It’s the most wonderful time of the year for obsessive diners, when Eater’s roving restaurant critic, Bill Addison, releases his definitive list of America’s 38 Essential Restaurants, and this year not one but two Seattle restaurants made the cut: Renee Erickson’s Capitol Hill steakhouse, Bateau, and Edouardo Jordan’s Ravenna Southern restaurant, Junebaby.
Addison calls Bateau a “revolutionary overhaul of the American steakhouse” for its use of its own beef dry-aged on Whidbey Island and a chalkboard to keep a nightly running list of familiar and lesser-known steaks. He also notes that “Gallic-accented sides (kale gratin) and desserts (baba au rhum) trumpet the country’s renewed obsession with French cuisine.”
In the quiet residential neighborhood of Ravenna, Edouardo Jordan’s decision “to focus professionally on the foods of the South and his African-American heritage,” as well as Junebaby’s immediate success, “has made him one of the nation’s towering figures of Southern cooking,” Addison says. And the menu’s “truest treasures (oxtails, vinegared chitterlings, collard greens with ham hock) are the ones that most resonantly invoke Jordan’s upbringing.”
In some ways it’s not a surprise these two restaurants made the list — Bateau was included last year already, while Junebaby was Addison’s pick for Best Restaurant of the Year in a field of 12 notable newcomers.
And yet not many cities can claim one of the best restaurants in the country, let alone two. San Francisco, New Orleans, and Houston each have two honorees on this, the fifth annual version of the list. Only Los Angeles and New York City have more than two spots, with four each.
This year Addison has also denoted as Eater Icons the five restaurants that have made the cut each year since he started the list, like Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, and Zahav in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Read more about them on the full list.