Being a person who travels quite a bit and enjoys a meal out from time to time, I was particularly interested in the press release that landed in my inbox this morning. It came (via Nation’s Restaurant News) from Condé Nast, the US lifestyle magazine publisher, and touted the new list of the “50 Best New U.S. Restaurants,” as decreed by Travel + Leisure magazine.
And so a-link hopping I went, straight to not a list, but a slide show of T&L’s top picks. It starts out well, with four picks in Chicago, which I was happy to see because I’ll be spending a few days in the Windy City next month. But then things become, well, a bit repetitive. The next nine choices all reside in New York City, while the following eight are to be found in San Francisco, the next four in Houston and the succeeding seven in Seattle.
In total, that amounts to a remarkable 32 of the top 50 new eateries in the United States being situated in one of only five cities! And it gets worse: Eliminate Houston and Chicago and over half of the list hails from one of a mere three cities!
Now, I understand that each of these three or five cities is known as an eating destination – with the possible exception of Houston, about which I’ve heard little buzz over the past year or two – and I respect that fact that, in our current recessionary times, restaurant openings are probably down quite a bit. But this still strikes me as a pretty dramatic misrepresentation of the culinary excitiment that is no doubt still busting out all over the States, regardless of the tanking economy. New Orleans? One restaurant. Philadelphia? Ditto. Same for Miami and L.A., Vegas and Boston, Dallas and Portland, Oregon.
All of which is to say that I think T&L should perhaps consider expanding its contributors list beyond the major east, west, Midwest and southern metropolises before it decides to declare its next “Best of…” list for America.