Last week, Bon Appetit unveiled 50 nominees for its Hot Ten, which is what Andrew Knowlton, the magazine’s restaurant writer, calls his annual list of the country’s best new restaurants. One New Orleans restaurant, MoPho, was among the honored.

It wasn’t cool enough to make the Hot Ten.

Rose’s Luxury, in Washington, DC, topped Knowlton’s list; it was named Bon App’s Restaurant of the Year. Two Texas restaurants, San Antonio’s Hot Joy and Austin’s Thai Kun, also made the grade.

Last week, Southern Living magazine’s Jennifer Cole unveiled her list of the South’s 10 best new restaurants. (Rose’s Luxury came in at #2, behind Kimball House, an excellent oyster bar in Decatur, Ga.) While a slew of New Orleans restaurants, including Coquette, Domenica, Gautreau’s and Toup’s Meatery, made Southern Living’s larger list of the 100 Best Restaurants in the South, none were named among its best new restaurants.

The Southern Living feature prompted my colleague Chris Waddington to ask readers if new restaurants in New Orleans were getting unfairly snubbed by the national media. My position, copied from the comments beneath Chris’ post:

“There is only so much I can contribute to this particular conversation. Jennifer eats more widely across the South than I do. That said, I do think the crop of new restaurants that have opened in New Orleans over the last several years, much as I like many of them, are not, when it comes to cuisine, of the hard-striving variety that tends to crack these sorts of lists. There are exceptions, of course, Square Root being the most obvious example, followed by Carrollton Market. But otherwise, the new places that have excited me in New Orleans have been button-down restaurants in the mid-range of the price scale like MoPho, Oxalis, Pizza Domenica, Oak Oven and Milkfish. Much as I admire what those and other places do, they aren’t the type of restaurants (MoPho being a possible exception) I’d expect to see on national “Best” lists like Southern Living’s.”

My position applies to the Bon Appetit list, too, so I thought I’d post it here. Would love to hear from readers who agree or disagree – or are simply sick of lists.


by Brett Anderson

The Times Picayune -