Jacques Larson's Five Favorite Restaurants in the U.S.:
- Holeman and Finch - Atlanta, GA - "This is certainly an 'industry' person's place. With plenty of offal and charcuterie hanging in the restaurant for people to see, Linton Hopkins hit a home run with this concept. The 9 pm burger release, where 24 burgers are available on a first-come, first-served basis created a nearly frantic atmosphere every night. Though these burgers are spectacular in their own right, don't miss trying as many of the small plates as possible. Well balanced, seasonal dishes executed with precision and love are always a winner in my book!"
- Roberta's - Brooklyn, NY - "This restaurant in Bushwick is loved by me for the same reason I love The Admiral in Asheville. Though neither of these establishments are fancy, it is the passion of the kitchen which illuminates them. I really dig the format of the menu and its simplicity. The bread and butter appetizer here speaks volumes about the cuisine. The pizza has a cult following. It's almost worth it to go and read the creative names for these pies alone. This restaurant helped push me to open for Saturday and Sunday brunch on Sullivan's Island. Why not do pizza for brunch?"
- The Admiral - Asheville, NC - "I love The Admiral in West Asheville almost as much as I love Asheville itself. I have eaten there at least a half dozen times and every dinner has been spectacular. The Admiral is a dive bar that is housed in a cinder block building. There are no frills, bells, or whistles -- just a lot of tattooed people putting out incredible food and personalized service. I always go for their sweetbreads, tartare and roasted dates when on the menu. Don't miss this experience and help keep Asheville weird."
- The Walrus and the Carpenter - Seattle, WA - "This could be one of my favorite restaurants ever. I love the focus on oysters and local seafood. I also love the small plates. The bartenders are all craftsmen who are very personable, as well. My wife and I enjoyed our first experience here so much, that we decided to stay in Ballard the night before we flew home to South Carolina just so we could soak in the atmosphere (and libations) without having to worry about driving back downtown. Though I have been an East Coast resident for over 15 years, West Coast oysters are truly remarkable. This is a great place to taste the 'merroir' of the Pacific Northwest."
- 112 Eatery - Minneapolis, MN - "Having family in Minnesota, I get to the 'mini Apple' every couple of years or so. I love the dark wood and cozy decor of this establishment. It's a great place to drink a copious amount of wine. Stylistically, the food is right up my alley: simple and clean... not a lot of ingredients. The menu allows one to try an abundance of flavors and textures. The lamb scottadito, the tagliatelle with foie gras meatballs, and the cauliflower fritters are all signature dishes that shouldn't be missed. Go Vikes!"
Jacques Larson is Executive Chef of The Obstinate Daughter and Wild Olive in Charleston, SC.
For more tasty chef recommendations, check out "My Five Favorite Restaurants in the U.S", where James Beard winners, Top Chefs, Iron Chefs all sound off on their top eateries.