore, Maryland: “The braised beef brisket was amazing, and I wished for more leftovers, so I could have enjoyed it for a few more meals!”

* E&E Grill House,  New York, New York: “Enjoyable dining experience. Wait staff friendly, attentive. Food excellent. Our party of four had salmon, scallops, slow roasted brisket, and the hangar steak. All done to perfection, as was the grilled asparagus.”

El Centro D.F., Washington, D.C.: “Awesome! Mango margarita, brisket enchiladas, fantastic service. A+ all the way. :)”

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Top Chef Texas Episode 9: Chef Ed ‘Swiss Miss’ Hardy on McGee, Magic + Meat

"Has anyone seen My Pretty Pony?"

Straight from the slopes of Switzerland, we’re rehashing the latest episode of Top Chef: Texas and some other Very Big Issues with Ed Hardy of Red Rooster Harlem.

Happy New Year! I think you spent it abroad, and, luckily, we had a repeat last week. Where were you, and why doesn’t that country have U.S. cable?

I was in Switzerland hanging with Richard Branson and Prince Harry in Verbier. Those wealthy Brit types sure like to get drunk and violent in quaint and idyllic Switzerland ski towns! By the way, I brought you back some of the best macarons ever: Luxemburgli. As for the cable, au contraire, my dear. It does have U.S. shows re-packaged for French-types. All the bad ones. I think I’ve stumbled onto the reason why Europeans have such a low view of us. No Emmy-award winning shows here. Mad Men? 30 Rock? Puh-leeze Try MTV Cribs and The Jersey Shore re-dubbed in French. Quelle horreur!

You’re a Harold McGee fan. I can still hear dear Chef Martin scoffing, “McGee!” You must be able to tell me about Mr. Mhyrvold, then. His books seem too long and spendy to me. Also, is he a late-life savant, a scientist, or a bonafide chef?

Scientist. Not a chef. Also a Dr. not a Mr. (despite some cheftestants calling him “chef”). He’s a former Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft, and, generally, an all-around rocket scientist. He turned a small personal fortune into an extremely well-equipped food research lab that has employed around 20 people for the past 10 years. The Modernist Cuisine cookbooks are gorgeous and have ground-breaking food photography. My food-journalist wife has actually had the experience of eating a tasting menu cooked by Doc Myrvold both in New York and in his secret technology lair in Seattle. The books are long and, certainly, expensive, but, oh my! Look at those photos. Look at those techniques. Chef Ed wanty very badly.

Paul practices his 1,000-yard stare in a failed attempt to intimidate Tom.

Chief Technology Officer! That sounds important, though not nearly as cool as Chief Dining Officer. Okay, Chris Jones is killing me here. Is he saying he has invented techniques that are in this book? Can this be true?

He’s not lying. The Moto guys are, by any measure, leaders in the molecular gastronomy movement. Chris’s boss is even in the Modernist Cuisine index under “Cantu, Homaro.”  See “on carbonated grapes, 2-469″ and “edible films of, 4-60.”

Is Modernist Cuisine magic, like Doug Henning?

No. It’s science. Mind you, it’s fun Mr. Wizard-meets-Mythbusters-meets-Monty-Python science. Magic happens when cheese ages and wine ferments. True Doug Henning magic happens when Jamón Ibérico ages in some ancient Spanish farmhouse. One slice and you will have faith again, my meat-skeptic, vegan-leaning blogging companion!Continue Reading