Every year Eater reaches out to friends who cover the food scene and ask what their best —and worst — meals of the past year have been. Today food critics, bloggers, and seriously culinary fans are weighing in on which restaurants they found themselves returning to time and again. Today we ask, what was the biggest surprise of 2017?
Fine dining makes a comeback: stay with me on this. Kado no Mise is fine dining. Grand Café has many elements of fine dining. The Lexington is old school fine dining. Martina and Bellecour are in the Spoon and Stable model of new-style fine dining (what I call fine dining with jeans). Maybe expense accounts are back, maybe people want to be taken care of again!
Stephanie A. Meyer, culinary coach, blogger
The closing of Surly Brewer’s Table.
Mecca Bos, GoMn.com
Chefs leaving their own restaurants. I speak of Landon Schoenefeld of Nighthawks, and Patrick Anatalian of Sanctuary. Quoting Schoenefeld: "Sometimes the weight of your dreams can crush you." Best to get out while you're still in one piece, chef. Best of luck to you both.
Jess Fleming, Pioneer Press
Vegan finally catching on.
Nancy Ngo, Pioneer Press
Mike Rakun’s turnover of Marin into Mercy Bar & Restaurant put him more on the radar. It was great to see what he could when designing a northwoods menu in his own vision and experience his food in another way. His new place Benedict’s in Wayzata is also serving up some consistently tasty dishes.
Amelia Rayno, Star Tribune
The emergence of great, varied seafood in the TC both at a couple of killer restaurants (Martina and Octo) and in retail (Almanac); and the movement toward cheaper cocktails – woo hoo!
Joy Summers, Eater Twin Cities
The Lex finally opened was embraced by most of the city and all the major players are still intact.