Trusting someone with a restaurant suggestion is a show of great faith. A good suggestion puts you in the inner circle, a candidate for godfather of the next child, a guy whose name is mentioned behind closed doors, approvingly, with vigorous nodding. A bad suggestion keeps both parties involved up at night. There is so much good food in America right now that winnowing the lot to a few handfuls of the best is difficult. Do you include the roadside shack that isn’t technically a restaurant? Do you disqualify a place for foam smears and cheese dust? Are you being persuaded by hype?
And so our litmus test was simple: these 25 American restaurants are the places we’d send a friend if he had time for one meal in Chicago, Denver, Houston or any of the other cities on this list. One city, one suggestion, one good meal. Thank you. You’re welcome.