Ask the Critic: What Celebrity Chef Restaurants Are Really Worth It?
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Best Celebrity Chef Restaurants
I'm coming to New York with my 17-year-old daughter, who's a crazy food TV fan... She watches the Food Network every day, knows every character on Top Chef, and all the rest (I can't even keep track of them)... Where can I take her where she'd get her "celebrity chef" fix?? I know that Bobby Flay's not cooking every night or anything, but I think she just wants to come home to her friends and say "I ate at this famous chef's restaurant." Would love a few places that won't break the bank and where the food is good. (I haven't eaten out much in New York but I'd imagine not all of these guys' restaurants succeed...?)
While it's true you won't see them in the kitchen every night, some of food TV's most visible chefs have a truly impressive presence in New York. You can't go wrong with any of Mario Batali's restaurants, for one. Otto is the most gently priced, where pizzas and pasta plates can be yours for under $15 and there's always a lively crowd and a great energy. Head to Lupa for a more intimate trattoria feel. Or just walk around Batali's Italian food emporium Eataly, which these days seems to get more tourists than eaters.
I can recommend Tom Colicchio's restaurants across the board, too—his fine dining flagship Craft, as well as the more-accessible Craftbar around the corner, and Colicchio and Sons in the Meatpacking District (sit up front in the tap room for a more casual menu). Neither of these chefs are at the cutting edge of dining trends in New York these days, but they've both managed to build enduring empires that maintain truly high standards. Are they around every day? No, but there's always a chance you'll see Batali stride through Otto. (And you'll know him if you see him.)
If you make it out to Brooklyn, there's the wholly unique modern Asian fare at Talde, the work of Top Chef and Top Chef All-Star's Dale Talde. Or take the train up to Harlem to see Red Rooster, from Marcus Samuelsson. When Samuelsson became a "celebrity chef," I'm not entirely sure... but it's certainly happened, and Red Rooster's worth a visit regardless of the name attached.
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