In the March issue of GQ, which is on newsstands now, restaurant writer Alan Richman drops his annual list of the 25 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2015, and this year we're not at all surprised to see Portland snagging three spots, including a #2 position for Langbaan, #13 for Ataula and #19 for Kachka. Not only does this mean we have one more entry on the list last than last year, we have one more than San Francisco (Kin Khao, Pink Zebra), and two more than Seattle (Trove). In fact, Portland ties with NYC and LA for most spots on the list.
Richman deems Earl Ninsom's Langbaan "A two-hour Thai vacation in the Pacific Northwest." He extols the generous, homey atmosphere, a foil for the complicated, sumptuous dishes. He grandly announces: "This is the first Thai food I've eaten that made me wish I lived over there." Langbaan edges out David Chang's Momofuku Ko in NYC, which takes the #3 spot. The only place that bests Langbaan is Rose's Luxury in Washington, D.C., which once again has landed in the #1 spot on a national mag's best new restaurant list. Bon Appetit's Andrew Knowlton also gave it the honor back in August.
Although Ataula is more than a year old, apparently it fits with Richman's "new" criteria. We won't quibble, especially when he says, "Chef Jose Chesa's dishes are inventive, skilled, and gorgeously composed." As for Kachka, he loves its back-in-the-U.S.S.R vibe, and, like the rest of us, zeros in on chef Bonnie Morales' Herring Under a Fur Coat and Siberian pelmeni, of course.
If you thought these hotspots were already hard to get into, well, things just got harder.