CNN Money has come out with The World's Top 50 Restaurants taken from a survery by the British Magazine "Restaurant".
Its an interesting excercise; and of course a deeply flawed and controversial one. The western-palate bias is obvious; the London outpost of a New York sushi joint (Nobu London #20) supposedly makes better sushi than anywhere in Japan. And who knew that the best Chinese in the world (Hakkasan #30) is found in London's Fitzrovia? The only representative from all of Asia (Felix Hong Kong #49) is a bar that serves throughly western creations such as seared Ahi Tuna. European food doesn't always fare well, either. England, France and Spain appears up there but poor Italy is left out of the top twenty altogether - squeezing in with Checcino dal 1887 only at #23.
Interesting also to see its variance from another great restaurant list - the Michelin guide. The long-time bible of star eateries does not cover New York (they dont have an office here), but the divergence with this list in Europe is stark. London, which ranks as the greatest food destination according to the Restaurant magazine's survey, has only a single three-star restaurant (and a handful of two -stars, some of which I've talked about earlier). Paris, on the other hand, has half a dozen three-stars and plenty with a mere two. Many of the two-stars dod not even make it to the list on the Restaurant magazine survey.
However; it does list a wide selection of excellent restaurants that should be useful to every wannabe gourmet - even more so if you're in London or New York. While you have fun trying out and trashing the rankings, you're going to have some seriously satisfied bellies (unfortunately, along with badly damaged pockets). Also of interest is last year's list, which deigns to rank an Indian restaurant as the best restaurant in Asia - oh the poor Chinese.
This sunday a charming woman chose academics over me, so I was left to my own devices. And, just by that solace of abandonded souls (Bed Bath and Beyond) was a very interesting restaurant indeed.
Almost as soon as I had gotten on my trusty steed, my eye was caught by a chic modern whitelaminate space that prominently announced "Tebaya" and threatened to sell me Japanese chicken wings. What captured my interest was that for such a slick space the menu was miniscule; Nagoya-style chicken wings in three portion sizes, kushiyaki (chicken on a stick) and a katsu burger. Teba, it turns out, is deep fried chicken wings with a secret sauce - soy, sesame and pepper to be sure, but there's more in there. The sides are gummy, sticky potato balls in a wonderfully buttery soy sauce called potemochi.
It takes some courage to sell such a small menu, but Tebaya does a great job. The wings are fabulous, and messy and cheap to boot. The potemochi is kind of strange but addictive - specially with that sauce (I even drank some after the potatoes were over). And its close by the next time you want to fix your bath up, and cheap enough to forget you spent too much making your towels look good.