Over the weekend, all-star chefs from all over the country descended on our fair city for the restaurant portion of the James Beard Awards (the journalism awards were handed out on Friday, and our very own Tejal Rao took one home for criticism). And they’re not just here for the awards, but to hit the newest and best restaurants in town. With so many options and so little time, what makes the list as a must-visit spot?
One popular answer: Carbone.
At 8 p.m. last night, the remixed red-sauce Italian joint from Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick — the guys who are also behind Torrisi and Parm — was a Who’s Who of restaurant-industry heavy hitters: Nate Appleman, a past recipient of the JBF’s Rising Star Chef award who made his name at A-16 and SPQR in San Francisco and now does culinary development for Chipotle, chatted up “Top Chef Masters” alum Naomi Pomeroy, who owns Portland’s Beast (she turned and recommended the cheesecake to the table next to her). Food & Wine’s Kate Krader shared a table with 2010 Food & Wine best new chef Jonathon Sawyer of Cleveland’s Greenhouse Tavern, who was celebrating his birthday with his wife. Food Network host Anne Burrell made an entrance with a crew a bit later to join the festivities.
And while industry peeps held most of the tables in the main dining room, Jake Gyllenhaal also wandered out from the back room a couple of times — in case there was any remaining doubt that Carbone is the current place to see and be seen.
By the way, best place for a nightcap? by the looks of Twitter, a lot of the restaurant crew had a final drink at Joaquín Simó’s East Village cocktail haven Pouring Ribbons.