NEW YORK — A trip to see the best restaurant in America will take you to … Israel? Well, sort of.
Zahav is actually in Philadelphia, but the longtime eatery is focused on Israeli cuisine. And on Monday night, it won the James Beard Award for outstanding restaurant. The winners were announced at Lyric Opera in Chicago.
For those who aren’t familiar, the James Beard Awards are like the Oscars of the food world. Since 1990, the nonprofit James Beard Foundation, named after “the father of American cuisine,” has been honoring outstanding names in the food and beverage industry. There is no cash reward, but a win — or even a nomination — can substantially increase the buzz for business.
Zahav, a Hebrew word for gold, opened in 2008 and strives to bring “the authentic flavors of Israel’s cultural heritage to Philadelphia,” according to its website.
Other notable winners include Ashley Christensen, who was named the outstanding chef for her work at Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, North Carolina; New York’s Frenchette was named best new restaurant; and Frasca Food and Wine of Boulder, Colorado took the prize for outstanding service.
While Central Virginia was well represented in the ceremony, none of the Richmond-area restaurants nominated for an award won a top prize. Evrim and Evin Dogu, of Sub Rosa Bakery, were semi-finalists in the Outstanding Baker categories, as was Mama J’s for Outstanding Service, An Aui, of The Answer Brewpub, for Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producers, and Sunny Baweja, of Lehja, for Bets Chef Mid-Atlantic.
Here’s the full list of the remaining winners:
Greg Wade, Publican Quality Bread (Chicago)
Outstanding Bar Program
Bar Agricole (San Francisco)
Outstanding Pastry Chef
Kelly Fields, Willa Jean (New Orleans)
Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, Boka Restaurant Group (Chicago)
Outstanding Wine Program
Benu (San Francisco)
Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer
Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Company (Portland, Maine)
Rising Star Chef of the Year
Kwame Onwuachi, Kith and Kin (Washington)
Best Chef: Great Lakes
Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, Parachute (Chicago)
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
Tom Cunanan, Bad Saint (Washington)
Best Chef: Midwest
Ann Kim, Young Joni (Minneapolis)
Best Chef: New York City
Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, Via Carota (Manhattan)
Best Chef: Northeast
Tony Messina, Uni (Boston)
Best Chef: Northwest
Brady Williams, Canlis (Seattle)
Best Chef: South
Vishwesh Bhatt, Snackbar (Oxford, Mississippi)
Best Chef: Southeast
Mashama Bailey, The Grey (Savannah, Georgia)
Best Chef: Southwest
Charleen Badman, FnB (Scottsdale, Arizona)
Best Chef: West
Michael Cimarusti, Providence (Los Angeles)
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