There are a number of restaurants that managed to rise above the considerable pack, emerging as our favorite, new eateries of 2014. But whether or not their establishments ultimately nabbed a spot on our “Best Of” list, it’s hard to ignore the impact the following chefs made on New York’s dining scene last year –from established industry heavyweight, Marco Canora, who singlehandedly kicked off a sipping broth craze at Brodo to relative newbie, Thomas Chen, who came out of left field to open the utterly fabulous modern Chinese spot, Tuome. We suggest you get a jump start on 2015 by sampling their delicious talents…
Enrique Olvera: The chef-owner of Pujol in Mexico City, widely considered to be one of the best restaurants in the world, Enrique Olvera had already set the bar exceedingly high for himself. But his heralded New York debut, Cosme, has more than lived up to the hype, instantly filling tables through 2015 with patrons eager to try Olvera’s game-changing Mexican creations, such as Sepia and Cilantro Spaghetti, Lobster Pibil and Uni Tostadas.
Chris Jaeckle: Talk about a jack-of-all-trades. Not only did Chris Jaeckle serve some of our most memorable pastas of the year at the Venetian eatery All’Onda, one of last winter’s most highly anticipated openings, but he somehow found time to open a fast-casual Brazilian-Japanese sushi spot (say wha?) called Uma Temakeria, serving hand-held cones of rice and nori, stuffed with everything from crab and carrot to tofu and red pepper to fish and chips.
Marco Canora: After recently splitting with his longtime partner, Paul Greico (essentially dividing their Hearth-Terroir empire down the middle), we’ve definitely got our eye on Marco Canora in 2015. Because of the award-winning chef, 2014 will forever be associated with sippable, long-simmered, good-for-you bone broths — an on-the-rise trend that he unexpectedly popularized at his tiny takeaway window, Brodo.
Jose Ramirez-Ruiz: The former Isa sous chef turned his two-nights-a-week pop-up, Chez Jose, into (arguably) Brooklyn’s very best new restaurant of 2014; Semilla. And you definitely won’t miss the meat in his highly eclectic, wildly-creative, and ever-changing tasting menus, featuring an astonishing assortment of vegetable-focused dishes, from Charred Onions sprinkled with ice milk, to Grilled Matsutakes swiped with kabocha-anchovy puree, and Burdock Arancini propped on dabs of smoky miso.
Patti Jackson: Chefs can wait their entire careers (to no avail) for Michelin stars, but i Trulli’s Patti Jackson nabbed the coveted honor less than a year after opening her first solo effort; the wholly affordable Brooklyn restaurant, Delaware and Hudson. And she doesn’t even serve the fussy French fare that Michelin so frequently favors, but homey dishes unabashedly inspired by rustic Mid-Atlantic cuisine, such as Pretzel Rolls, Baltimore Crab Cakes, and Pennsylvania-style Chicken Pot Pie.
Nick Morgenstern: 2014 couldn’t have been sweeter for former pastry chef Nick Morgenstern. He not only opened a perennially-mobbed scoop shop (Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream) last summer, serving wildly inventive flavors such as Salt & Pepper Pinenut, Cardamom Lemon Jam and Tonka Bean, but successfully transformed his East Village favorite, Goat Town, into the ultimate neighborhood haunt, GG’s — don’t miss the “1986” pizza, topped with soppressata, anise hyssop and fennel agrodolce!
Thomas Chen: Who saw this one coming? A largely unknown EMP alum (and former accountant) officially kicked the elevated Chinese craze into high gear, by serving some of the very best food we ate in 2014. Seriously — nary a day passes when we don’t think about those curls of Octopus in Pork XO Sauce, the Five Spice-dusted Beet Salad with nubby puffed grains, or inexplicably tasty deep-fried Deviled Eggs.
Ivan Orkin: As the saying goes, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. But for a Long Island-born Jew to gain notoriety slinging ramen in Tokyo? There was no way New York wasn’t going to welcome Ivan Orkin with open arms, along with the spectacular bowls of pork chashu, smashed egg and roasted tomato-topped noodles, served at his mobbed Lower East Side outpost, Ivan Ramen.