BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (TheStreet) -- Summer is bringing a bevy of hot restaurants to a city near you, with a familiar crop of culinary names as well as a few foodie newbies who are having a banner season.
In New York, Chef Andrew Carmellini is one of those familiar names, having worked in the kitchen of Cafe Boulud and transformed Ago in the Greenwich Hotel into Locanda Verde, one of the city's hottest Italian eateries. Now comes The Dutch, a thoroughly American kitchen occupying a stylish corner space of the Lower Village that lures a mix of plaid-clad dudes and fashionable media types for all-day dining and a late-night supper menu.
Inside, elements of a classic American grill of the '30s and '40s echo through the dark wood paneling of booths and banquettes accented with industrial details such as a stacked-iron bar and vintage chalkboards. A New England-style raw bar includes daily fresh oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp and shellfish by the platter. Appetizers are a bit more exotic, including asparagus topped with poached egg and ruby red shrimp with fried green tomatoes. Main courses include an adventurous rabbit potpie with spring veggies, black cod with smoked mushrooms and braised veal with artichokes.
Across town at the new Yotel New York -- the uber-affordable micro-hotel chain that got its start inside European airports has debuted near Times Square -- there's an eatery by Richard Sandoval, the chef who brought the world La Biblioteca, Pampano and Maya. Dohyo is named after the platform used in Sumo fighting, but this communal-style eatery feels like a cafeteria from The Jetsons with its tables that drop to floor level so the space can double as a lounge after hours. The menu is small-plates Asian with a Latin influence, meaning seafood ceviche followed by grilled spare ribs and steamed crab dumplings.
In Chicago, Tribute has just opened in the city's ever-hot South Loop with a classic American kitchen led by Chef Lawrence Letrero. A Canada native, Letrero previously worked at Chicago's Perennial Restaurant and vegan eatery Karyn's On Green and had a stint at New York's Per Se, where he honed an interest in local sustainable cuisine that will be implemented for dishes such as Minorca clam chowder and confit pork belly with sweet potato panna cotta. The space is one of the larger to open this year in Chicago and will include a bar and lounge with communal dining as well as an L-shaped dining room with banquettes and a private-room option.
In San Francisco, two eateries have managed to stay atop a fickle dining scene where new is always hotter -- both in the Mission District:
Commonwealth is led by the former chef of the one-star Michelin vegetarian eatery Ubuntu in Napa, and leans on earthy elements of soft light and natural hickory woods with simple brick walls interrupted by panels of glass. Its progressive American menu includes tasting and a la carte options, with star dishes such as veal cheeks with artichokes, crispy ham and smoked marrow or sea urchin with asparagus and soft-scrambled eggs on brioche. A $10 donation is made to a local charity from the order of each tasting menu.
Saison is now a culinary household name in San Francisco. Once a simple pop eatery, it is now one of the hottest and most awarded restaurants in the city. Its Folsom Street address comes with a rustic wooden fence and iron gate leading to the main eatery and a dining room that was once a 19th century carriage house, complete with asymmetrical roofline and terrace that looks like it was just relocated from Provence. Led by Chef Joshua Skenes, the menu -- written by hand -- offers locally sourced seafood and regional produce often picked within hours of eating.
Further south on the West Coast, Los Angeles is soon to be the culinary home of Top Chef-winner Michael Voltaggio, who is opening Ink along a posh strip of Melrose Avenue alongside such stores as Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen. The restaurant will likely bring an edgier vibe to a neighborhood more known for pretty Francophile eateries. Formerly a sushi eatery affiliated with ex-Hollywood agent Micheal Ovitz, the space will feature an omakase-style dining experience, with upfront tables of eight seats where visitors can eat while watching the kitchen in action and living out any Top Chef fantasies.
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