Last week, Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold revealed his second annual, highly anticipated 101 Best Restaurants list, which came in the form of a nifty black booklet only available to subscribers (sorry to those of you who flocked to newsstands). At the top of the heap, Providence came in again at number 1, while last year’s number 2 (Urasawa) dropped off the list entirely, replaced by Spago. Roy Choi’s POT made its debut, as well as Orsa & Winston, République, and Guerrilla Tacos. Like any list worth its salt, it left many debating the logic behind the selections. (Why is the beloved Apple Pan missing?)To add to the drama, you could tweet questions to Gold during a live video talk. Gold, strangely, was in silhouette, despite his well-documented appearance. Below are highlights from his chat-up with LA Times food blogger Jenn Harris.
On Urasawa’s absence:
“It’s a spectacular restaurant, but it’s so expensive. No, really. You have a reasonable bottle of sake, omakase, and with tax and tip you’re walking out with a bill that’s $1,100 to $1,300. There are other places where maybe you could get a better experience for less money.”
On new addition POT:
“What Roy is doing in looking at Korean food from a Korean-American perspective ... [it’s] respectful but also thumbing its nose at tradition. It works on a million different levels. If Quentin Tarantino was a restaurateur, this might be something he’d come up with.”
“The best knishes in LA are the tiny potato ones that sometimes come as part of the amuse-bouche at CUT in Beverly Hills. You can probably demand them if they don’t show up. They’re perfectly crisp, creamy on the inside, and have a nice oniony taste.”
On overrated restaurants making the list:
“The idea of a restaurant being overrated is funny. I’m a critic for the LA Times, so if one is overrated, it’s a restaurant I like. I’m the last person on Earth that you’d want to ask about an overrated restaurant in LA. It’s a complete paradox.”
Screen shots from LATimes.com
Justin Bolois is a writer living in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBolois.