No. 4: Orsa & Winston


With Bäco mercat (#28), Josef Centeno gave full rein to his influences; with Bar Amá (#50), his paean to Tex-Mex, he let autobiography enter the menu. In this minimalist venture, the 40-year-old chef gives us his most austere yet farthest-reaching restaurant. Though Centeno has limited the format to multicourse tasting menus, he presents several options—ranging from $50 to $195—along with a few à la carte dishes of what he calls “antipasti,” such as grilled geoduck with shaved fennel and diced pomelo. The paradox of his cooking is that it’s both forceful and insanely delicate: Crumbled furikake seaweed and good olive oil create a sauce for thin slices of pork head testa slowly rendering on the plate. Cooked like a risotto and capped by tender lobes of San Diego uni, the satsuki rice (prized by sushi chefs) that he uses nears evanescence with yuzu-pecorino cream.  

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