Congratulations! 2013 James Beard Award Winners

Last night, the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards, otherwise known as the “Oscars” of the food world, were held in New York City. New York OpenTable team members Vince Chiaramonte, Mark Cornell, Samantha Cleaves, Alicia Gomes, Brian Maiorana, and Matt Touron were on hand to cheer on the nominees. You can peep a few pics below and view a list of winners after the break.

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Winning chefs and restaurants include:Continue Reading

Hundred-Layer Lasagne and Other Over-the-Top Signature Dishes

100 Layer Lasagne al Ragù Bolognese at Del Posto

To stand out from the crowd and please the most passionate foodies, many restaurants have focused their efforts on creating a signature dish, one that is singular in execution and gets buzzed about for any number of other reasons. It could be because of a blend of lavish ingredients (such as the db Burger at db Bistro Moderne), unique plating and techniques (such as the confit of Moulard duck “foie gras” at The French Laundry), or simply a hefty pricetag (for the $500 hotpot at Las Vegas restaurant Shaboo).

Chef Mark Ladner spoke with New York Magazine last month about the hundred-layer lasagne he conceived for Mario Batali’s Manhattan restaurant Del Posto. As soon as I read about it, I knew I had to try it. And, I am pleased to report that I enjoyed every single bite. I will admit that I didn’t count the layers — but that’s only because I was too busy eating them! While the dish appears laborious in terms of prep, it is, in truth, a wonderfully simple dish (which was a real relief as it was served in the middle of a seven-course tasting menu).

What over-the-top dishes have you dined on that have truly delivered? Have any not lived up to the hype? Share your stories here and on Facebook.

Well-Reviewed: Barbacco in San Francisco; Bistrot Bruno Loubet in the UK; Madhatter in DC; The Wright at the Guggenheim, and More

The latest of the greatest restaurant reviews…

* Michael Bauer reviews Barbacco, sibling restaurant to successful Perbacco, happily awarding it three stars. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Miami’s Barolo Ristorante has reinvented itself, earning a couple of stars from Victoria Pesce Elliot. [Miami Herald]

* Bistrot Bruno Loubet in London is serving up deep-fried pig, and critic Giles Couren loves every bite at this terrific new restaurant that is “exactly what a bistro is supposed to be.” [London Times Online]

* The food and the service — not the scene — are the real stars at Bistro du Midi in Boston, according to Mat Schaffer. [Boston Herald]

* S. Irene Virbila makes an early visit to Culina, the new restaurant at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, and she’s pleased with what she sees and eats. [Los Angeles Times]

* Madhhatter in Washington, D.C., offers great food and great fun, according to Tom Sietsema. [Washington Post]

* Leslie Brenner of The Dallas Morning News reviews The Mansion Restaurant at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek and writes that “The Mansion matters,” thanks to chef Bruno Davaillon. [The Dallas Morning News]

* Chef Neela Paniz’s newest restaurant, Neela’s, is serving up authentic Indian cuisine with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and bright flavors in Napa. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Preston’s in Dallas is turning out dishes that are super in more ways than one. [NBC Dallas-Fort Worth]

* Mexican restaurant Rustico Grill in Chicago gets a visit from critic Phil Vettel, who finds comfort and value in its menu. [Chicago Tribune]

* The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan has a masterpiece of a restaurant in The Wright. [Toronto Globe and Mail]

* Troy Unruh, former executive chef at Del Posto, has taken his talents to New Jersey’s Zylo, much to the good fortune of Garden State diners. [Newark Star-Ledger]