When it comes to American food, you can think beyond burgers, hot dogs and fried chicken. Modern American cuisine has deeply matured in the past few decades, moving from mere regional culinary traditions to a deft fusion of haute classical technique coupled with pristine local, seasonal ingredients. Bison tenderloin, pheasant and Louisiana crawfish are all part of a new landscape of inventive dishes.
From dramatic, formal tasting menus to post-modern playfulness and rolling "dim sum carts," chefs across the nation continue to develop American cuisine with a vernacular of its own. These standout restaurants push boundaries with their uniquely American energy and creativity.
1. Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Experience Dan Barber's dynamic tasting menus in an elegant restaurant uniquely situated on a working farm that grows most of the kitchen's ingredients.
2. The Church Key
West Hollywood, CA
A European feel and inspired Pacific Northwest flavors draw Seattle diners to this stylish, modern spot that highlights haute fermenting, fireplace cooking and foraged fare.
New York, NY
Chef John Fraser's creative, market-fresh American cuisine is artfully presented amidst intimate, posh Upper West Side surroundings.
It may be The Ritz-Carlton, but chef Dean Fearing's bold flavors are puttin' on a Texas twang in deluxe dishes like maple-black peppercorn buffalo tenderloin.
5. Girl & The Goat
Fun and funky, this burlap-walled West Loop restaurant features "Top Chef" winner Stephanie Izard's cooking; expect the unexpected. Try to get a seat near the kitchen line to take in the action.
6. K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen
New Orleans, LA
Superb Cajun-Creole cuisine including gumbo, crawfish and catfish is found in this Big Easy establishment by the legendary chef Paul Prudhomme.
Chef/owner William Belickis attracts chic gourmands for casual lounge grazing or more serious fine dining at one of Seattle's premier destinations.
8. One Market
San Francisco, CA
Bradley Ogden founded this festive San Francisco spot at the Embarcadero more than two decades ago, but today chef Mark Dommen helms the stoves turning out sophisticated farm-to-table dishes that celebrate gorgeous Bay Area produce and seafood.
"Top Chef" alum Bryan Voltaggio spotlights seasonal Chesapeake ingredients from farm and sea at his sprawling, high-end, Washington, DC, restaurant.
10. Restaurant Eugene
A top Atlanta dining destination, Restaurant Eugene's luxe New American cuisine has a decidedly Southern sensibility with dishes ranging from local pheasant with Tennessee truffles to chess pie with juniper.
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