It has not been a good year for fine dining. Many culinary institutions closed their doors permanently in 2010, and others cut back on finery, lowered their prices and worked to appeal to a broader class of consumers who sought a more casual setting and relaxed atmosphere.
Of course, restaurants have to evolve with the times, but this year’s inductees into the Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame have done that while remaining establishments that treat food as art and the very act of eating as a cause for celebration.
2010 Fine Dining Hall of Fame
As most other restaurants, even in the fine-dining segment, have moved in these uncertain times to appeal to their customers’ inner meat loaf lover, Alinea in Chicago has stayed on the cutting edge of new culinary techniques.
Stella! in New Orleans has literally weathered storms and emerged as a distinctive voice that upholds the Crescent City’s culinary traditions while exploring new ones as well.
Mélisse has shown that “over the top” fine dining even has a place in casual Los Angeles.
And Per Se has successfully reinterpreted The French Laundry’s culture for a New York audience, maintaining Thomas Keller’s sharp focus on applying the best techniques to the best ingredients.
Finally, this year’s Fine Dining Legend, Lidia Bastianich, has over the past 40 years helped garner for Italian food a level of respect that once was reserved for French cuisine.
It is with pleasure and honor that we share the stories of the Fine Dining Hall of Fame class of 2010.