Taking a look at some of the finalists, State Bird Provisions and Rich Table were both selected in the category of Best New Restaurant. I think it’s always a bit surprising to have two nominees from one market in this category, but as I have written in the past, I believe both are very worthy nominees.
Previous coverage: Best New Restaurants of 2012
A16 being named a finalist for Outstanding Wine Program and Bar Agricole for Outstanding Cocktail Program were not a surprise as both restaurants have displayed their excellence year after year. Two restaurants that I wish got a bit more recognition in these categories are Aziza and St. Vincent. Aziza is more known for its amazing food but the cocktails are on par with any bar or restaurant in San Francisco. And although fairly new, St. Vincent’s beer and wine program is stellar from top to bottom.
In the category of Best Chef: West, the Bay Area once again has four nominees to one in Southern California. Last year, those odds were defied by Matt Molina from Osteria Mozza. The four Bay Are finalists this year are Chris Cosentino from Incanto, Christopher Kostow from The Restaurant at Meadowood, Corey Lee from Benu and Daniel Patterson of Coi. Plenty of other big local names were left out, but I really think it’s a fine list and great representation of the Bay Area. I would have no problem with any of the four winning and feel like the names left off the finalist list were just as deserving. Lots of talented chefs in the Bay Area.
Finally, in the always competitive Rising Star Chef category (chefs 30 and younger), two locals, Thomas McNaughton of Central Kitchen (and flour + water) and Danny Bowien from Mission Chinese Food were both selected as finalists. Two terrific chefs at two of the most talked about restaurants in the Bay Area, both with a cult following, but also plenty of critics to boot. Honestly, call me a hipster, but I think both chefs are amazingly talented both in the kitchen and projects they have lined up outside the kitchen and are both very worthy nominees.
Click here for the entire list of finalists.